Get to know your body through a better understanding of your anatomy and find the answers to some of your most common questions.
In the realm of human experiences, few sensations rival the euphoria and profound release that accompanies an orgasm. From ancient texts to contemporary conversations, the topic of orgasms has intrigued and fascinated individuals across cultures and generations. This deeply personal event holds an innate power to captivate and elicit a multitude of emotions.
There’s pleasure, joy, connection, elation, relaxation, on the one hand, and there can also be frustration, anger, and sadness on the other. This is especially true if you’re experiencing difficulty around orgasm.
The persistent or recurrent difficulty, delay in, or absence of attaining orgasm after sufficient sexual stimulation, causing personal distress, is often referred to as “anorgasmia”. In simple terms, that’s the term used to describe a difficulty or inability to orgasm.
If this sounds familiar to you, know that you’re not alone. We hope to be able to shed some light on what could be happening and provide you with a few clues to help you get to the bottom of this.
Before we dive in, it’s important to differentiate between the complete inability to orgasm versus the ability to climax alone but not with a partner.
There are different types of anorgasmia. For instance, you could suffer from general anorgasmia, which essentially means that you can’t orgasm in any situation, or from situational anorgasmia, which means that you can orgasm but only in certain conditions. Another differentiation is whether you have never been able to orgasm or if you have experienced orgasms but lost the ability to at some point in life.
Because anorgasmia is a blanket term, covering so many variations of this condition, the causes attributed to it are just as diverse. They are most often broken down between physical causes and psychological causes.
Physical causes can include:
It’s also important to note that decreased desire and an inability to orgasm are common side effects of psychiatric medications, like antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.
Another physical cause worth mentioning, especially in Arab communities, is female genital mutilation (FGM). This practice occurs in varying degrees, from a snip to the clitoral hood to the total removal of external female genitalia. Trauma to the clitoris (or its removal) can greatly impact a woman’s ability to experience pleasurable sex and reach an orgasm. However, recent scientific findings indicate that, in people who are unable to feel genital stimulation, the brain might actually remap itself to allow them to reach orgasm. If you know or suspect that you may have been a victim of FGM, know that it is still possible for you to have pleasurable sex and experience an orgasm. There are answers to your questions and we recommend that you start by reaching out to a doctor.
As for psychological causes, these can include:
Reading through the list of possible causes and trying to identify the ones that might describe your situation or experience can help you determine the best course of action. If you suspect psychological reasons to be at play, then a psychologist or sex therapist might be the best place for you to start. If, however, you think that you might suffer from one of the physical causes listed, a gynecologist might be more right for you.
What you need to keep in mind is that, in the wide majority of cases, anorgasmia can be treated. Because it’s so multifaceted, it’s important for it to be tackled holistically. That means looking at your physical health, your mental health, your upbringing, your lifestyle, your relationship, and so on.
This often falls under the diagnosis of situational anorgasmia and is more likely to be due to psychological causes than physical ones. Here are a few questions to answer that might help you get to the root cause of this issue. If the answer to a question is no, move on to the next one until you find something that sounds familiar:
Whether or not one of these questions triggered something within you and started to shed some light on why you’re unable to orgasm with a partner, don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist, sexologist, or gynecologist about this.
And remember: Orgasms are often glorified as the end goal of sexual intimacy, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, you might find that, once you stop worrying about having an orgasm during sex, the whole experience becomes a whole lot more pleasurable for both you and your partner.