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Anorgasmia in Women: Types, Causes & Treatments


Orgasms vary in intensity and duration and can present differently from woman to woman. However, for those who suffer from anorgasmia, it can be difficult, or even impossible, to reach orgasm at all.

What is Anorgasmia?

Essentially, anorgasmia is a sexual dysfunction where orgasm can’t be reached even with ample sexual stimulation. Given that many women experience anorgasmia at some point, here’s everything you need to know about this condition.

Types of Anorgasmia

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

  • Acquired anorgasmia: Women who previously were able to achieve orgasm are no longer able or have 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. Sometimes aging is a major 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.

When to See a Physician

If you’ve never achieved an orgasm or are experiencing periodic or recent troubles climaxing, consider seeing a physician 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. You can expect your provider 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. Common treatment recommendations include:

  • 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.

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If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.

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