Can’t Have an Orgasm? Here’s What You Need to Know About Anorgasmia

Our bodies aren’t always kind to us — from health risks to chronic illness to the inability to orgasm — it’s a complicated relationship that takes understanding, patience and healing.

Five to 10 percent of people with a cervix suffer from anorgasmia — the inability to orgasm — also known as Coughlan’s syndrome or FOD (female orgasm disorder). In heterosexual couples, 95 percent of men have an orgasm, while women have an orgasm 50 to 70 percent of the time. Much of this discrepancy lies within lack of information, communication and understanding — anorgasmia can occur even when those factors exist.

More: How I Overcame Sexual Dysfunction After Having a Baby

There are three different types of anorgasmia according to Mayo Clinic:

  1. Primary — meaning the individual cannot climax at all and never has been able to
  2. Secondary — the ability may come and go with no reason as to why
  3. Situational — depending on the partner and the situation

The disorder can be caused by childhood abuse, diabetes, medications, smoking and drinking. Moreover, stress, anxiety, fear of STIs and low self-esteem can also contribute to anorgasmia.

If you suffer from anorgasmia, which is more common than we think, there are a few steps you can take before giving up any hope of a successful, meaningful sex life. It’s also best to begin looking at alternatives and methods that can heal you earlier on before waiting an extended amount of time that results in further anxiety and stress.

Although anorgasmia can be difficult to treat, it’s important to look into the underlying issues that could be contributing to the disorder.

Think about your stressors or medication

Megan Ward told the Daily Mail she has never reached a sexual climax because of her diagnosed anxiety. She says, “I have never, not once, not by myself, not with a partner, not with a vibrator, had an orgasm.” For Ward, she gets close to a climax and then her brain shuts off all stimulation due to overwhelming anxiety.

While anorgasmia is a medical condition, it is typically caused by psychological, social and cultural concerns that are most suitable for therapy.

Moreover, prescription and over-the-counter medications can alter the body, and this includes the ability to orgasm. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns about the interference.

Masturbation practices

An important component to sex and a partnership is understanding your body by yourself first. “Directed masturbation” is a technique during which an individual with a cervix educates themselves on how to achieve an orgasm. By finding this knowledge, you can tell your partner during intercourse or foreplay. Trying different toys, erogenous zones (all four of them), and experimenting with pressure points alone can help you understand your body’s sensations and responses.

Trying different positions & pleasure points

Researchers recently discovered the “golden trio,” which includes 1) deep kissing 2) genital stimulation and 3) oral sex to accomplish the elusive orgasm.

Since 30 percent of men think “intercourse is the best way for women to have an orgasm,” some education is definitely necessary for all people involved. Experimenting with different pleasure points on the clitoris, incorporating penetration with clitoral stimulation or various new positions can possibly aid in unlocking an orgasm.

More: I Haven’t Had Sex in 8 Years Because of Sexual Anorexia


As stated above, anorgasmia is typically caused by a psychological factor, which should result in sex therapy for a full recovery. If you have a primary partner, visit the therapist with your partner in order to understand the full depth of anorgasmia and to ensure you are both educated. Couples are taught how sexual arousal works for people with a cervix, and the therapist discusses the differences in response cycles. This is important for all individuals involved as the giver and the receiver.

Your therapist may recommend a number of practices like sensate focus, Kegels and masturbation. Moreover, counseling will touch on emotional responses as a contributing factor to an orgasm or lack thereof.

Successful therapy and practice can greatly enhance an individual’s condition. Being diagnosed with anorgasmia is the first step — with primary vs. secondary coming next in the stage toward a solution. There is a success rate of 80 to 90 percent of primary anorgasmia being treated through therapy. Millions of individuals don’t need to give up their desire of achieving an orgasm — desire, solutions and well-being are just around the corner.

Admitting you cannot achieve an orgasm is the first step. Anorgasmia may seem alienating at first. Discovering a solution does not have to be a depressing or exhausting experience. Solutions exist, doctors are here to help, and you aren’t alone.

By S. Nicole Lane


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