Anorgasmia Definition

Anorgasmia in women is a condition that prevents a woman consistently from having an orgasm. She can either have difficulty orgasming, or does not orgasm at all in response to sexual stimulation.

Primary anorgasmia is when a woman has never had an orgasm in her life. In secondary anorgasmia, a woman was once able to orgasm, but has lost that ability. Secondary anorgasmia can also sometimes be the result of being only able to orgasm under certain situations, with certain people, or from certain kinds of stimulation.

Read about Anorgasmia in Men

Not Orgasming Through Intercourse Isn’t Anorgasmia

If you cannot orgasm from penetration alone but can orgasm in other ways – from oral sex, masturbation, vibrator use, or clitoral stimulation during penetration – this is not anorgasmia.

Too many women (and their partners) believe they should be able to orgasm from intercourse alone. The reality is – intercourse alone often does not give the clitoris enough pressure or friction to orgasm.

This mistaken assumption is partly due to Sigmund Freud, who insisted the clitoral orgasm was “immature”, and that adult woman should be able to have what he called a “vaginal orgasm.” Happily, in the 1970’s, women revolted against this arcane belief and insisted that all orgasm was clitoral orgasm, bringing the importance of the clitoris to women’s orgasm back where it belonged – front and center.

The Routes to Female Orgasm

We now know there are many different routes to female orgasm – the most common being clitoral, G spot, and cervical. Some women can also orgasm from nipple stimulation, anal stimulation, or fantasy alone, but these other routes to orgasm are far less common.

As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to include the clit any time you are trying to orgasm, as clitoral stimulation is required for 70% of women. Since the clitoris is so important to reaching orgasm, women who previously suffered from anorgasmia were cured by the widespread availability and permission to use a vibrator during sex. If you think you suffer from anorgasmia and have not yet tried this, this is a great place to start!

Anorgasmia Causes

There are a multitude of anorgasmia causes – the most likely one being that you are not getting enough warm-up before sex. You could also lack the right kind of stimulation, or sex that really turns you on. It’s possible you are not telling your partner what you need, he might not be open to hearing it or be incapable of learning new skills. You might also feel disconnected from your sexual partner, which can cause anorgasmia in women as a result of emotional shutdown.

Female anorgasmia as well has the potential to be the result of medical issues such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Antidepressants can cause anorgasmia in women, and so can antihistamines. Drinking can lower your ability to orgasm and desensitize your whole body –  and so can smoking due to circulation restriction. Aging can be a factor, as can anxiety, negative body image, religious beliefs or upbringing, shame and guilt about sex, or past experiences of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse.

Anorgasmia Treatments

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Medical anorgasmia treatments, such as hormone therapies, aren’t a guaranteed fix for anorgasmia. But they can help. So can treating underlying medical conditions.”

Hormone therapies, and especially testosterone therapy, can have problematic side effects – including a higher risk of breast cancer, as well as possible higher cholesterol. If you are taking antidepressants and experiencing female anorgasmia, talk with your doctor or psychiatrist to see if you can take a medication that has low sexual side effects. Medical professionals who see clients complaining of anorgasmia, generally recommend to couples that they work on their sexual skills, communication, and interpersonal and sexual relationship.

Sex Coaching as Anorgasmia Treatment

Sexological Bodywork

If you decide to work with a sexological bodyworker to alleviate your anorgasmia, beginning therapies will include breathwork and embodiment practices to get you relaxed and comfortable. Eventually, they will invite you to masturbate while they witness and coach you through the process. They may also offer touch-based bodywork, teaching you to receive pleasure and orgasm from someone else’s touch.

Somatica Sex and Relationship Coaching

A Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach can treat your anorgasmia by increasing your embodiment and teaching you to practice self-touch. They help you figure out what your fantasies are – and what you’d like a partner to do to turn you on physically. A Somatica sex coach assists in your exploration around turn-ons. They might give you homework around masturbation, and encourage you to play with a vibrator, by yourself and with your partner.

Surrogate Partner Therapy

If your therapist refers you to a sex surrogate for anorgasmia treatment, the surrogate will take you through a program to get you to feel more connected to your body. You will learn to give and receive touch and to ask for what you want. Surrogates can teach you how to masturbate and might engage in oral sex or intercourse practices with you to remove any non-medical roadblocks to anorgasmia.

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Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel, PhD is the Co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the Co-Founder of the Somatica® Institute. She trains coaches in the Somatica® Method of Sex and Relationship Coaching. She has her own private practice in Sunnyvale, where she supports her clients in having amazing sex and relationships as well as passion-fueled lives. She has published original research on Orgasmic Birth and is the co-author of two books, Cockfidence - The Definitive Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild and Making Love Real - The Intelligent Couples Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Danielle Has her Masters in Clinical Social Work From Haifa University in Israel and her PhD in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS). She is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. Danielle is a Certified Body Positive Facilitator and took many trainings in embodied and mindfulness based therapeutic approaches such as Hakomi.