Orgasmic Dysfunction in Women: Prevalence, Causes and Outcomes

Abstract

The human orgasm is an important part of the sexual experience. Researchers state that it reinforces the relevance of sex. According to most researchers, the function of orgasm is to reinforce sex by acting as positive feedback to allow procreation. In this research, I evaluated the prevalence of female orgasmic dysfunctions, their causes, and the existing management from research. The methodology that I used in this paper consists of evaluating secondary sources, which comprise articles that have been done on the same topic. The articles that I used in the review were obtained from relevant databases. The findings indicate that, although it is hardly reported, the prevalence of orgasmic dysfunction in women is high. The origin may be divided into organic and psychological causes.

Introduction

Procreation has long been known as the sole reason for sexual contact between different sexes. The human race is not different. However, human beings can derive pleasure from sexual activity. They are among the few animals that engage in coitus for pleasure. Sexual satisfaction is one of the most basic human desires. In the last few centuries, the inability to perceive satisfaction in sex has characteristically been considered a health condition. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women has been the subject of many studies, which have investigated factors that are associated with the condition. Unlike their male counterparts who are distressed by the occurrence of sexual dysfunction, the female gender is known for the ability to ignore these problems (Kelly, Strassberg, & Turner, 2010). Anorgasmia is one of the most common sexual dysfunction in women. Unlike in men, it is less noticeable and hence mostly unreported in women. Some populations are at a higher risk of orgasmic dysfunction concerning others, with some factors contributing directly and indirectly to this prevalence. Some of the known causes of orgasmic dysfunction in women can be categorized into organic and psychological causes. The psychological causes are the most notorious in the causation of orgasmic dysfunctions, which can be managed through simple interventions. This article evaluates the prevalence of orgasmic dysfunction in women, the likely causes, and the possible interventions. The research question I chose for the research is, ‘why are some women predisposed to orgasmic dysfunctions, and what are the factors that predispose them to these dysfunctions?

Methods

Participants

The study consisted of 102 female participants of different ages. Half of them had orgasmic dysfunction. These subjects were selected based on their experience in orgasm and their intimate relationships. The selection and recruitment of these participants were done through a special database that was constructed for the same purpose. Individuals who were participating in the study had to sign the consent that they guaranteed their safety participation.

Materials

The materials we used in the research consisted mainly of secondary sources of data that provided the necessary information on orgasmic dysfunctions in women. Most of the articles that we found appropriate for the study used qualitative methods of assessing the different hypotheses that had been developed. Women who were willing to participate in filled consent forms. Participants included women who had orgasms together with those who lacked it. However, both were required to report their sexual satisfaction (Kelly, Strassberg, & Turner, 2010). Consequently, participants who had orgasmic dysfunction had to apply some of the interventions that were necessary for the treatment of the disorder. The results were analyzed and used to make the necessary conclusions.

Procedure

This research took the form of an article review where we used secondary sources of information to arrive at the necessary conclusion. The participants in the study self-reported their orgasmic dysfunction in the research, with the 102 selected persons expressing different emotions on their sexual activities. The background of the participants who had orgasmic dysfunction was assessed using relevant tools such as questionnaires. This background information established some of the underlying factors in the orgasmic dysfunction for these female participants, including factors such as communication and age. Participants were required to self-report these predisposing factors during the research, with a correlation being made between the factors and the dysfunction.

The participants were grouped into two categories, namely those who had the orgasmic disorder and those who did not have it. Participants who did not have the dysfunction were treated as the control group, with the findings of the two groups being compared. The information obtained from the research in the study was presented using the most relevant methods of data presentation. Apart from the primary source of data that was used in the research, the other method consisted of secondary sources where information was obtained from previous researches. The search for articles that were used in the research took place in recognized databases such as PubMed, Cochrane, and Ebcohost where the right articles were selected for the study. The keywords that we used for the research included female orgasm, orgasmic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. The initial search produced many articles that were based on the research. The information obtained from the research was analyzed using qualitative methods of analysis.

Results

The results from the study indicate that the number of women with orgasmic dysfunctions is relatively high. More than 50% of the participants had some form of orgasmic dysfunction, with different causes being established. The self-report indicates that communication and relationship between spouses are some of the most important factors in the causation of orgasmic dysfunction. The mean age of the participants with orgasmic dysfunction (M=39) was higher than that of the control group without any form of orgasmic dysfunction (M=27). The participants also described the feelings that they have during sexual activity. Orgasm is described as the best feeling during sexual intercourse (Levin, 2010).

Meston, Hull, Levin, and Sipski (2010) confirm that anorgasmia in females may be managed medically. The disorder is relatively common among individuals who engage in coitus for procreation only. Woertman and van den Brink (2012) reveal that body image is an important contributor to the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in human beings. It has a role to play in anorgasmia. The main influences of sexual dysfunctions according to these researchers include sexual orientation and cognitions (Kelly, Strassberg, & Turner, 2010).

Relationship issues are related to the psychological state of the individual. As Kelly, Strassberg, and Turner (2010) describe, communication is one of the issues. Spouses with poor communication are associated with sexual dysfunctions such as anorgasmia (Kelly, Strassberg, & Turner, 2010). The management of these problems may be associated with complete resolution of the problem. Some of the researchers who researched the management of anorgasmia in women include Laana, and Rellinib (2011). These researchers describe the various interventions that are in use in the management of the condition. The consequences of anorgasmia in females include depression that is associated with poor outcomes in marriage (Prause, 2011).

