Female Orgasmic Disorder
In a recent study published in this month's Journal of Sexual Medicine, female orgasmic disorder was reported by almost half of the women of the 866 responding to a standard questionnaire.
An estimated 10% to 40% of women have trouble reaching orgasm, experts say. But what factors contribute to this problem? New research suggests that arousal, distress, and latency to orgasm are important factors to consider. Arousal difficulties is the female version of male erectile dysfunction.
Researchers from Valparaiso University in Indiana, USA noted that the criteria used to diagnose orgasmic disorder in women can be unclear. Through an online survey, they sought to learn more about contributing factors.
Eight hundred sixty-six women completed the survey. They ranged in age from 18 to 60, but their average age was 23. Four hundred and sixteen women had difficulty with orgasm during partnered sex, defined as having problems at least half the time. The authors called this group the “female orgasmic disorder (FOD) symptom group.” The remaining 450 women, who had few – if any – problems reaching orgasm, served as the control group.
Among the women who had trouble with orgasm, almost half said they also had moderate to severe problems with arousal; 57% said they felt moderate to severe distress over their situation.
However, women in the FOD symptom group and the control group rated the quality of their relationships in similar ways, suggesting that women with orgasmic difficulties and related distress could still be satisfied with their overall relationship even if their sexual relationship was not as satisfying.
Older women (over age 30) tended to have fewer problems reaching orgasm than their younger counterparts. The authors suggested that this finding could be related to greater sexual experience of older women, but added that studies of women between the ages of 40 and 70 would be helpful.
In many ways this study is useless in that it does not tell us if these women's difficulty with orgasm applied to partner sex and self-pleasuring sex in equal measure. Nor does it inquire into the woman's sexual orientation. Nor does it differentiate between type of sexual stimulus. It is extraordinary to think that The Kinsey Report of almost 65 years ago told us more about Female Orgasmic Disorder than does a modern study from Valparaiso University in Indiana. Kinsey interviewed his women from behind a closed curtain and the when the report was published it sent shock waves around the world. For all of that it was useful and ground breaking stuff.