Orgasm or Sexual Pain Disorder

Condition preventing a person from enjoying sexual activity

What is orgasm disorder or sexual pain?

Defined by Nolen-Hoeksema (2011) as "a set of disorders in which people have difficulty responding sexually or experiencing sexual pleasure" (p. 366). This can occur in men and women.

  • Orgasm disorders —delay or absence of orgasm (climax)
  • Pain disorders — pain during intercourse
  • (An Overview of Sexual Dysfunction, 2014)

  • Symptoms:

    In men:

    • Missing or late ejaculation even with adequate sexual stimulation
    • Inability to control the timing of ejaculation (premature or retarded ejaculation)

    In women:

    • Unable to have an orgasm
    • Inadequate vaginal lubrication before and during intercourse
    • Inability to relax the vaginal muscles enough to allow intercourse

    (An Overview of Sexual Dysfunction, 2014)

    Both men and women:

    • Pain or discomfort with intercourse

    Possible Causes

    There are many possible causes for both men and women as to why sexual intercourse is painful or altogether unappealing. Psychological causes exist and include stress at home or work, relationship problems, worry about sexual performance or past sexual trauma.

    Other Causes

    • Poor lubrication
    • Injury, trauma or irritation
    • Inflammation infection or skin disorder
    • Vaginismus or the Involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall (vaginismus) can make attempts at penetration very painful.

    (Staff, 2014)

    Treatment Options

    Medications- If medication is the reason why sexual activity is not satisfying then changes can be made in the medication to prevent this.

    Mechanical Aids- such as vacuum devices and penile implants may help men with erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve or maintain an erection). Dilators may help women who experience narrowing of the vagina (An Overview of Sexual Dysfunction, 2014).

    Sex Therapy-

    Behavioral Therapy- To provide help for harmful behaviors in a relationship or stimulants to help with arousal.

    Psycho Therapy- Trained professional help to address issues of sexual trauma.

    Education- This might help an individual who has anxieties about their sexual performance.


    Myths about this disorder are hurtful and can challenge a relationship if you or your significant other has any of these symptoms you should contact professional help.

    Women can achieve orgasm through penetration alone

    Estimates range between 40 to 70% of women will never orgasm via intercourse alone and will require clitoral stimulation to climax. Clitoral stimulation cannot always be achieved during penetration (Benuto).

    There is something I am doing wrong

    This is not true either. Although the affects of this disorder can be psychological the ability to voluntarily control the symptoms is not your fault.

    Some good information can be found at the following website:


    An Overview of Sexual Dysfunction. (2014). Retrieved December 15, 2014, from Clevland Clinic:

    Benuto, L. (n.d.). Orgasmic Disorders Introduction and Myths. Retrieved December 15, 2014, from Seven Counties:

    Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2011). Abnormal Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Staff, M. C. (2014). Sexual Pain. Retrieved December 15, 2014, from Mayo Clinic: