Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 5:02 pm, Thu Aug 29, 2013.
Is it normal for a girl to not have an orgasm during intercourse?
Setting aside an academic discussion on the definitions of normality, which is an entire lecture series all to itself, I will say, that normal or not, it is certainly fairly common.
In fact, anorgasmia is among the top presenting problems to sex therapists and counselors from female patients. Clearly, the statistics show a trend.
Keep in mind that many of these numerous cases of anorgasmia are classified as situational, meaning that the subject is not reporting primary anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm ever), but rather, an inability to achieve orgasm in certain situations.
Examples of the situational category include a subject who experiences orgasm while masturbating, but not with her partner, or an individual who has orgasms from oral contact, but not during penetration.
Most of the current therapeutic treatment options for someone experiencing either type of anorgasmia take the approach that the subject might not be relaxed enough during sex, might have a high amount of realized or sublimated erotiphobia (aversion or negative feelings about sex or one’s own sexuality), or simply is not experiencing comfort or good productive communication with her partner.
There are some actual physical conditions that can result in anorgasmia, including pelvic injury, hormone difficulties and neurological disorders, but the vast majority of cases are dealt with easily by using the aforementioned cognitive/behavioral techniques, directed masturbation exercises and communication training.
Do aphrodisiacs really work?
As with many questions I get, a lot of the answer depends on how one defines these terms. The term aphrodisiac (derived from Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love) is generally understood to mean some substance – often a food or drug – that when ingested or utilized, results in an increase in sexual desire.
Often, the word is further used to imply the increasing of someone’s sexual desire against their will, or somehow making someone who does not want sex, suddenly desire sex through the use of the substance.
In other words, aphrodisiacs have often, throughout human history, been thought of and sought out as “love potions.”
In its more general and non-mythical definition, the term aphrodisiac simply refers to anything at all that might increase sexual desire.
In regards to the first form of the definition, there are various historical examples of substances with alleged aphrodisiac effects. They include Rhinoceros horn (from whence we get the slang term “horny”), deer penis, oysters and the bark of the Johimbe tree, found in West Africa.
While the history of the use of such substances is long and colorful, it is important to note that the stories and legends are (so far as modern science can tell) entirely mythical, with the possible exception of Yohimbine, the extract derived from the Johimbe bark.
Yohimbine has been shown to increase pelvic blood circulation – much the same as modern erectile dysfunction treatment products, such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. However, strictly speaking, the physiological action of these pharmaceuticals, and of the herbal Yohimbine preparations do not have any action on desire; they simply make sex possible for men by stimulating quicker, stronger and longer lasting erections.
This is not the same thing as desire, which is an internal emotional state.
No modern studies have ever found any substance that reliably increases sexual desire in a majority of the population. No scientific study has ever found any substance that reliably fuels sexual desire when it was not there in the first place.
However, in regards to the second, more universal definition of aphrodisiac as anything that can increase sexual desire, there are several.
Erotica, for one, has, as its very purpose, an increase in arousal. We have hundreds and thousands of years of erotic literature that can be very effective as aphrodisiacs; “Fifty Shades of Grey” seems to be a popular choice lately. Although sexology types have problems with the content, it does seem to make a lot of readers yearn for some sexy time.
Male choices in erotica often tend to lean towards the visual, and many males report viewing images of sex as highly arousing. However, the most obvious non-substance aphrodisiac in history, of course, is being in love.
Depending on who you are and how you care to define things, you might call this “being in lust,” or “smitten,” or “having the hots for” or a myriad of other possibilities, but most of us know what it feels like. That feeling like you’ve been punched in the chest and then the immediate tachycardia, the surge of a happy hormone cocktail coursing through your bloodstream, the difficulty concentrating on anything else other than the object of your desire.
Countless songs, poems, plays, stories and art of every description have been written about this throughout the entire course of human history – this common human response is the best aphrodisiac ever discovered.
Chico Jensen is the Sexual Health Education Coordinator for the Purdue Student Wellness Office, an American Red Cross HIV/AIDS Education instructor, and a certified Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate and Coordinator for SAPCAP, the Sexual Assault Prevention Coalition at Purdue.