Orgasmic Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Orgasmic Dysfunction?

Orgasmic Dysfunction is defined as limited or complete inability to reach orgasm despite appropriate sexual stimulation. Orgasm is a sense of extreme pleasure that an individual has during a sexual intercourse. It causes spasms of the pelvic floor. This condition is medically termed as Anorgasmia. Orgasmic dysfunctions are of different types namely [1]

  • Primary Orgasmic Dysfunction in which an individual never reaches orgasm.
  • Secondary Orgasmic Dysfunction where the individual reaches orgasm when a person has had an orgasm but then has difficulty experiencing one despite sexual stimulation.
  • Situational Orgasmic Dysfunction is when an individual is not able to reach orgasm in specific situations or with certain types of sexual stimulation. This is the most common type of orgasmic dysfunction [1].

Orgasmic Dysfunction does not have a gender bias and both males and females can experience it but females tend to have it more than males. Research suggests that Researchers estimate that around 5% of females suffer from Orgasmic Dysfunction. It also suggests that around 20% females reach orgasm by just a sexual intercourse while around 35% require stimulation of the clitoris to reach orgasm[1].

In cases of males, delayed or no ejaculation is termed as Orgasmic Dysfunction. However, this condition is extremely rare in males and only about 3% of males have problems with ejaculation. Orgasmic Dysfunction can have serious effects on the social life of an individual. It also dents the self-confidence of the individual. Some people also go into depression due to performance anxiety caused by Orgasmic Dysfunction [1].

There are numerous causes for this condition including medication induced and psychologic factors. Antidepressants and antipsychotics are a major source for Orgasmic Dysfunction in many people. Certain antihypertensives also have a side effect profile of Orgasmic Dysfunction, especially in females. Psychological factors that play a crucial role in a female having this problem include extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, and stress [1].

Another possible factor which plays a role in an individual having Orgasmic Dysfunction includes relationship issues. Couples that do not go along well together may not reach orgasm during sexual activity. Additionally, cultural and religious beliefs also are a factor, especially in females, to have Orgasmic Dysfunction [1].

What Causes Orgasmic Dysfunction?

As to the root cause of the problem, there is no clear cut cause identified by researchers; however, there are some factors which contribute to an individual having Orgasmic Dysfunction. These factors include as discussed above relationship problems, medical conditions like diabetes, prior history of gynecological problems and surgical procedures, medications like antipsychotics, antidepressants, and antihypertensives [2].

An individual with a childhood history of abuse is also more likely to suffer from Orgasmic Dysfunction. People who suffer from anxiety and depression also are vulnerable to this condition. People with low self-confidence also complain of problems reaching orgasm during sexual activity. Females above the age of 45 have hormonal changes which interfere with their ability to reach orgasm. In cases of males, people who have had a prostatectomy will have problems with ejaculating and have an orgasm during sexual activity [2].

Age also plays a role in that people above the age of 50 find it difficult to ejaculate than people who are younger. Problems reaching orgasm may lead to increased stress and performance anxiety during sexual stimulation [2].

What are the Symptoms of Orgasmic Dysfunction?

The primary symptom of an Orgasmic Dysfunction is difficulty reaching orgasm or finding sexual activity unsatisfying. It will take longer for people to reach climax and the feeling will also be not pleasurable as it normally is. The time taken by an individual to reach orgasm ranges widely in people with Orgasmic Dysfunction [2].

How to Diagnose Orgasmic Dysfunction?

Coming to the diagnosis of Orgasmic Dysfunction, it begins by the physician taking a detailed history of the patient. It will include a detailed medical, personal and family history of the patient. The next step towards diagnosis is inquiring about the symptoms and its duration. A note will be made of any psychological factors that may be resulting in the individual having Orgasmic Dysfunction [2].

The patient will also be asked if he or she has any underlying medical condition like diabetes or whether the patient is on certain medications that are known to cause Orgasmic Dysfunction. A physical examination and blood tests will also be done to rule out infections or other conditions that might be responsible for the individual having Orgasmic Dysfunction. Once this condition is definitively diagnosed then the patient will be referred to a sex therapist or a gynecologist for further treatment of this condition [2].

How is Orgasmic Dysfunction Treated?

The treatment for orgasmic dysfunction is completely dependent on the underlying cause. If a medication or an underlying medical condition is believed to be the cause then substituting the medication and addressing the medical condition is the most likely treatment for Orgasmic Dysfunction. If psychological factors are believed to be the cause of an individual having Orgasmic Dysfunction then speaking with a psychologist or a sex therapist either alone or with the partner can help in coping up with the condition [2].

The therapist will discuss about the concerns regarding sexual; function, inner feelings, and what may be causing the dysfunction. Some therapists suggest other method of sexual stimulation and try and reach orgasm like clitoral stimulation or masturbation when involved with sexual activity. There are also certain lotions and oils available which can be quite effective in helping an individual reach orgasm. These products are available over the counter [2].

For females above the age of 45, hormone therapy is quite effective in helping them in reaching orgasm. An estrogen cream, patch, or a pill is recommended which increases the levels of this deficient hormone. In case if an individual has problems with reaching orgasm in only specific situations then a consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist is helpful in helping the patient reach orgasm with sexual stimulation [2].