What is Anorgasmia?

If you’re like us, you’ve experienced the stigma around talking and learning about sex and admitting your curiosity. In these articles, we hope to add excitement and enjoyment in your life, by answering the sexual health questions you're too afraid to ask. Have additional questions? Contact our friendly "sexperts".

Orgasm is the climax phase of sexual arousal and excitement.

It can include pleasurable sensations, rhythmic contractions of the pelvic muscles, and is often accompanied by ejaculation. Anorgasmia (sometimes referred to as Female Orgasmic Disorder) is the medical term used to describe regular difficulty reaching orgasm after adequate sexual stimulation. There are four different types of anorgasmia:

  • Primary anorgasmia — You have never experienced an orgasm.
  • Secondary anorgasmia — You used to have orgasms but now have difficulties reaching climax.
  • Situational anorgasmia — You are only able to orgasm during certain circumstances, such as during oral sex or masturbation. This is very common in women. In fact, most women experience orgasm only from the stimulation of the clitoris.
  • General anorgasmia — You are not able to orgasm in any situation or with any partner.

Orgasmic experiences range on a continuum from very mild to extreme. Everyone experiences sexual excitement and climax differently, and orgasm occurrences also change throughout an individual’s lifespan.

Many concerns people express about orgasm are actually quite normal. For example, the absence of orgasm through vaginal penetration, multiple, or simultaneous orgasms are common experiences. However, if your experience of sexual climax is markedly distressing or painful you should seek assistance or care from a primary medical provider.

What Causes Anorgasmia?

  • Lack of proper sexual stimulation and foreplay prior to intercourse
  • Lack of personal knowledge related to body awareness and pleasure
  • Shame surrounding sexual pleasure or your body
  • Menopause and aging
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Medications:
    • Antidepressants (specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs))
    • Antihistamines
    • Blood pressure medications
  • Gynecological conditions:
    • Hysterectomy or other pelvic surgeries
    • Cancer treatments or surgeries
    • Vaginal infections
    • Pelvic pain
  • Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Unmanaged depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Relationship issues and concerns that affect quality of life or cause increased stress
  • Other medical conditions: Any illness can affect this part of the human sexual response cycle, including diabetes and neurological diseases

Treatments for Anorgasmia

  • Get to know your own body through healthy self-exploration and self-awareness.
  • Communicate openly and honestly with your partner about sexual needs, wants, and desires. Read more on Tips for Talking With Your Partner.
  • Focus on erotic touch, having fun with your partner, and pleasure rather than orgasm. Making orgasm the goal of sex can be incredibly limiting and stressful.
  • Explore ways to create more fun and pleasure in bed with lube, new sexual positions, sexual education, and toys.
  • Make healthier lifestyle choices surrounding diet and exercise.
  • Find a licensed therapist or counselor who specializes in relationships, and/or sexual issues.
  • Talk with your doctor about hormone therapy.
  • Seek treatment for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
  • Seek treatment for an existing medical condition.
  • Talk to your doctor about making changes in current medications.