Anorgasmia

Written by Katherine Nicholls
Katherine Nicholls
Hypnotherapy Directory Content Team

Reviewed by Amy Odd
Last updated 17th April 2024 | Next update due 17th April 2027

If you find it difficult to orgasm or have never been able to orgasm, you may have anorgasmia. Here we'll look at how anorgasmia can impact us and how hypnotherapy may be able to help.

What is anorgasmia?

Also referred to as orgasmic dysfunction, anorgasmia is when you have difficulty reaching orgasm or can’t orgasm even when enjoying sex. It can also be used if your orgasms aren’t as strong or frequent as you’d like. Usually, anorgasmia is only given as a diagnosis if this is something causing you distress. 

It's a problem that can affect all genders and can impact relationships. Unlike low libido, with anorgasmia, you still feel the desire for sex and you can still get pleasure from it. Not being able to orgasm, however, can lead to frustration. 

In women and those assigned females at birth (AFAB), anorgasmia is classified as one of the following:

  • Primary: Also called ‘lifelong’, this is when you’ve never experienced an orgasm.
  • Secondary: Also called ‘acquired’, this is when you have been able to orgasm in the past, but now can’t. This can be common following menopause.
  • Situational: This is when you can only orgasm in certain situations, for example during masturbation.
  • General: This is when you aren’t able to orgasm in any situation, despite feelings of arousal. 

In men and those assigned males at birth (AMAB), anorgasmia can be called delayed ejaculation or inhibited ejaculation. It is typically classified as one of the following:

  • Primary: this is when you’ve never had an orgasm or ejaculated.
  • Secondary: this is when you’re only able to orgasm under certain conditions.

Anorgasmia is different to erectile dysfunction, which is when you struggle to get or maintain an erection. With anorgasmia, you can typically still get and maintain an erection, you just struggle to reach orgasm. In some cases, however, both conditions are present. 

In this episode of Happiful's I am. I have, Ben Bidwell (AKA The Naked Professor) opens up about his experience of anorgasmia:

When you have orgasmic dysfunction, it can affect your well-being. You may feel self-doubt or even shame. There may be feelings of anger and frustration too, especially if it’s impacting your relationships. 

If you suspect you have anorgasmia, it’s helpful to work with a doctor to identify the cause and what support may be best for you. 


What causes anorgasmia?

As with most sex-related problems, the causes can be varied. They often involve a mix of physical, psychological and emotional factors.

Here are some examples of physical factors that may be contributing to anorgasmia:

  • Medications. Certain types of medications can have an impact on our ability to orgasm, including anti-depressants.
  • Age. The older we get, the higher our chances of experiencing orgasmic dysfunction. This seems to be especially true in women and people AFAB.
  • Illness and medical conditions. Certain conditions can impact our ability to orgasm, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Surgery or injury to the genitals. This can lead to complications that impact sex.
  • Hormonal issues. Our hormones play an important role in our sex lives and can affect our ability to orgasm.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction. Having issues with your pelvic floor can impact the way we experience sex. 
  • Dyspareunia. If you experience pain during sex, orgasm may be more difficult. 

In terms of psychological and emotional factors, here are some that may contribute:

  • Mental health conditions. Some conditions, such as depression and anxiety, can affect our ability to orgasm. 
  • History of sexual abuse. If you’ve experienced a trauma like this, it can impact your sex life.
  • Low confidence. If you’re unable to relax during sex, it can make orgasm difficult.
  • A belief that sex is wrong. Some cultural or religious beliefs can affect how we see and experience sex.
  • Having trust issues. If you struggle to trust your partner, you may find intimacy more difficult. 

You may recognise one or more of the above causes. Sometimes the problem starts due to physical causes and over time we develop psychological habits that continue the problem. 


Anorgasmia treatment

The way you treat anorgasmia will depend on what’s causing it. Because there can be a number of factors involved, it can help to take a holistic approach. This means tackling any physical causes and addressing psychological causes.

The treatment your doctor may recommend could include:

  • Changing any medications linked with the problem.
  • Hormone therapy to support blood flow.
  • Treating any underlying health conditions contributing to the problem.
  • Talk therapy to help with any mental health or relationship concerns.
  • Psychosexual therapy to understand what may be preventing orgasm.
  • Learning different masturbation techniques to find what works for you.
  • Focusing more on pleasure and less on orgasm during sex to release pressure.

The effects of anorgasmia can perpetuate the problem. The more we struggle to orgasm, the more anxious and worried we become. Hypnotherapy is a tool that can be used to help break this cycle.


Hypnotherapy for anorgasmia

If you have been treated for any physical causes for anorgasmia, but are still having issues, hypnotherapy may help. When it comes to sex, a number of our behaviours and responses are subconscious. This means we aren’t actively choosing how to feel or certain reactions. 

Hypnotherapy is an approach that works with the subconscious, helping to change any unhelpful thinking patterns. For example, you may hold an unconscious belief that you ‘can’t orgasm’ or are ‘bad at sex’. These beliefs can take hold and impact our ability to reach orgasm. Sometimes the harder we work on a problem, the harder it becomes to solve and we get stuck in a loop.

Once trapped in the stressful situation, it becomes a vicious circle whereby the more a woman feels she has failed and is failing, the more stressed and anxious she becomes and the more the problems persist.

- Solution-focused hypnotherapy and psychotherapy practitioner, Marie De Bono

The aim of hypnotherapy for anorgasmia is to break this pattern and instil more helpful thinking. This is done through suggestion techniques during hypnosis. When this is done, the anorgasmia response can be changed, helping you regain control of your body.

Hypnotherapy can also be used to boost confidence, helping you feel more empowered in your sex life and able to ask for what you want. It can encourage relaxation and mindfulness too, so you can enjoy sex without worrying about whether or not you reach orgasm. In some cases, this release of pressure and reduction of stress can make a big difference alone. 


How to find a hypnotherapist

Working with a hypnotherapist can be a great support to other treatments you’re pursuing. If you want to try it, you can use our search tool to find a hypnotherapist. When you’ve found someone you like, take some time to read through their profile to learn more about the work they do. You can then reach out to them to find out how they can help you.

Being nervous about discussing your sex life with a stranger is totally normal. Hypnotherapists are professionals, however, and many are trained to help in this specific area. Their aim is to help you and remove any stigma or shame associated with sex. Start searching today and get ready for your sex life to transform.

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