Anorgasmia in Women: Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options

According to a report released in 2023, 30% of heterosexual women in Britain reported experiencing an orgasm every time they engaged in sexual activity. Another 15% reported experiencing an orgasm sometimes, while 10% reported never experiencing an orgasm.


Despite its prevalence, anorgasmia is often a taboo subject. Many women may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it with their healthcare providers or partners. This article aims to provide an overview of anorgasmia in women, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. By increasing our understanding of this condition, we hope to empower women to seek the help they need to improve their sexual health and well-being.


What is Anorgasmia?


Anorgasmia, also known as Female Orgasmic Disorder, is characterised by orgasms that are delayed, uncommon, absent, or much less significant. anorgasmia is the second most common sexual condition reported by women, with dyspareunia, and pain during sex, being the top.


Signs of Anorgasmia

Below are common signs of anorgasmia.


  • Delayed orgasms
  • Absence of orgasms
  • Fewer orgasms
  • Less-intense orgasms


Types of Anorgasmia 


  • Primary anorgasmia: Primary anorgasmia, sometimes known as lifelong anorgasmia, is the sensation of an individual who never has an orgasm, even after “sufficient” stimulation.
  • Secondary anorgasmia: Secondary anorgasmia occurs when the individual used to climax, but over time their orgasmic response has disappeared.
  • Situational anorgasmia: Situational anorgasmia is the inability to orgasm during specific sexual acts. For example, penetration or oral sex.


Anorgasmia Causes


For some people, the idea of being in a vulnerable and intimate situation with another person can cause discomfort. As a result, their brain and nervous system can work together to prevent them from reaching orgasm. This could be due to a lack of confidence or a sense of embarrassment. The anxiety inhibits the flow of blood to the genitals, which is necessary for arousal, thereby hindering the individual from experiencing an orgasm.


Other causes of anorgasmia are:


  • Alcohol
  • Depression
  • Medication, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and sleeping medication
  • Menopause
  • Cancer treatment
  • Hormones
  • Contraception
  • Fear of pregnancy
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Fear of urinating/becoming too aroused
  • Damage to the central nervous system 


Is Anorgasmia Common?


Reports suggest that as many as one in four women experience difficulty achieving orgasm, while others indicate that the rate may be as low as 5%. If you’re concerned about difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm, see a doctor. This issue can affect females regardless of their relationship status and can impact relationships. 


To find out more about couples counselling or sex therapy to support sexual health during treatment, check out our website.


Medications That Can Impact The Ability to Orgasm

 Medications that affect your ability to orgasm include:


  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Antipsychotic medications.
  • Anti-mania medications.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)


Similar Sexual Disorders

Women who have anorgasmia may have one or more related sexual issues. This can exacerbate or complicate the problem of having orgasms. Among these conditions are:


  • Problems with sexual arousal
  • Low libido
  • Pain from sexual intercourse or other sexual stimulation
  • Dryness of the vagina/vulva
  • Involuntary tightening of the vagina (vaginismus) 


How is Female Orgasmic Disorder Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of FOD relies mainly on self-report since orgasm is a subjective experience. Only those affected by FOD can report the frequency and intensity of orgasms, as well as the level of distress caused by difficulty in reaching climax. For support in identifying the cause, check out our website.




The course of treatment is dependent on the underlying reasons and the duration of the issue. Initially, it is crucial to seek counsel from your primary care doctor or gynaecologist.


Despite feeling hesitant to talk about sexual concerns, it’s important to seek help without any inhibition. Delaying treatment for sexual dysfunction can make it more challenging to resolve. You may be advised to change your lifestyle, undergo physical therapy, oestrogen or testosterone therapy, or adjust your medication.


Lena Fenton Counselling 

Are you experiencing symptoms of anorgasmia? Lena Fenton, a sexual therapist, offers psychosexual counselling that can guide you and help you solve any of the issues mentioned in this article. For more information, fill out the form or call us on 07721 633 521. Follow our Instagram to stay up to date.