Everything You Need to Know


It is estimated that as many as a quarter of American women have problems experiencing orgasm, and about 10 to 15 percent have never achieved one.

While physical problems can keep a woman from experiencing orgasm, emotions can play a role, too. Some sex researchers say that anxiety and depression can prevent a woman from progressing along the sexual response cycle, says Ingber. Feelings of fear, guilt, distraction, or loss of control can also affect orgasm. Similarly to men with erectile dysfunction, women can sometimes have problems achieving or maintaining adequate blood flow, says Ingber.

RELATED: 5 Signs of Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Treatments and Therapies to Help Women Reach Orgasm

Whether the barrier to orgasm is physical, psychological, or a bit of both, there are many ways for doctors and therapists to help you get past it.

Behavioral Interventions

Directed masturbation, sex education, and behavioral therapy are some of the means a woman might want to investigate if she cannot reach climax.

Women may also want to try different sexual devices, such as a vibrator to provide increased clitoral stimulation or a dildo crafted for better stimulation of the G-spot. “Additionally, vacuum devices can be used to improve libido and arousal,” says Ingber. “This applies gentle suction to the clitoris.”

RELATED: The Best Sexual Techniques for Women’s Arousal and Pleasure

Consulting a sex therapist could be very helpful, too. Sex therapists are specially trained licensed counselors who may be psychologists, psychiatrists, or other mental health professionals. They aim to help you get to the bottom of your sexual issues. Your therapist will help you work through emotional issues that may be contributing to sexual issues, according to Drogo Montague, MD, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. They can help you see if issues in your relationship are causing you stress, he adds.

RELATED: Sex Therapy: What Men and Women Should Know

Medical Treatments

If behavioral methods are not working and a woman is interested in other interventions, solutions associated with male erectile dysfunction may help.

Ingber says that “for women having trouble with arousal, similar to men, sildenafil (Viagra) can be used.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved it for that purpose, but it’s sometimes prescribed off-label. The drug may increase blood flow to the vulva and clitoris. Beyond that, the clinical data is mixed on whether sildenafil has any effect on female sexual dysfunction.

For postmenopausal women who have little sexual desire and who have had other psychosocial and medical causes of decreased libido ruled out, an off-label use of topical testosterone may be helpful. Ingber notes that a number of studies have shown that it is safe and effective, though as a review in the Journal of Women’s Health points out, the long-term effects on cardiovascular risk and breast cancer incidence are not yet known.

The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health endorses testosterone therapy for postmenopausal women and notes that limited data also supports the use in late reproductive age premenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

For premenopausal women with HSDD, two FDA-approved therapies, flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi), may be effective, says Ingber. The former is a daily pill, and the latter is an injectable medicine for use as needed, he adds.


You may also consider acupuncture. Although the research on acupuncture for sexual dysfunction is sparse, it is a topic of interest among researchers. Sexuality is a complex intersection of biological, psychological, spiritual, and other factors. Some people believe that traditional Chinese medicine may offer a more integrated approach than Western medicine and thus better address sexual health.

Larger and higher-quality studies are still needed, but early research suggests that there may be something to this. For example, a pilot study published in August 2022 in Sexual Medicine looked at the effects of acupuncture on 24 women experiencing sexual dysfunction. The results showed that the treatment was associated with significant improvements in sexual desire and arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and pain during sex.

Although it is still unclear if and why acupuncture helps sexual health, Baljit Khamba, ND, an assistant professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University and a naturopathic doctor in San Diego, believes that the key may be acupuncture’s ability to restore qi. Qi refers to the life energy that Chinese medicine practitioners believe enhances health and libido.

RELATED: Acupuncture Helps Boost Your Sex Drive, Sex Life, and Pleasure

Additional reporting by Dennis Thompson Jr and Ashley Welch.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button