Female Orgasmic Disorder

Sex can often be an uncomfortable topic to discuss. You may feel nervous, anxious, or embarrassed to even talk about sex with your own sexual partner. But it is important to share your feelings about sexual activity, particularly if you think that you may be experiencing a sexual disorder. Sexual disorders are actually more common than you may think, and affect both women and men. Female orgasmic disorder is one type of sexual disorder that can really impact your enjoyment of sexual activity and can have lasting effects on your personal relationships.

What is Female Orgasmic Disorder?
Female orgasmic disorder is a fairly common sexual disorder that affects the way a woman climaxes during sexual activity. Women with female orgasmic disorder are unable to experience an orgasm despite adequate sexual arousal. Women with the disorder may also experience persistent delay of orgasm despite satisfying sexual experiences.

It is unknown how many women actually suffer from female orgasmic disorder. This is because the quality and frequency of orgasm fluctuates greatly from woman to woman. It is believed that at least 10% of women never experience an orgasm, while up to 50% of women can only experience an orgasm through direct clitoral stimulation.

Types of Female Orgasmic Disorder
Female orgasmic disorder has been classified into two categories:

  • Lifelong Female Orgasmic Disorder: Lifelong female orgasmic disorder occurs when a woman has never achieved an orgasm, either through sexual intercourse, sexual play, or masturbation. It is also known as anorgasmia.
  • Acquired Female Orgasmic Disorder: Acquired female orgasmic disorder occurs when a woman who has had orgasms at some point in her life is no longer able to achieve orgasm. This type of anorgasmia in women may last for a specific period of time or it may be dependent upon situation.

Symptoms of Female Orgasmic Disorder
The main symptom of female orgasmic disorder is an inability to climax during sexual activity. If you are experiencing the disorder, you may become very highly sexually aroused during masturbation or intercourse. However, despite this arousal you are unable to transition into orgasm. Women experiencing female orgasmic disorder may also experience a number of other symptoms, including:

  • painful sexual intercourse
  • lack of vaginal lubrication
  • lack of sexual interest or sexual aversion

Causes of Female Orgasmic Disorder?
Unfortunately, the causes of female orgasmic disorder are still unknown. It is believed that the vast majority of cases is the result of psychological issues, including:

  • sexual abuse or trauma, including rape, incest, or female genital mutilation
  • body image issues
  • anxiety or depression
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of loss of control
  • relationship problems
  • religious or cultural beliefs about sex

Sometimes, both mental health and physical factors combine to cause female orgasmic disorder. Physical problems that can lead to female orgasmic disorder include:

  • damage to the pelvic blood vessels
  • substance abuse problems
  • certain medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics
  • spinal cord lesions

Diagnosing Female Orgasmic Disorder
Diagnosing female orgasmic disorder can be difficult, because each woman experiences a different type of orgasm. In the past, many women who did not achieve orgasm through intercourse were labeled as having female orgasmic disorder. This, in fact, is a misdiagnosis. If you can experience a clitoral orgasm, you are not suffering from female orgasmic disorder. In order to make a true diagnosis of the disorder, there must be underlying psychological reasons for the problem. This means ruling out any physical factors that may be interfering with orgasm. Additionally, the woman and her partner must be experiencing some sort of relationship stress as a result of this absence of orgasm.

Treatment for Female Orgasmic Disorder
Treatment focuses on addressing the underlying issues that are causing the disorder. Sex therapy and psychotherapy are the two most common types of treatment for women suffering from female orgasmic disorder.

  • Sex Therapy: Sex therapy is a type of interpersonal therapy that involves analyzing and resolving issues around sexual activity. Conducted by a certified sex therapist, sex therapy sessions involve addressing worries about sexual activity, loss of control, and partner rejection. Sex therapy often involves practicing techniques that will help to increase sexual pleasure, including relaxation therapy, meditation, and masturbation. Sex therapy can be individual or couples-based.
  • Psychotherapy: Individual psychotherapy sessions can also be beneficial if you are suffering from female orgasmic disorder. Psychotherapy uses counseling techniques to help uncover underlying issues that may be inhibiting sexual pleasure. Topics may include sexual abuse, body image, or religious or cultural beliefs.

When To Get Help for Female Orgasmic Disorder
Though it can be embarrassing and a little bit frightening, it is important to seek help for your female orgasmic disorder. In particular, be sure to get help if the problem does not seem to be getting better or if you are experiencing extreme guilt, depression, or anxiety over the problem.


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