The assessment of orgasmic satisfaction in female patients can be assessed using several tests and scales. One of these scales is the Female Sexual Function Index that Opperman, Benson, and Milhausen (2013) evaluated and stated to be an important and effective one. Most researchers whose studies I considered in this research used different scales of measuring sexual satisfaction in women. The factors that are associated with orgasmic dysfunction in women include the duration of their marriage, age, previous psychiatric illnesses, history of sexual abuse, and use of psychotropic medication (Mazinani, Akbari Mehr, Kaskian, & Maryam Kashanian, 2013).

Sexual function can be predicted in the different research articles, including the occurrence of orgasmic dysfunction (Chang, Klein, & Gorzalka 2013). The prevalence of orgasmic dysfunctions is high among women of all ages and social status, with the prevalence being high among the elderly, low socio-economic status, and those who have medical illnesses. Some of the researchers indicated that the interventions in the management of orgasmic dysfunction might be associated with significant levels of success (Kohut, & Fisher, 2013).

Discussion

The research findings indicate that the prevalence of orgasmic dysfunctions is high among women. According to Prause (2011), in many research findings, anorgasmia amongst women can be due to several factors, which may be organic and psychological. Psychological factors are the main causes of the inability to achieve orgasm. Stress is one of the major causes of anorgasmia, with the main explanation being that sexual pleasure is centrally controlled. Lack of emotional attachment between parties and spouses during intercourse can contribute to anorgasmia. The absence of love and affection significantly contributes to this problem. Besides, a lack of trust will largely interfere with the act. I was able to relate the orgasmic problems in women with the availability of social and communication issues.

Anorgasmia may also result from previous experiences that a woman goes through in her lifetime. Rape is one of these ordeals that may harm the ability of a woman to enjoy sex and/or attain orgasm (Mazinani, Akbari Mehr, Kaskian, & Maryam Kashanian, 2013). This situation can be due to physical trauma that is caused during the activity, thus leading to bruising and dysfunction or psychological torture. Medical conditions are the other common causes of anorgasmia in women (Prause, 2011). This observation is evidenced by studies conducted by scholars in the medical fields whereby some conditions such as multiple types of sclerosis, a neurological disorder, can produce anorgasmia. Cancer can also cause this condition, with the example of cervical cancer whereby intercourse is altered due to dyspareunia or painful coitus, which leads to a lack of orgasm.

Social factors also emerge as important influences to attaining orgasm in women. Notions such as religious beliefs dictate that sex can only be talked about in the dark. Laws have been implemented to prohibit any talking about sex either openly with peers or even with a spouse. Other practices such as clitoridectomy, which involves the physical removal of the clitoris in women, can lead to a lack of orgasm. The clitoris is a vital organ in sexual stimulation and in achieving orgasm. Hence, its removal will lead to a lack of pleasure (Levin, 2010). Some communities have their myths and taboos regarding sex. These practices are a major contributor to the lack of an orgasm amongst such women.

Relationship factors such as multiple affairs in women are some of the other factors I found to be associated with orgasmic dysfunction in women. Altered emotional attachment because of polygamy predisposes women to anorgasmia alongside other sexual dysfunctions (Chang, Klein, & Gorzalka 2013). This situation also applies to commercial sex workers who engage in sex, not for pleasure and emotional attachment but for monetary gain. This population of women has a limited emotional attachment to their clients. Hence, it is unable to achieve orgasm in most instances (Chang, Klein, & Gorzalka 2013).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the occurrence of anorgasmia and sexual dysfunction in women is caused by a variety of factors that affect individuals. The review of the literature I conducted indicates a large population of women who have anorgasmia. The causes of anorgasmia that the researchers investigate include organic and psychological causes. The management of these cases is associated with the resolution of the dysfunction in most of the patients. Anorgasmia is also affected by factors such as the existence of other health conditions, age, social factors, and the culture of an individual.

Reference List

Chang, S., Klein, C., & Gorzalka, B. (2013). Perceived Prevalence and Definitions of Sexual Dysfunction as Predictors of Sexual Function and Satisfaction. Journal of Sex Research, 50(5), 502–512.

Kelly, M., Strassberg, D., & Turner, C. (2010). Communication and Associated Relationship Issues in Female Anorgasmia. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 30(1), 263–276.

Kohut, T., & Fisher, W. (2013). The impact of brief exposure to sexually explicit video clips on partnered female clitoral self-stimulation, orgasm and sexual satisfaction. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 22(1), 40–50.

Laana, E., & Rellinib, A. (2011). Can we treat anorgasmia in women? The challenge to experiencing pleasure. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(4), 329–34.

Levin, R. (2010). Physiology Update: An orgasm is…who defines what an orgasm is? Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 19(1), 102-107.

Mazinani, R., Akbari Mehr, M., Kaskian, A., & Maryam, K. (2013). Evaluation of prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and its related factors in women. Razi Journal of Medical Sciences, 19(105), 120-131.

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Prause, N. (2011). The human female orgasm: critical evaluations of proposed psychological sequel. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(4), 315–328.

Woertman, L., & van den Brink, F. (2012). Body Image and Female Sexual Functioning and Behavior: A Review. Journal of Sex Research, 49(2–3), 184–211.