Female Orgasmic disorder is the difficulty or inability of a woman to reach orgasm during sexual stimulation. For this condition to be considered a dysfunction, it must cause distress or interpersonal difficulty. In men, it is known as Erectile Dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or delayed ejaculation.
Female orgasmic disorder is marked by difficulty in experiencing orgasm and/or reduced intensity of orgasmic sensations. Women show wide variability in the type or intensity of stimulation that elicits orgasm. Subjective descriptions of orgasm varies, which means that experiences differ from person to person.
For a woman to be diagnosed with female orgasmic disorder, clinically significant distress must go with the symptoms. If interpersonal factors, such as severe relationship distress, intimate partner violence, or other stressors, are present, then a diagnosis of female orgasmic disorder would not be made.
Many women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, and a small number of women report that they always experience orgasm during intercourse. It’s also important to consider whether orgasmic difficulties are the result of inadequate sexual stimulation and not related to female orgasmic disorder.
These symptoms cause clinically significant distress in the individuals:
- Delay in, marked infrequency of, or absence of orgasm.
- Reduced intensity of orgasmic sensations.
- The symptoms have persisted for a duration of at least 6 months.
Lifelong female orgasmic disorder indicates that orgasmic difficulties have always been present, whereas the acquired sub-type would be assigned if the woman’s orgasmic difficulties developed after a period of normal functioning. A woman’s first experience of orgasm can occur any time from pre-puberty, well into adulthood. Women show a more variable pattern in age at first orgasm than men, and women’s reports of having had orgasms increase with age. Many women learn to experience orgasm as they explore a wide variety of stimulation and gain more knowledge about their bodies.
To treat orgasmic dysfunction, the underlying medical mood disorder needs evaluation and treatment. The role of hormone supplementation in treating orgasmic dysfunction is controversial and the long-term risks remain unclear. If other sexual dysfunctions such as lack of interest and pain during intercourse are present, it needs to be addressed as part of the treatment plan. Relationship difficulties sometimes play a role, so treatment may sometimes need to include communication training and couple therapy and treatment. A series of exercises to practice communication, more effective stimulation, and playfulness can help. Working with a partner to decrease performance anxiety and maximize communication also helps.