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Female orgasmic disorder: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis

Andrea Bradford, PhD
Section Editor
Murray B Stein, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Richard Hermann, MD


Female orgasmic disorder is characterized by a persistent or recurrent delay in or absence of orgasm following sexual arousal and adequate sexual stimulation. To diagnose female orgasmic disorder, the symptoms must cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty [1]. Treatment for female orgasmic disorder consists principally of psychosocial interventions, though clinical trials of their efficacy are limited.

This topic discusses the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis of female orgasmic disorder. The treatment of female orgasmic disorder is discussed separately. The assessment of patients with sexual dysfunction is also discussed separately. The epidemiology, risk factors, evaluation, and an overview of treatment of women with sexual dysfunction are also discussed separately. The prevalence and management of sexual dysfunction due to serotonergic antidepressants are also discussed separately. (See "Treatment of female orgasmic disorder" and "Sexual dysfunction in women: Epidemiology, risk factors, and evaluation" and "Sexual dysfunction in women: Management" and "Sexual dysfunction caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Management", section on 'Assessment'.)


Female orgasmic disorder may be lifelong or acquired, generalized (occurring in all situations) or situational (occurring in select situations). An example of the situational type of the disorder is a woman who has orgasms through masturbation but not during partnered sexual activity

Primary female orgasmic disorder — Women with primary female orgasmic disorder have not previously experienced orgasm in any situation. Other terms used synonymously include:

“Lifelong generalized female orgasmic disorder”

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 05, 2017.
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