When orgasm becomes a disorder...
Lisa Antao | Apr 29, 2011, 12.00am IST
Most probably, one must have read about pleasure, in context of a woman during sexual activity, only in books and popular culture. But, do you feel like you have always hit a roadblock because you're unable to climax? Do you fake it because you don't want to hurt your partner's feelings owing to his inability to help you feel fulfilled? Do you feel irritable or depressed because of this, that sex is a mundane mechanical activity for you? Or perhaps, you have lost interest in making love and avoid it simply because you know that you are not going to achieve your peak anyway? If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, you're experiencing Female Orgasmic Disorder, also known as Anorgasmia.
Sexologist Dhananjay Gambhire says, "Female Orgasmic Disorder is the persistent or recurrent inability of a woman to have a sexual release after adequate arousal." He says that it can be primary (a woman has never had an orgasm till day) or secondary (acquired after trauma - present for a considerable period of time), and can be either general (always present) or situation-specific (with specific sexual partners or specific place).
Being mentally active in sex is as important as being physically skilled. Consultant psychiatrist Vasant Mundra says, "Many women don't know their own bodies. Even those who do, are too shy to express their desires. Dryness due to menopause or other hormonal causes too can lead to difficulty in climaxing. Certain medications, apart from physical exhaustion, debility or sleepiness, can also inhibit a woman's ability to do so. Women suffering from depression will have a low libido, and will fail to climax."
He explains that one common reason is performance anxiety. This pressure inhibits a woman from enjoying the act. She often ends up faking it just to make him stop. Sexologist Mahinder C Watsa says that one of the causes of Female Orgasmic Disorder is weak interpersonal relations with one's husband, which leads to a feeling of hopelessness and failure. The wife may blame the husband for his inability to bring it about and the husband believing it, so distancing himself from the relationship.
Dr Gambhire says traumatic experiences might contribute to this syndrome. Also, emotional abuse, fear of pregnancy, fear of rejection by partner, relationship problems, guilt about sexual pleasure, cultural beliefs about sex are also contributing factors.
It can cause unhappiness in both partners. Couples may want to avoid sex so as not to face up to this again and again. A woman may end up being irritable or depressed. This often leads to misconceptions, misunderstandings, frustration, stress and depression too.
Female Orgasmic Disorder is a sensitive issue, which if untreated can severely affect a woman's relationship with her partner. The first step should be educating yourself on this issue. A proper consultation with a sexologist is important, the reason for the disorder should be found and treated at its best. Counselling, psychotherapy and sex therapy are used - often along with directed exercises to increase stimulation and decrease inhibitions - either for the individual or for the couple.