Anorgasmia: Everyone Is Having Orgasms But Me… What Can I Do? | Lioness

Everyone Is Having Orgasms But Me… What Can I Do?

Not having an orgasm, or even not being sure whether you’ve experienced an orgasm before, can be a very frustrating and lonely experience.

If you’ve mentioned your experience to friends, you may have had someone look aghast and say “How can you NOT have had an orgasm?”. Or, if you ask someone how you know if you’ve had an orgasm, you might get the equally antagonizing and unhelpful response of “you just know.”

Well, I’m here to tell you this: your friend is wrong (sorry not sorry friend). And you’re not alone. Having difficulty having orgasms is more common than you might think, and it’s not always something you “just know”. There are many possible reasons why ranging from people having different experiences, perspectives on sex and body image, relationships, and physiology. But before we dive into all of that, first we’ll talk about what anorgasmia is, potential causes, and what you can do about your own circumstances.

What Is Anorgasmia?

Anorgasmia, Coughlan's Syndrome, or FOD (Female Orgasm Disorder) is the inability to orgasm.

There are two types of anorgasmia: primary and secondary anorgasmia. Primary anorgasmia is if you have never experienced an orgasm. Secondary anorgasmia is if you only experience an orgasm in certain circumstances—for example, if you experience orgasm during certain situations (like during masturbation but not during sex with a partner), or if you used to but no longer experience orgasm (due to medications or something else).

There is some data that shows that difficulty having an orgasm is not uncommon. Anorgasmia can affect around 4.7% of women [1]. And there has been much talk about what’s coined as the “orgasm gap”, where a 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) reported that “91 percent of men said they climaxed during their last sexual encounter, compared with 64 percent of women.”

There are a variety of reasons why someone may have difficulty having an orgasm. We’ll go into some of the reasons below:

What Can Cause Anorgasmia?

It depends. It can be physiological or psychological. Or both. Unfortunately there just haven’t been a lot of resources committed towards understanding sexual pleasure, especially for women (or anybody with a vagina), so anorgasmia is kind of an umbrella term for any reason you may not be having an orgasm. And physiology and psychology often affect one another (not feeling pleasure makes you question and not feel good about yourself, not feeling good negatively affects your body, etc.), so eventually you may need to untangle and address both aspects.

From talking to both people who’ve experienced anorgasmia and experts, we’ve seen a few themes, some which overlap, and some which may or may not be applicable to you:

1. Being comfortable with your body

    Admittedly, this one makes me feel like a Comcast customer service associate asking whether you’re plugged into the internet. It seems really basic, but being comfortable experiencing sexual pleasure can be the difference between feeling amazing or feeling mediocre. Comfort and feeling good about yourself should not be overlooked. And if you are not comfortable with yourself, it can be tough to change your mindset.

    Simply put—if you don’t feel good about your body, you’re probably going to have more difficulties experiencing pleasure and having orgasms. It could be because you don’t feel good about your body image, you feel down or depressed (about something related to sex or not), something your partner has said or done, or you may have negative associations with sex due to shame or past experiences.

    There are many reasons why you may not feel great about yourself sexually or generally. And as anyone who has experienced depression knows, changing how you feel is not as simple as flicking a light switch. But as you find ways to practice self-love and accept your wonderful self (and accept the ups and downs that will entail), you may see some improvement in your experience of pleasure and have a better time exploring and having fun.

    2. Health and Physiology

    Just like how some men have difficulty maintaining arousal (after all, erectile dysfunction and Viagra are a $1B+ product alone), women can also have difficulties with arousal. While it can be more common with age, it’s still possible for women to have difficulties with arousal and orgasm at any age from underlying health conditions.

    The human body is complicated -- there can be a number of reasons why you may be experiencing difficulties that are likely too complicated to expand on here. Beyond maintaining your health generally speaking (since remember, your health also affects your pleasure), if you haven’t already and are able to, find a sexual medicine doctor, pelvic floor physical therapist, or sex therapist. Notice I did not say an OB/GYN—unless they have a focus in sexual medicine or sexual pleasure, most OB/GYNs do not have much knowledge or advice about sexual pleasure and will often have very limited advice. Case in point: one of my longtime practicing OB/GYN friends excitedly mentioned to me that she learned about the clitoris’ full internal structure last month...it was simply not something they taught in medical school. Shocking, right? So if you can, consult someone who focuses on sexual pleasure or medicine and they can give you more specific depending on your circumstances.

    3. Having a supportive, patient, and communicative partner (and being communicative with them)

    You may have climaxed on your own (or do it on the ‘regular), but you’ve never climaxed with a partner, and maybe you’ve been faking it in bed. You like the intimacy of sex but just haven’t felt that orgasmic bliss when you hear about when others talk about their experience with sex. After a while you might feel like sex not fulfilling and not worthwhile...

