Female orgasmic disorder (FOD) is a sexual dysfunction characterized by a persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following sufficient sexual stimulation and arousal. Although orgasmic dysfunction can have psychological origins, it most commonly stems from physical causes. A wide variety of conditions and medications can lead to primary orgasmic dysfunction, making it important for women experiencing orgasmic difficulties to consult with a healthcare provider.
It is important to note that primary orgasmic dysfunction differs from anorgasmia, which is defined as the recurrent delay or absence of orgasm following adequate stimulation and arousal.
Causes of Primary Orgasmic Dysfunction
The most common cause of the primary orgasmic disorder is low levels of circulating testosterone. This androgen plays an important role in maintaining libido, sexual arousal, and orgasms.
Psychological Causes of Primary Orgasmic Dysfunction
There are a number of psychological factors that can contribute to primary orgasmic dysfunction. These include:
- A history of sexual abuse or rape
- Boredom in sexual activity or a relationship
- Fatigue and stress or depression
- Lack of knowledge about sexual function
- Negative feelings about sex (often learned in childhood or teen years)
- Shyness or embarrassment about asking for the type of touching that works best
- Partner issues
Physical Causes of Primary Orgasmic Dysfunction
Female orgasmic disorder has physical causes other than low testosterone levels, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, pelvic surgery (such as radical hysterectomy), menopause, and spinal cord injury.
A variety of physical ailments can also cause primary orgasmic dysfunction. These consist of the following:
This is a condition in which the muscles around the vagina tighten involuntarily, making sexual intercourse painful. Vaginismus can be caused by fear or anxiety about sex, past trauma or abuse, or other psychological factors.
These are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. Fibroids can cause pain during sex and make it difficult for some women to reach orgasm.
This is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. Endometriosis can cause pelvic pain and pain during sex. It can also make it difficult to reach orgasm.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
This hormonal disorder can cause irregular periods, weight gain, excess hair growth, and fertility problems. PCOS can also make it difficult to reach orgasm.
How Is Primary Orgasmic Dysfunction Treated?
The treatment for primary orgasmic dysfunction will vary depending on the underlying cause.
If the cause is boredom in your sexual activity or relationship, the treatment may involve trying new things in the bedroom to spice up your sex life.
If the cause is Adrenal fatigue or stress, the treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as getting more sleep or exercise.
And suppose the cause is a lack of knowledge about female sexual health. In that case, the treatment may involve learning more about the female anatomy and how to achieve orgasm through self-stimulation or with a partner.
Whatever the underlying cause, there is likely a treatment option that can help you achieve orgasm. And it may involve one or more of the following approaches:
These exercises strengthen the muscles around the vagina and pelvis, which can improve sexual function and help some women reach orgasm more easily.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy:
Physical therapy can help relax the muscles around the vagina and pelvis and relieve pain during sex.
Psychotherapy can help people with primary orgasmic dysfunction explore the psychological factors that may be contributing to their disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that has been found to be particularly effective in treating sexual disorders.
Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy that specifically focuses on sexual issues. Sex therapists can help people with primary orgasmic dysfunction identify and address any underlying emotional or relationship problems that may be contributing to their disorder. They can also teach people tangible skills, such as how to become more aware of their bodies and sexual response cycles.
If a medical condition or certain medications cause primary orgasmic dysfunction, treatment may involve addressing the underlying problem.
For example, if it is caused by endometriosis, treatment may involve surgery to remove the endometriosis tissue.
If medications, such as antidepressants, cause primary orgasmic dysfunction, treatment may involve working with a doctor to adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication.
Some research suggests that changes in hormone levels may contribute to primary orgasmic dysfunction. As such, hormonal treatment may be an effective approach for some people with this disorder. Hormonal treatments that have been studied include Hormone Replacement Therapy and Menopausal Hormone Therapy for menopausal women.
How to Improve POD Symptoms
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of reaching orgasm. Here are a few tips:
Be sure to spend enough time on foreplay. Research suggests that extended foreplay can help many women reach orgasm. It takes most women longer than men to get aroused and reach peak sexual arousal. Stimulating the clitoris directly is often necessary to reach orgasm. Try different strokes, speeds, and amounts of pressure until you find out what works for you. Use a personal lubricant if needed, which can make clitoral stimulation pleasurable.
Explore your body solo with your fingers or sex toys so that you know what turns you on. This can be a great way to learn how to climax without involving a partner, or it can be fun foreplay for when your partner joins in.
Talk openly with your partner about what you like and don't like during sex. Many couples find it helpful to schedule sex so they don't feel rushed or under pressure this can go a long way toward promoting relaxation and increasing pleasure for both partners. If fatigue is an issue, consider trying different positions — a woman on top may be less tiring than other positions.
Don't hesitate to seek therapy if negative feelings about sex are interfering with your love life. Hormone Experts at Harbor Compound Pharmacy can help you identify any unresolved issues from the past that may be affecting your present ability to enjoy sex.