Modern society seems to have an easier time discussing male sexual problems than female ones. While early ejaculation treatment has received a lot of attention, Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD) is barely recognised. Often, the patients themselves are unaware they have this condition, because they have never experienced orgasm, so they don’t know what they’re missing. Up to 10% of women go their entire lives without having an orgasm.
Like many sexual dysfunctions, FOD is primarily a psychological condition. In a few cases, there may be circulatory issues or pelvic injuries that prevent a woman from achieving orgasm. More often, it’s the result of a flawed thought process, a traumatic experience, or misconception towards her body and her sensuality.
In many homes, women are taught they should not seek, enjoy, or show desire when in fact women are as capable of enjoying sex as men are.
However, when a woman finds pleasure in something ‘forbidden, dirty, or wrong’ she may feel guilty. Her guilt can lead to suppression and self-censorship, and both can subconsciously stifle her orgasm. In more dire cases, a woman who has experienced trauma or sexual abuse may be unable to express her sensuality healthily.
This can manifest in refusal to have sexual partners, and even when she’s involved with someone, she may resist orgasm on an unconscious level. Other psychological barriers to orgasm include depression, anxiety, and stress. She may be scared of getting pregnant, or be uneasy about her role as female partner, especially if she had a religious upbringing.
For some women, cultural bias can affect their bedroom experience. If they have hang-ups about sex due their upbringing, it can prevent them from fully achieving orgasm. On the other hand, a woman might just be too tired for immersive sex. That’s why FOD is only diagnosed if it has persisted for six months or more and if it is causing the patient distress.
Once a woman has acknowledged her inability to orgasm as a problem, then it can be dealt with. She can begin by having an open discussion with her partner. Ideally, this should be with a trained sex therapist, because having this discussion on your own may leave partners feeling blamed or attacked, and that makes the problem worse.
FOD may not necessarily need medical intervention, but it may help to talk to a doctor who can explain the issue from a biological perspective. Usually, sex therapy can resolve the problem. It also helps if the woman is assisted in achieving an orgasm.
This induction should take place in a safe environment. She can learn how to masturbate, or she can try different sexual approaches with her partner. Once she realises she can experience orgasm, she will be more open to having one in the future. Sometimes, the knowledge that it’s achievable is all she needs. It reassures her that she is capable of reaching that apex point of pleasure, and encourages her to seek it more often.