For some women, the quest for an orgasm can feel like a hopeless cause. After all, it's easy to feel left out when it looks like everyone else has a perfect sex life. (Hint: they don't.) To make matters more confusing, the reasons you may not be having an orgasm are quite varied. Anything from past surgeries to cultural attitudes about sex can affect your ability to climax.
In many ways, it would be easier if the causes for anorgasmia were only physical. But everything from how much you drink to how you feel about your partner may affect the ease with which you orgasm. They can be elusive, to say the least.
In addition, many health factors can dampen your body's responsiveness. Pelvic trauma, sleep disorders, and even mental health conditions such as depression may curtail your ability to orgasm. And as an added bonus, some medications may cause anorgasmia as a side effect.
Although this list may seem bleak, remember that not all is lost. Depending on which factors ring true, you may need to visit your doctor or have a serious heart-to-heart talk with your significant other. Counseling to overcome negative feelings about sexuality is also an option. Whatever the case, knowing the many factors that can prevent you from orgasming may help you figure out how to remedy the situation.
1. Excessive Sitting
This is strange, but true. According to Woman's Day, sitting for long periods of time may shorten your pelvic muscles, which can cause pelvic pain and make orgasm more difficult. Even if you're tied to a desk all day, it's a good idea to sneak in some squats or back bends whenever possible to keep everything in good working order.
2. Mind Wandering
3. Medication Side Effects
Sometimes your brain and body are all in, but side effects from medication may keep you from finishing strong. According to Health Line, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may make orgasm difficult to achieve. If this common side effect is wrecking your love life, then don't hesitate to chat with your doctor for possible solutions.
4. Misunderstanding Or Fear Of Sex
So much of sexual function is directly affected by your psychological state. For instance, you may have difficulty orgasming if you have misunderstandings about sex, or an outright fear of it, as the National Health Service explained. A sex and relationship therapist may be a great resource in your case.
5. Relationship Problems
If you and your SO are dealing with some issues, then the problems can spill over into your bedroom. As explained in Everyday Health, unresolved relationship problems can make your sexual connection misfire. Honest and open communication is always a good place to start, and seeking out a relationship therapist is also an option.
6. Gynecological Conditions & Surgeries
This sounds unfair. But according to the Mayo Clinic, gynecologic surgeries may affect your orgasmic response. Going through a hysterectomy or cancer surgery may impact your experiences in the bedroom.
7. Cultural Baggage
Unfortunately, cultural messages about sex and shame may be hampering your bedroom time. “There’s still a lot of messages in our culture about good girls/bad girls, so a lot of women still feel shameful about having orgasms and allowing somebody to witness that, even somebody they’re partnered with and you think they’d trust and feel safe with,” sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson told the Huffington Post. Thinking critically about these contradictory cultural messages may help you move past them.
Sometimes you're just too worn out to experience orgasm. As explained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, fatigue and stress may contribute to orgasmic dysfunction. Taking the time to really rest may help the cause.
9. Pelvic Trauma
Here is yet another medical complication that may make orgasm more difficult to achieve. As explained in Psychology Today, pelvic trauma — caused by injury during a bicycle fall or gymnastics accident, for instance — may also cause anorgasmia. If you have had an injury to this area, then talk to your doctor about your options for regaining sexual sensation.
Anxiety sucks enough on its own, but it can mess up your love life, too. As explained in Shape, anxiety is a huge reason many women have trouble achieving orgasm. Whether you have an anxiety disorder or just feel anxious about sex in general, seeking help is a very good idea.
11. Body Image Issues
Is mainstream culture out to destroy your sex life or what? As explained in Women's Health, body hang-ups can wreck your orgasm in a second. If you try to focus on the sensations of sex instead, though, you may be able to get back into the moment.
12. Insufficient Clitoral Stimulation
Relying on penetration alone will probably not get you there. As explained on Today, approximately 55 percent of women will never climax through intercourse. Get to know your own body and figure out how much clitoral stimulation works for you.
13. Trying Too Hard
Putting too much pressure on yourself to "get there" may actually have the opposite effect. According to Kinsey Confidential, the stress of trying too hard to achieve an orgasm may turn off your response altogether. Taking some of the pressure off may be a good call. (Of course, "Just try to relax" is the most annoying advice of all time.)
That last glass of wine might make your romantic evening less than thrilling. As explained in the Mayo Clinic, alcohol consumption may limit your ability to climax. Moderation may be a good idea.
15. Sleep Disorders
If you have significant problems getting enough shut-eye, then your love life might also suffer. According to Everyday Health, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may lead to drops in your oxygen levels that damage the nerve tissues and blood vessels necessary for sexual function. This may be a good time to talk with your doctor, because problems with female sexual dysfunction may indicate an underlying sleep disorder.