Causes and Treatments for Anorgasmia in Men

Anorgasmia can have both physiological and psychological causes

Couple sitting on separate sides of bed, both looking away
PhotoAlto/Sanna Lindberg / Getty Images

Anorgasmia (also known as an orgasmic disorder, orgasmic dysfunction or orgasmic inhibition) is the persistent inability to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse. It is better documented for women than men, as it is less common in men, but the possible causes and therapeutic outcomes are similar for both sexes.

Statistics for Anorgasmia in Men

Statistics vary widely on the extent of the problem of anorgasmia in men, but approximately 10 percent of men have reported problems with orgasms.

For some men, the disorder presents itself in terms of an inability to reach orgasm only during sexual intercourse. In such cases, it is often possible for orgasm to be reached, but only after prolonged and intense non-intercourse stimulation.

Primary anorgasmia is the term used for men who have never experienced an orgasm, while secondary anorgasmia identifies men who have experienced an orgasm in the past but are now unable to reach orgasm.

Psychological Causes

It is estimated that around 90 percent of anorgasmia problems are related to psychological issues. Surveys point to performance anxiety as the number one psychological problem. Performance anxiety in this context is not necessarily related to "staying power," or duration of intercourse, but may relate more to attempts to "will" a state of sexual arousal, which in turn leads to a vicious cycle of anxiety. Sexual activity can take on a sense of being a chore, which increases distress.

Other psychological problems, such as stress, are often self-correcting and of relatively short duration. Other causes may be rooted in the development of negative attitudes towards sex, sometimes from childhood. There is also a relationship between anorgasmia and childhood and adult sexual abuse or rape.

Marital strife and boredom within a relationship coupled with a perception of a monotonous sex life are also known psychological contributory factors.

Physiological Causes

Physiological causes of anorgasmia can include:

The sedative effects of some drugs, including alcohol, are known to impair the orgasmic response. A side effect of some antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can include anorgasmia, especially among men.

Chronic illness and pain can have a general debilitating effect over many aspects of life, including sexuality. Also, as men age, there is a natural slowing down of many physiological processes that may contribute to anorgasmia.

Treatments for Anorgasmia

If you're concerned about a difficulty reaching orgasm, you may want to see your doctor for a physical examination in order to rule out any physical causes.

If anorgasmia is due to psychological causes, you may want to seek sex therapy treatment from a qualified sex counselor or sex therapist. Typically, treatment is based around an educational package, which includes homework that addresses the sexual activities and relationship issues identified.

Communication training is a key element, and the therapist will place emphasis on couples developing playful and/or relaxed interactions and reducing the pressure to perform sexually and routinely.

Graduated assignments lead eventually towards a resumption of sexual activity that is underpinned by new insights and greater enjoyment.

Was this page helpful?