Anorgasmia in Women

Orgasms vary in intensity and duration and can present differently from woman to woman, but for those who suffer from a medical condition called anorgasmia, it can be difficult, or even impossible, to reach orgasm at all. Essentially, anorgasmia is a type of sexual dysfunction where a person isn’t able to reach orgasm even with ample sexual stimulation. Given that many women experience anorgasmia at some point in time, we thought we would fill you in on everything you need to know about this condition.

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The various types of anorgasmia

Anorgasmia can present itself in many different forms. Here are a few you might experience:

Acquired anorgasmia: In this form of anorgasmia, a woman who previously was able to achieve orgasm is no longer able or has trouble reaching climax.

Lifelong or generalized anorgasmia: Women with lifelong or generalized anorgasmia are unable (and never have been able) to reach climax and experience an orgasm in any situation.

Situational anorgasmia: Women with situational anorgasmia can only achieve orgasm during specific circumstances and possibly even with a specific partner. Women with this type of anorgasmia may be able to reach climax during oral sex, but not through vaginal penetration.

What causes anorgasmia?
Anorgasmia can arise for a number of reasons, with medication side effects being one of the most common causes. Antihistamines, antidepressants (SSRIs in particular), and blood pressure medications are among the more common medications that can be problematic. Diabetes, neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses can also contribute to anorgasmia. High alcohol intake and smoking are also problematic for some women. And sometimes, aging is a big contributor, especially because blood flow to the clitoris and vagina may slow down as women move toward menopause and estrogen levels fall.

Anorgasmia may also have psychological roots, including poor body image, anxiety, depression, past sexual trauma, stress, or even embarrassment. Or the cause may be relationship related, such as trust issues, communication challenges, or lack of a strong connection between partners.

Is it necessary to see a doctor?
If you’ve never achieved an orgasm or are experiencing periodic or recent troubles climaxing, consider seeing a doctor to discuss your experience. They may be able to help you remedy or manage the situation in a simple way, such as helping you minimize stress or treating underlying medical conditions. If you decide to see a doctor, you can expect them to ask about your sexual history, symptoms, and medical history.

Treating anorgasmia
Anorgasmia can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the type of anorgasmia and the reasons it’s occurring. Here are a few common treatment recommendations:

  • Address relationship issues and challenges through improved communication, relationship counseling, or other means.
  • Manage stress and anxiety.
  • Increase the amount of sexual stimulation, especially either directly or indirectly to the clitoris. Vibrators and other devices can be helpful here.
  • Experiment sexually to find out what works for you and gain a better understanding of your body.
  • Explore cognitive behavioral therapy, which can reframe the way you think about sex.
  • Explore sex therapy.
  • Receive medical treatment for underlying conditions that may contribute to or cause your anorgasmia.

If you are experiencing anorgasmia and want to speak with a knowledgeable doctor, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit

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