Orgasm dysfunction can be defined as the inability to reach orgasm and can happen to both women and men. It can occur all the time or is the gradual loss of the ability to reach climax. The causes are psychological or physical, or both, and can lead to a sense of sexual frustration or emotional and mental distress. The medical term for the inability to achieve orgasm is anorgasmia, and can be situational, permanent or have a slow onset due to health. More women than men report this type of difficulty, and the greater the age, the greater the chance of anorgasmia becoming a problem.
One of the primary physical causes of orgasm dysfunction is diabetes. Diabetes, particularly in the more severe cases, leads to a condition known as neuropathy, in which the nerve endings in the extremities lose their sensation. In some cases, men lose the ability to feel their penis even during arousal. Spinal cord injuries can affect the central nervous system, and thus reduce sensations to the genital areas. The use of certain pharmaceutical medications can cause a reduction of the ability to orgasm. Statistics show that this can occur in almost 50% of patients who use certain types of prescription medications.
In secondary orgasm dysfunction, one loses the ability to achieve orgasm over time. Aging can cause the pelvic wall in a woman’s body to loosen or sag. The lack of estrogen in women can create an inability to either feel aroused or orgasm. The use of Kegel exercises can sometimes reverse the effects of loose pelvic muscles, but other times hormone replacement therapy may be the other option. Men who suffer from secondary orgasm dysfunction may have undergone prostate cancer treatment, or may simply have a low level of testosterone. Health concerns including cardiovascular disease can certainly cause anorgasmia in men.
Sometimes there is no physical reason for orgasm dysfunction. The psychological response to sexual intercourse may have overtones of fear, ignorance or distaste. In addition, some people can only be aroused by using certain types of props or fantasies. This is known as situational anorgasmia. Some individuals choose to go with their ideals of a proper setting for intercourse, while others seek counseling in order to be able to achieve orgasm under other situations. Many therapists urge couples with this problem to use secondary sexual stimulation devices, or spend a great deal of time on foreplay rather than the intercourse itself.