Anorgasmia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

In most cases, anorgasmia is due to psychological problems. Fortunately, patients often respond well to different types of therapy.
Anorgasmia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Diego Pereira

Written and verified by el médico Diego Pereira in 22 April, 2021.

Last update: 22 April, 2021

Anorgasmia is the absence of an orgasm during sexual intercourse or masturbation. This can have a negative impact on many aspects of life, especially in a relationship and on our self-esteem.

In the vast majority of cases, it usually affects women and has an associated psychological component. Therefore, therapy with a mental health professional is usually effective, despite the fact that sometimes there are organic problems that require another approach.

Below you will find a short article on the main characteristics of this condition. Keep reading!

Anorgasmia, a problem for men or women?

Anorgasmia is usually the result of psychological problems.
Anxiety and other psychological disorders can cause anorgasmia.

In general, cases of female anorgasmia are much more frequent. As you’ll see later, most of the causes of this condition are psychological, such as anxiety or depression. According to some studies, these health problems mostly affect women.

However, men can also suffer from anorgasmia. In many cases, it can exist even when they’re able to ejaculate, which is why there may be a delay in going to the doctor or difficulties in diagnosing. Ejaculation refers to the expulsion of semen, and not to the sensation of pleasure.

Symptoms

As the name suggests, anorgasmia means the absence of an orgasm. This last term refers to the set of pleasant sensations related to sexual tension, which can be experienced alone (with masturbation) or during sexual intercourse.

The symptoms of this condition tend to be recurrent and chronic. This means that, although there may be times when patients reach an orgasm, the vast majority of the time there’s a lack of pleasure.

Other clinical manifestations may occur, depending on the cause. In anxiety or depression disorders, the most common are the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Profuse sweating (diaphoresis)
  • Relationship problems
  • Shaking
  • Tiredness or weakness

The same is true of the organic causes of anorgasmia. In Parkinson’s disease, muscle stiffness and involuntary movements appear. In the case of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, there’s usually obesity, in addition to increased volume.

How many types of anorgasmia are there?

There are two common classifications of this condition. The first takes into account the moment the symptoms appear, while the second considers the situations that trigger it.

In the first case, primary and secondary (or acquired) anorgasmia are distinguished. When a patient has never experienced orgasms from the time they reached puberty, it’s referred to as primary anorgasmia. In many cases, there are usually organic components that explain it.

Secondary or acquired anorgasmia is more common, and occurs in patients who have already experienced normal orgasms in the past. At some point in their lives, some factor appears that causes symptoms to appear little by little. Usually, there are associated psychological components.

As for the second classification, when anorgasmia occurs in some situations (such as oral sex or having sex with strangers) it’s referred to as a situational disorder. When it occurs at any time, both alone and with a partner, it’s called generalized anorgasmia.

Main causes

It’s possible to differentiate the causes of anorgasmia into two types: psychological and organic. The latter are much more limited, and are usually reserved for cases of untreated systemic diseases or those in advanced stages. Below you’ll find a detailed description of both causes.

Psychological

Although there are specific conditions that can cause anorgasmia (such as anxiety and depression), in many cases it’s a combination of complex psychological factors.

Not only is it due to pathologies such as those mentioned above, but some daily problems such as stress, work conflicts, shame, guilt, and some religious beliefs can increase the chances of suffering from symptoms.

Some cases in which there are obvious partner conflicts can lead to situational anorgasmia, in which only masturbation can produce a successful orgasm. Lack of assertive communication, intimate partner violence (especially in women), and unsolved infidelity cases can all play a role in this problem.

Organic

An orgasm is the result of a set of temporary physiological changes. These include the influence of hormones, contraction of the pelvic muscles, and the integrity of the autonomic and cardiovascular nervous systems.

For any pathology to produce anorgasmia, it must have systemic repercussions. This would make it possible to substantially alter all the systems involved, or at least a large majority. Some of these conditions are as follows:

  • Mellitus diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Hysterectomies and other gynecological surgeries
  • Alcoholism and smoking

In the specific case of diabetes mellitus, it’s a group of diseases characterized by a malfunction or incorrect production of insulin. This hormone is responsible for lowering glucose levels in the blood (glycemia), because it favors its entry into different tissues.

One of the consequences of high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) is progressive damage to the peripheral nerves, especially the sensitive ones. This can cause difficulties in stimulating the areas that promote orgasm. In men, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Anorgasmia can also occur as a result of aging or the chronic use of some medications. The latter are usually psychotropic, which is why they affect the functioning of the central nervous system.

Treatment of anorgasmia

Anorgasmia may require therapy.
Both individual and couples therapy can be successful.

This condition can be treated, and in many cases, a complete resolution of the condition is achieved. Therapy includes the elimination or reduction of the intensity of the cause, although even patients with organic pathologies can benefit from psychological treatment.

Psychologists or psychiatrists use different methods to help. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which seeks to restructure some thought patterns. It can be used to eliminate or diminish prejudices related to sexual intercourse.

In cases of situational anorgasmia related to sexual intercourse, assisting with a professional can be very beneficial. This allows you to identify and deal with underlying conflicts, such as problems of jealousy and infidelity.

Organic causes may require multidisciplinary treatment, especially in those cases with diagnostic difficulties.

Controlling chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus is the initial step, despite the fact that the greatest challenge for specialists is to reverse the organ damage. In fact, when it affects the nervous tissue, the difficulties to recover it are increased.

Seeking help is always a valid option

The first step in overcoming this problem is acceptance, and understanding that professional help can greatly speed up the healing process. The appropriate specialists for this are psychiatrists or psychologists, especially those trained in sexology.

It’s also a valid option to go to other medical specialists, who will determine the existence of organic pathologies. At first, it’s a good idea to go to a gynecologist or urologist, who may refer you to another professional in some cases.

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