Sexual Health and Wellness

DYSFUNCTIONS: FEMALE ORGASMIC DISORDER

Features

  • Female orgasmic disorder (FOD) refers to a persistent or recurrent delay in, or complete absence of, orgasm following a normal or adequate sexual excitement phase.
  • Women generally exhibit a wide variability in the type or intensity of stimulation that triggers orgasm. A diagnosis of FOD is based on expert opinion that the woman’s orgasmic capacity is less than would be reasonable for her age, sexual experience, and the adequacy of sexual stimulation she receives.
  • FOD may be accompanied by interpersonal difficulty (e.g., relational dissatisfaction) and reports of affecting body image and self-esteem.
  • FOD can be primary, in that the person has never experienced an orgasm. This appears relatively more common among younger women.
  • FOD can be secondary, in that the person used to experience orgasm, but this is now delayed or absent. This is usually associated with negative emotions, unresolved anger, poor communication, relationship conflict, a traumatic sexual experience, or depression.
  • FOD can be focused, in that the delay or absence relates to a specific context, event or partner (e.g., relationship conflict).
  • FOD may be general, in that the person experiences a delay or absence generally irrespective of all sexual stimuli.

Epidemiology Female orgasmic disorder (FOD) is generally more prevalent among younger women. Orgasmic capacity tends to increase with age and the ability to become orgasmic once learned is rarely forgotten. Most FOD are lifelong rather than acquired. Causes Many things can cause an orgasmic disorder; it can be a psychological problem, or a combination of a physical and psychological problem. Certain medical conditions that can interfere with the blood or nerve supply to the clitoris may be implicated in loss of orgasm. Poor sexual communication, sexual ignorance and fear, inadequate or unsuitable sexual stimulation, relationship difficulties, previous traumatic sexual experiences, depression, anxiety, and a general decline in physical health can all contribute to orgasm difficulties. Lack of ability to ‘let go’ may also play a contributing role. Treatment Every woman will have a unique set of circumstances causing her failure to orgasm, and likewise the treatment plan should be individually tailored to meet her special needs. A detailed medical, sexual and social history should be obtained and certain blood tests carried out. This may uncover any underlying medical or psychological condition. Based on the information uncovered the treatment plan will target at the factors that may be lowering sexual interest. When an underlying medical condition is found, this will be treated first.