    This one is a tough — If you haven’t already, talk about what you’re experiencing with them. It can be hard to bring up because so many of us equate having (or giving) an orgasm with feeling like a competent lover, but that is simply not the case. There could so many reasons why you might be having difficulties, not just because of whether your partner is doing what you like or not (though that could definitely be part of it), but also your mindset, your body, their body, health...and whatever else might be happening.

    If you haven’t mentioned it to your partner yet, they might not even know that you are having this experience. It might hurt, but longer term it’s better to open up the conversation and figure out what to do about it rather than keep things to yourself and become bitter over time. In fact, figuring out how to enjoy sex more together (whether you orgasm or not) can bring you two even closer and make the experience far better than you could imagine!

    A good partner would want to help you feel happier and more satisfied with sex because they care about you and your wellbeing. There are a variety of different things you can try from introducing toys into the bedroom to trying some new techniques or experiences.

    If your partner is dismissive or does not care about your pleasure, simply put, that is a red flag. I’m not going to give a whole lot of relationship advice here, but seriously, take a step back and consider if that’s what you want. Get advice from trusted friends and/or a great therapist. Don’t forget to care for yourself, because you are your best advocate.

    What Can I Do?

    See A Specialist

    Especially if you think it might be health-related, seeing a qualified specialist can help as well as ensure there isn’t an underlying health issue.

    A quick story from a friend who worked in pharma: when Viagra became available, a lot of men who were interested in the drug for performance went to the doctor for the first time in a long time to get it. They often ended up getting tested for their overall health. Lo and behold, a number of them also had heart problems and circulation issues...because they had erectile dysfunction, the doctors figured they probably had other circulatory issues, and sometimes they were right. Similarly, we’ve seen customers who have the Lioness vibrator track how changes in their health such as concussions have affected their pleasure.

    Focusing on your sexual pleasure can end up meaning you improve your overall health, and vice versa. Great sex: yet another reason to try and be as healthy as you can be!

    Try New Things

    Mindset matters a lot. If you go into an experience or buy something and just expect that to be the solution, I guarantee you’re going to be disappointed. Nothing will completely replace effort and mindset. Try new things, try things that you might have dismissed before or thought wasn’t “normal”, don’t be afraid to have something completely flop. Expect that some things will flop. Expect that you might like some things that you may have once thought were abnormal, weird, or unacceptable. It’s O.K., it’s part of the journey to fail and find different things that work for you, in matters of life and in sex.

    Something that surprises a lot of people? Some of the people with the best sex lives are people with disabilities. The reason? They need to figure out what works for them. They talk to their partners about what they like in detail. Disability Awareness Consultant Andrew Gurza explains more of what I’m talking about here.

    Another nugget of wisdom from my co-founder Anna:

    “YOU. ARE. NORMAL! We hear a lot of stories and questions from our friends and customers wondering if it’s normal for their bodies and sexual responses to do X. So much of media makes us have so many anxieties about whether our bodies are “normal.” I even catch myself falling into that thought still.

    I think the beautiful thing about Lioness is being able to learn about your own body through your own data so you can see proof that, “Oh! That’s just how my body is!” and you’re not comparing over what a tabloid article told you an orgasm is supposed to feel like. You get to own your own body and give yourself the permission to self-experiment and feel good about your awesome body!”

    What this means for you? Normal is an invisible barrier we set for ourselves—there is no such thing as normal. Find what you like, get creative, color outside the lines if you want to. Find what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines of what you think is expected. If you drop normal, you may be very pleasantly surprised about what you find.

    It’s Not All About The Orgasm

    I know this sounds like a cop out, but it really is true. While orgasms are pretty fantastic, they’re not the end all be all. You can have fantastic sex without having an orgasm. You can have a mindblowing orgasm but shitty sex. You might have a thousand—nay, ten thousand orgasms—but feel bored, unhappy, and unfulfilled in so many other ways.

    There’s so much more to sex than just the O. There’s the experience, the fantasy, the intimacy, the journey. You can learn a lot about yourself and your partner while keeping an open mind, and have some pretty amazing and insightful experiences while you’re at it. If you think of the experience as sort of a meditative journey and not just a one-stop destination, there are all sorts of ways you can explore, grow, and feel fulfilled by your exploration—orgasm or not.

    So go forth and be a pleasure seeker. Find what you like, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines, and don’t care what others think. Because once you’re able to do that, it’ll be more fun and fulfilling. You might get that orgasm (or ten), but even if not, you’ll find what makes you happy and fulfilled in the journey.

    Want Some More Guidance? The Lioness Vibrator May Assist You In Your Journey

    Use Lioness to learn more about your amazing body. It’s a unique vibrator equipped with sensors so you can see your own sexual response (and yes, even orgasms). We’ve had customers who’ve used the Lioness and app as a sex diary so they can see how different experiences can change their experience of pleasure, and learn what their amazing body can do. Learn more here and join the pride today.

    References

    [1] Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2014). Abnormal Psychology Sixth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-07-803538-8.