Orgasmic Disorder

What is Orgasmic Disorder?

Orgasmic Disorder is often defined as a person who can not reach an orgasm even though normal stimulants are present. This would not include a normal stressor that may affect the orgasm. For a person to have Orgasmic Disorder they would need to have recurrent issues or lack of orgasms. When a person is at the point of orgasm but can not finish they many times become very frustrated. Many people with Orgasmic Disorder may not know that they are suffering from something that can be treated. Relationships can become tense, partners can become frustrated or concerned that something is wrong, and the amount of sexual activity could decrease to avoid disappointment.
Big image

Who Does It Affect?

Both men and women can have Orgasmic Disorder. "Community samples indicate a current prevalence of 0%–3% for male orgasmic disorder and "community prevalence estimates of 7%–10% for female orgasmic disorder" (Simons, J. & Carey, M. (2001). pp. 177). Do these numbers seem low? Do you know of people complaining about issues of not satisfying their partner in the bedroom? There are many factors that can have an impact on whether or not a person orgasms. Just because a person does not orgasm does not necessarily mean they have Orgasmic Disorder.

One of the worst parts of having an Orgasmic Disorder is the frustration it causes, personally, to the partner, and on the relationship. As many do not understand this disorder, they may not know that they have a disorder. When a partner does not reach orgasm, then feelings of failure, inadequacy, and disappointment arise. These feelings can be present for both partners because of one not reaching orgasm. Another effect that can occur in both men and women, is that they get so focused on pleasing their partner they may not allow their own bodies to become excited, aroused, and to orgasm.

Male Orgasmic Disorder

"Male orgasmic disorder refers to a difficulty reaching orgasm and ejaculating in a woman's vagina, and it can be either primary or secondary" (King, B. & Regan, P., pp. 346-347). With proper treatment a man can overcome Orgasmic Disorder. Determining if he has a primary or a secondary disorder needs to be established to decide on which type of treatment is needed.

A primary disorder is related to a person's upbringing. This could be due to fear of pregnancy, religious beliefs, maternal dominance, hostility or negativity towards their partner. One way a primary disorder can be treated is by working with a therapist to address the issue. Another way of treatment is to become educated regarding the fears being faced. For instance if the person is suffering because they are afraid of getting a woman pregnant, then teaching them about contraception and ways to prevent pregnancy may help.

Previous trauma is often the cause of secondary disorder. Again seeking counseling can help the man overcome issues involving the trauma that is affecting his ability to orgasm.

While treatment may seem hard, it can prove to be effective. The person may have to face other fears or negative thoughts, but in addressing and overcoming these, the reward if reaching orgasm can be worth it.

Female Orgasmic Disorder

"The International Consensus Conference defined female orgasmic disorder as the persistent or recurrent difficulty, delay in, or absence of attaining orgasm following sufficient sexual stimulation and arousal, which causes personal distress" (King, B. & Regan, P., pp. 350). There are three types of Female Orgasmic Disorder primary or absolute, secondary, or situational.

The most common of the three is situational. This is the most common as many women can be aroused yet not reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone. Often women need clitoral stimulation or lengthier foreplay. Another factor could be the woman's relationship status. When a woman has is confident in her relationship and the relationship is healthy she is more likely to have less issues reaching orgasm.

The secondary disorder pertains to the woman who once was regularly orgasmic. This means that at one point she did not have any issues reaching orgasm. Treatment for this would depend on what caused the change to happen. This change could be due to a difference in relationship, physical health problems, or experience of trauma.

When a woman has never reached an orgasm under any circumstances she is experiencing a primary or absolute disorder. With a primary disorder a woman should seek medical advice to determine if there is a physical reason her body will not orgasm or if there is a psychological reason for having the disorder. Once the reason is determined, then the best plan for treatment can be addressed.

One important factor in Female Orgasmic Disorder is that there must be sufficient stimulation. What is sufficient stimulation? This could include the needed amount of foreplay, use of a lubricant to help prepare the vaginal canal for penetration, and even the expression of another's feelings towards them. Significant stimulation will vary from woman to woman.

Causes of Orgasmic Disorders

Drugs or Medicines

Many prescriptions have side effects that will lower or increase sexual functions. Understanding the side effects of a drug you are taking can help explain why there is a lack of orgasm. "Through careful management and patience on the part of both the patient and the physician, psychotropic drug-induced sexual function disorders can be improved so that the patient’s compliance with medication and quality of life can be optimised" (Clayton, D.O. & Shen, W.W. (1998). pp. 299).

Everyday Stressors

Stress can also affect your sexual desires, functions, and ability to orgasm. When a person is stressed out by what happened at work today, they may be so focused on work, that they do not allow their body to relax and enjoy. For parents of younger children the stress of trying to orgasm before the child needs them can overpower the desire to allow the orgasm to happen.

Traumatic Events

When a person experiences a sexual trauma, their normal sexual functions may be altered. For instance they may have experienced pleasure and orgasms while having sex. After the trauma there may be fear, pain, or discomfort.

Myths vs Facts

Myth > To be normal you have to orgasm with sex.

Fact > Many people do not always orgasm. "With increasing emphasis on sexual fulfillment, many women perceive a societal expectation that they should always experience orgasm during sexual intercourse although scientific evidence indicates such a goal to be unrealistic" (Davidson, J.K. & Moore, N.B.(1994). pp. 153).

Myth > My partner doesn't reach orgasm, so I failed.

Fact > People don’t have orgasms have for many different reasons. Just because your partner does not reach orgasm, does not mean that you failed or it’s your fault.

Myth > Orgasmic Disorder is not curable.

Fact > Orgasmic Disorder is treatable. The first step is determining what is causing the Orgasmic Disorder. Once the cause is defined the proper treatment can begin.


Clayton, D.O. & Shen, W.W. (1998). Psychotropic Drug-Induced Sexual Function Disorders. Drug Safety, 19(4).

Davidson, J.K. & Noore, N.B. (1994). Guilt and Lack of Orgasm During Sexual Intercourse: Myth Versus Reality Among College Women. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 20(3).

King, B & Regan, P. (2014). Human Sexuality Today, Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle

River, New Jersey.

Simons, J. & Carey, M. (2001). Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions: Results from a Decade of Research. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30(2).

Created By:

Heather Dunivon

Baker College

March 9th, 2015