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Can’t Orgasm

Physical Problems that Prevent Orgasms

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The physical aspect of orgasm involves many systems in your body including neurological, anatomical, muscular, hormonal, and respiratory systems. Problems with any one of these systems could result difficulty or inability to orgasm. The good news is that very few physical problems result in someone never being able to orgasm. Often the easiest solution is just a different route to orgasm. Unfortunately it is still a common belief that the primary (and best) way to orgasm is through penile-vaginal intercourse. If this is the only way you are trying to have an orgasm you may find more physical barriers to orgasm.

Your first step to discovering any physical barriers to orgasm is an appointment with your doctor or health care practitioner. They will likely ask a lot of questions about your sexual activities and interest as well as perform a physical exam. They may also want to do blood tests to check your hormone levels.

There are two ways to think about physical problems that prevent orgasm. There are the problems that directly impact your experience of orgasm and ones that indirectly effect orgasm by reducing your overall sexual activity or interest. Here are some common physical problems that can prevent you from having an orgasm.

Reduced Sensation
This is an example of a direct physical effect. If you can’t perceive enough stimulation at an intense enough level it can be difficult to orgasm. Reduced sensation may be a result of paralysis, disease, some medications, and it’s a natural consequence of aging. In some men, for example, penile sensitivity may reduce with age and more stimulation may be required to reach the same level of arousal (but this is highly variable). Whatever the cause of a change or reduction in sensation, there are workarounds that can restore or create orgasmic potential.

Medication Effects on Your Body
There are at least two ways that medication can effect your body and stop you you from having an orgasm. First, a medication might change some way your body works; for example by effecting your hormones, brain chemistry, or blood pressure. These changes may have a direct result on your ability to have an orgasm. Secondly, medication can get in the way of orgasms by making you so tired, irritable, or uncomfortable, that you aren’t interested in having sex, let alone having an orgasm. There are many ways to manage sexual side effects of medication, but the first step is talking with your doctor who is prescribing the medication to get them on board (and aware that there’s a problem).

Erection Problems
Erectile problems are common. Most men have occasional difficulty getting an erection and erections change naturally as men age. Despite the fact that most people believe you can’t have one without the other, the physical process of ejaculation and orgasm are not the same, and you don’t need an erection to have an orgasm. Still erections are the path most men take to orgasm, and as a result, for many men losing their ability to have an erection means they stop having orgasms too. If you’re having problems with erections it doesn’t have to mean problems with orgasms. You can incorporate other kinds of sex activities that don’t require an erection. If you’re having regularly difficulty getting or maintaining an erection you should talk with your doctor about it not only because they may be able to help, but because erectile dysfunction may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

Pain
For women and men there are a number of physical conditions that can cause pain during sex. Pain can get in the way of orgasm on several levels. Living with chronic pain may leave you too tired and in too much pain to feel like you can engage in sexual activity. For some people the experience of orgasm, with all its muscular contractions, increased heart rate and skin sensitivity, and moving around, can result in more pain than pleasure. For others an orgasm can trigger pain, including migraine pain or spasms. Physical pain can also get in the way of orgasm on a psychological level. When you live with a lot of pain it’s difficult to feel good about your body (and more generally, yourself). Even if the physical pain doesn’t interfere with the process of orgasm, the impact it has on how you feel about yourself and your body can prevent you from being able to experience orgasm.

Fatigue
Fatigue can be an insidious foe of orgasm. When you tire or fatigue easily you may not notice all the enjoyable things you give up, because often you’re too tired to think about them. If you are quick to tire or fatigue (whether it’s a result of illness or disability, or simply not being in good physical shape) it can get in the way of you experiencing orgasm. Fatigue can easily lead to a lack of interest in engaging in sex altogether. And even if you want to have sex, if you’re too tired to have it long enough to get aroused enough to orgasm, it can end up being unsatisfying. There are ways around the obstacle of fatigue, including scheduling sex for the time of day when you have the most energy, and changing how you have sex to include more stimulation with less exertion.

Stress
Stress isn’t just a psychological barrier to having an orgasm. If you’re experiencing a lot of psychological stress you can end up developing physical aches or pains that can get in the way of orgasm. Ironically, one of the things you can do to improve the situation is have orgasms, as often physical activity (including exercise) reduces the physical stress we hold in our bodies. But if you’re too stressed to have an orgasm, then orgasms won’t be a reasonable solution. This is one of the many times that having a regular physical exercise routine can be handy. Engaging in physical activity and exercise is a great way to get your body moving, relax, and reconnect with your body in a way that is required to experience orgasm.

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