Anorgasmia is a medical term for having difficulty reaching orgasm despite having plenty of stimulation, such that it causes significant distress for the individual. It can be caused by countless physical and psychological issues, including hormonal changes, menopause, drug and alcohol use, medication side effects (particularly SSRIs), surgery side effects, chronic illnesses, anxiety, depression, stress, negative body image, trauma, relationship issues, sexual shame, performance anxiety, and more.
Basically, almost anything can be messing with your ability to reach orgasm. “Anorgasmia is just another way of saying problems having orgasms,” psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist Lauren Fogel Mersy, Psy.D., tells mbg.
“It is not a specific physical condition,” adds AASECT-certified sex therapist Diana Urman, LCSW, Ph.D. “And since the term orgasm is vaguely defined, the term anorgasmia isn’t well defined either.”
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5), anorgasmia is called “female orgasmic disorder” for people with vulvas and “delayed ejaculation” for people with penises.
“I choose not to use these diagnoses because they are gendered and pathologize normal variations in human sexuality. I prefer to use language like ‘problems having orgasms,’ as this feels more reflective of the situation,” Mersy notes.