See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 24, Issue 5

Lust: New Insights Unlock Mysteries of Anorgasmia

For many women, orgasm remains elusive. Help may soon be at hand

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Six months after the birth of her second child, Patricia, a woman with an active and fulfilling sex life, found herself unable to achieve orgasm. “My partner and I tried everything,” she says. “And it was so frustrating because I'd almost reach climax, time and time again, and then … nothing.”

After a few months, her frustration led her to visit a local clinic for sexual disorders. “They brought in a social worker who asked me a lot of questions about abuse. They seemed worried about possible psychological causes,” she notes. After grilling her about her sexual habits, her marriage and other potential stressors, they suggested her inability to reach orgasm might be because of birth-related nerve damage. “They told me, ‘Hopefully, the nerves will regenerate, but we don't know,’” she says. “And I left thinking, ‘Wow, that was massively unhelpful.’;”

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