What Happens When You Realize You're Unable To Have An Orgasm?
May 12, 2017|Maria Suarez
Sometimes it feels like I hear about orgasms everywhere. On the morning radio there’s a sexologist explaining people how important it is to tell your partner when you’re not coming properly. Later that day, when I’m walking past a newsstand, out of the corner of my eye, I see that word in neon pink displayed on more than one magazine cover. I see someone at least once week pretending to have one on some show I’m watching. I write about it, read about it, and hear about it all the time. The thing is, the main narrative is that it’s a perfectly normal process we should all experience and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed about communicating what we need in order to achieve it. But what happens when it never arrives?
For all I’ve been told about the orgasm, I’ve never encountered somebody talking openly about what happens when, as much as you try, you don’t have one. Well luckily, I stumbled on an article that actually went into detail about it. After going down the rabbit-hole of Anorgasmia –pretty self-explanatory name–, I’ll now share this information with you in hopes that eventually we’re just as comfortable talking about this situation as much as we are about the opposite, yet more desirable, occurrence.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the few major medical entities that’s actually talking about this problem, “Anorgasmia is the medical term for regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing you personal distress.” You have to love that last phrase: personal distress. It sounds like the description of a lady on the deck of the Titanic frowning because she lost her handkerchief or something. But yes, of course, this is a situation that is bound to cause anxiety, stress, and plenty of disappointment to the person who has it.
Imagine never knowing why you can’t seem to experience what everyone else says you should be feeling. Women who’ve never been able to have an orgasm are categorized as lifelong anorgasmic. The acquired label is for those who have had orgasms in the past but then stopped. Situational is for women who can only achieve it in certain situations and environments. As for the term generalized, this is for people who are simply unable to have an orgasm. Pretty simple right? Actually, putting it in categories is the simple part. Understanding why or how this happens is more complicated.
Much like Vaginismus, this is a condition that is severely understudied. Most women who ask their doctor or the people around them about this are shrugged off or simply told they’re not doing something right. It’s assumed that most women will experience difficulty or inability to have an orgasm at some point in their life. This is because there are several factors that can lead to that happening. Starting with physical causes that can happen after taking particular medication such as antidepressants or due to illnesses like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Having surgery like a hysterectomy or even cancer treatment can also lead down the same path. Certain STIs can make sex so uncomfortable or painful that the woman in question might not be able to stand intercourse enough to get there.
Then there are psychological reasons. Someone might not be on antidepressants, but having severe anxiety or depression also leads to anorgasmia. If you’re nervous about getting pregnant or an STI, if you’re worried what your family or church would say if they knew you were having sex, or even if you don’t feel comfortable with your body, your mind will try to prevent you from doing what you're doing. This can also occur if you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or abuse. Basically, your mind will see sex as a threat rather than a pleasurable experience. In the end, your body will be blocking itself from getting to orgasm because there are so many warning signs.
Of course, there’s also what’s behind the third door. If you and your partner are not communicating properly about what’s working and what isn’t, you might be hard-pressed to get to the peak of satisfaction. One person can’t expect the other to be the expert; both parties need to work together to get to where they want to be. One thing that’s important to note is that not everyone reaches orgasm from intercourse. There’s plenty of other options to try out. As long as both partners trust each other, there are several ways you can go about this journey.
So, what happens when you feel like no matter what you try, you’re not getting there? Medical help is important, but not every physician might be suitable. There’s no actual test for anorgasmia, aside from a basic physical check to see if everything is okay. A sex therapist could be crucial to help you understand what’s happening. They can even suggest exercises or tips to finding your orgasm. According to the experts, masturbation could help trigger an orgasm easier than intercourse. Once you’re more comfortable and understanding of your body and what you react to, it could be easier for you to find your pleasure when you’re with your partner.
Much like anything else relating to sexual issues, what matters is that you talk to someone who can actually help you understand what’s happening. There’s no need to remain hopeful that it will fix itself by magic. Don’t feel ashamed or scared to speak about this. Sex is a natural human activity. Try to do without all the other ideas, myths, and hang-ups that are only holding you back. Find your pleasure and don’t let anything keep you from achieving it.
Images by Cvatik