What is Anorgasmia?

Anorgasmia is a sexual dysfunction where a person is unable to have an orgasm even after sexual stimulation. It is also known as Coughlan’s syndrome. This condition affects both women and men but it is more common in women and causes significant stress to the person experiencing this problem2, 3.


In men, they delay or not all have an orgasm even after sexual excitement. A man is able to penetrate his partner and have an appropriate erection but no orgasm.


Anorgasmia can be grouped into the following:

  • Primary anorgasmia: This type of anorgasmia is where man or woman has never experienced an orgasm at a point in life.
  • Secondary anorgasmia: Secondary anorgasmia is where a person was able to consistently have orgasms at some point but is not able to have them now.
  • Situational anorgasmia: Situational anorgasmia refers to a condition where a person is able to achieve orgasms in particular sexual situations and never orgasm in other situations.

Anorgasmia depends on many factors such as emotions, thoughts and the desires of the individual experiencing it. Some women are not able to orgasm through sex but have orgasms when her partner stimulates her clitoris and enjoy a full satisfying sex. Other women may orgasm through stimulation but have a depressed, unsatisfying sexual life. Studies have revealed that about 40% of adult women in America have problems reaching orgasms.4


Anorgasmia can be caused by many factors. These factors include:

Physical Factors

Many different diseases, medications and physical changes can affect you having orgasms.


A number of diseases can cause anorgasmia such as

Multiple Sclerosis- This is an autoimmune condition that affects your brain, nerves and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis is marked by problems in body balance, muscle coordination and control and vision. This condition occurs when your immune system attacks the myelin sheath, a layer that protects optic nerves in your brain. As a result of damage to the myelin sheath, communication between the brain and the rest of your body is disrupted since the nerves present are also damaged.

The causes of multiple sclerosis are not clear but the following factors can trigger this condition:

  • Viral and bacterial infection
  • Genetic factors
  • Deficiency of vitamin D in the body

Multiple sclerosis is associated with the following symptoms that can cause anorgasmia. It can cause sexual dysfunction in patients. Other symptoms include muscles becoming stiff, causes the bladder not to function properly, it affects balance and causes seizures, etc.

Gynecologic issues

Certain surgeries can affect your ability have orgasms like cancer or hysterectomy. Lack of orgasm is also linked to painful sex or a person being uneasy during intercourse.


Many drugs whether gotten from over-the- counter or prescribed can cause you not to have orgasm. Drugs such as those used to treat high blood pressure and antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Smoking and taking alcohol

Consuming too much alcohol can affect your ability to have orgasm. Smoking limits blood flowing to your genitals and this can affect your sexual life.

Aging process

When a person becomes older, he or she undergoes changes in the anatomy, hormones, circulatory and neurological system that can interfere with your sexual life. Due to changes in hormones such as interfering with estrogen levels when a person is transitioning to menopause can reduce blood flow to the vagina, clitoris. This can either delay or stop you from having an orgasm during intercourse.

Physiological Factors

Sex is also connected to the physiological factors and can affect your ability to orgasm. There are a number of physiological factors that can interfere with a patient’s orgasm such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Feeling embarrassed about having sex
  • Some people fear sexual transmitted infections and pregnancy and this can affect their sexual life.
  • Feeling guilty about exploring sexual experiences
  • Having a past bad sexual experience can prevent you from having an orgasm

Another cause of anorgasmia is problems in a relationship. A healthy relationship defines a healthy and satisfying sexual life. In case you experience problems in the relationship, you are more likely to negatively affect your sexual life and can depression. Some of the relationship problems people encounter include:

  • People failing to resolve conflicts and pretend that everything is well.
  • Poor communication between partners. Sexual partners can fail to communicate to each other what are their needs and preferences during sex. This can end up affecting your sexual life.1


The most common sign and symptoms of anorgasmia is failing to have orgasms or taking too long to have them.


Anorgasmia can be diagnosed through the following methods:

Physical exam

Before the physical exam, your doctor will ask your past health history. The doctor will want to know your sexual life, present relationship and any surgical procedure done. Although you may be embarrassed to disclose this information about your sexual life, it is worthy to assist your doctor understand your problem and help you manage it.

After understanding your medical history, your doctor will conduct a physical exam in order to diagnose the condition. Your doctor examines for any medical condition causing anorgasmia. In some cases, your doctor can also check your genital region for anatomical issues causing the orgasm.


Managing and treating anorgasmia can be so challenging. Treating this condition depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor can recommend several treatment options that work together to manage this condition. They include:


Your doctor may recommend medications to treat an underlying medical condition. Such treatments may include estrogen and progesterone therapy. This can be used to increase sexual arousal and blood flow to genital areas.


Every relationship has conflicts and disagreements that can affect sexual life. Try and seek a competent counselor to help you solve tensions in the relationship and boost your sexual life. Apart from counseling, you may also need cognitive therapy which attempts to change your thoughts about sex and help you focus on achieving an orgasm.

Sex therapy

You can also try to help of sex specialist. This kind of a person will help you to learn about sex, improve communication and show you behavior exercises you can practice with your partner at home.

In addition, women need to understand their anatomy so that they know which areas should be touched by their partner to bring about stimulation. This understanding will go a long way to boost sexual life and the ability to have orgasms.

Reference List

  5. Anorgasmia.

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