Male Anorgasmia

What is male anorgasmia?

Male anorgasmia is also known as orgasmic inhibition or orgasmic dysfunction. Male anorgasmia refers to the frequent inability of a man to achieve an orgasm during sexual intercourse. This can be very upsetting for the man concerned and can cause problems in relationships.

So what causes male anorgasmia and how can it be treated?

Male anorgasmia – a common problem?

Statistics show that around 10% of men have experienced male anorgasmia. In some sufferers, the disorder manifests itself as an inability to reach orgasm only during sexual intercourse. However, orgasm may be achieved following intense and prolonged stimulation or masturbation.

There are two distinct types of male anorgasmia that are recognized:

  • primary anorgasmia is the term used to describe men who have never reached orgasm
  • secondary anorgasmia is the term applied to men who have been able to achieve orgasm in the past, but are now unable to do so

Secondary anorgasmia is the more common condition of the two.

What causes male anorgasmia?

The vast majority (around 90%) of male anorgasmia cases are directly related to psychological issues.

Performance anxiety is the number one cause of male anorgasmia that is caused by psychological problems. Many men worry that their performance won't be satisfactory to their partner; they won't ‘last long enough' or they may take too long to reach orgasm. These concerns can turn sexual activity into a stressful ‘chore', which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

Psychological problems, such as work-related stress or financial worries can be self-correcting and are usually relatively short-lived. Other issues can be more deep-rooted, stemming from negative experiences in childhood or early sexual encounters. There is also a direct relationship between male anorgasmia and childhood or adult rape or sexual abuse.

Sometimes, problems within a relationship can cause male anorgasmia. If a couple is continually arguing or have perhaps become distant and bored with each other, the perception of a forced or monotonous sex life can be major psychological contributory factors.

Physiological causes

There are a number of physiological causes of male anorgasmia.

Some medical conditions can cause the problem including:

In addition, certain types of medication can cause male anorgasmia. Some antidepressant drugs, including selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, often have anorgasmia as a side-effect. Chronic alcohol and drug abuse can result in impairment of the orgasmic response.

Men who suffer from chronic pain and illness, which has a general debilitating effect on their daily lives, often experience sexual problems, including anorgasmia. As men age, many of their physiological processes begin to slow down, which can also contribute to anorgasmia. A reduction in the sex hormone testosterone can also be a contributing factor.

How can male anorgasmia be treated?

If you are experiencing difficulty in achieving orgasm during sexual intercourse, or at all, it's a good idea to have a chat with your doctor. A physical examination may be necessary to rule out any physical cause of the problem.

If anorgasmia is found to be due to psychological causes, sex therapy from a properly qualified sex counselor or therapist may be helpful; your family doctor will refer you to someone. The treatment is usually based around an educational, self-help package that you and your partner should work through together. The package will seek to identify and address any relationship or sexual issues that may be causing the problem.

Within the therapy, communication training is a key element. The therapist will encourage couples to develop playful or relaxed interactions that are designed to reduce the pressure to ‘perform' and to make sex more fun and less ‘routine'. The treatment is geared towards a gradual resumption of full sexual activity that is more enjoyable and ‘fresher' than before.

Now that we know what male anorgasmia is:

Male anorgasmia is a distressing and frustrating condition that can impact adversely on relationships. If you're affected, see your GP to rule out any physical causes of the problem and consult a sex therapist to tackle any psychological issues.

Last Reviewed:
July 12, 2017
Last Updated:
October 26, 2017
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