Every few weeks, Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, will be answering your questions here. To ask her your own question, click here.
I’ve never been able to have an orgasm when I have sex. Is something wrong with me? I try really hard, but it never happens.*
The inability to have orgasm is common in women and less common in men. About one out of three women have “inhibited orgasm” — they have reached orgasm in the past, but no longer can. About one in 10 women have never had an orgasm. This is called anorgasmia. Many women are able to reach orgasm during clitoral masturbation, but cannot during penetrative sex play; this is because the women aren’t getting the kind of stimulation they need to reach orgasm from traditional intercourse. If you have pain during intercourse, you should consult an obstetrician/gynecologist. If you are not experiencing pain yet are not having an orgasm, consider having an initial consultation with a sex therapist (see below) — or give yourself more time and practice to see if orgasm eventually occurs.
Some women who cannot reach orgasm do not feel that orgasm is important for their sexual experience, while other women feel cheated. Some women “fake” orgasm in order to end sex play or to please their partners — and some of those women may not even realize that they aren’t reaching orgasm.
Inhibited orgasm in men may mean ejaculation without orgasm. It may also mean delayed ejaculation — it takes them longer to reach orgasm than they would like. In some men, inhibited orgasm is associated with taking certain anti-depressants or other medications. Delayed orgasm in women and men can be frustrating.
Individuals and couples who are disappointed with their experiences, or lack of experience, with orgasm may benefit from professional sex therapy. To find a certified sex therapist, call the nearest Planned Parenthood health center at 1-800-230-PLAN for a referral. Or you may locate a certified therapist through the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.
Best wishes for your good sexual health,
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