Anorgasmia is the medical term for regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing you personal distress. Anorgasmia is actually a very common occurrence, affecting at least 1 in 5 women worldwide.
Orgasms vary in intensity, and women vary in the frequency of their orgasms and the amount of stimulation necessary to trigger an orgasm. In fact, fewer than a third of women consistently have orgasms with sexual activity. Plus, orgasms often change with age, medical issues or medications you're taking.
If you're happy with the climax of your sexual activities, there's no need for concern. However, if you're bothered by lack of orgasm or the intensity of your orgasms, talk to your doctor about anorgasmia. Lifestyle changes and sex therapy may help.
An orgasm is a feeling of intense physical pleasure and release of tension, accompanied by involuntary, rhythmic contractions of your pelvic floor muscles. But it doesn't always look — or sound — like that famous scene from "When Harry Met Sally." Some women actually feel pelvic contractions or a quivering of the uterus during orgasm, but some don't. Some women describe fireworks all over the body, while others describe the feeling as a tingle.
By definition, the major symptoms of anorgasmia are inability to experience orgasm or long delays in reaching orgasm. But there are different types of anorgasmia:
When to see a doctor
Despite what you see in the movies, orgasm is no simple, surefire thing. This pleasurable peak is actually a complex reaction to many physical, emotional and psychological factors. If you're experiencing trouble in any of these areas, it can affect your ability to orgasm.
Preparing for your appointment
If you rarely or never experience orgasm from sexual activity and it's causing you distress, make an appointment with your doctor. You may feel embarrassed to talk about sex with your doctor, but this topic is perfectly appropriate. Your doctor knows that a satisfying sex life is very important to a woman's well-being at every age and stage of life.
You may have a treatable, underlying condition, or your may benefit from lifestyle changes, therapy or a combination of treatments. Your regular doctor may diagnose and treat the problem or refer you to a specialist who can.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
Information to write down in advance
Basic questions to ask your doctor
What to expect from your doctor
What you can do in the meantime
Tests and diagnosis
A medical evaluation for anorgasmia usually consists of:
Treatments and drugs
It can be difficult to treat anorgasmia. Your treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms, but your doctor may recommend a combination of these tactics:
Lifestyle and home remedies
For most women, treatment means more than medications. It's important to address relationship issues and everyday stressors. Understanding your body and trying different types of sexual stimulation also can help.
Natural products are available that may help some women who have difficulty reaching orgasm. These oils and supplements work by increasing sensation in the clitoris and surrounding tissue.
The following products may benefit some women with anorgasmia:
Talk with your doctor before trying any natural therapies. These products can cause side effects and may interact with other medications. Your doctor can help determine if they are safe for you.
Coping and support
If you're experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm, it can be frustrating for you and your partner. Plus, concentrating on climax can make the problem worse.
Most couples aren't experiencing the headboard-banging, van-rocking intercourse that appears on TV and in the movies. So try to reframe your expectations. Focus on mutual pleasure, instead of orgasm. You may find that a sustained pleasure plateau is just as satisfying as real climax.
Last Updated: 2009-12-23
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