What is Female Orgasmic Disorder?

While it is not uncommon for women to occasionally fail to achieve orgasm due to situational issues such as inadequate foreplay, women with Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD) consistently cannot achieve an orgasm despite adequate sexual stimulation and arousal. Women with FOD are unable to reach orgasm with their partner or through self-stimulation (masturbation).

What causes Female Orgasmic Disorder?

There are a number of situational, psychological and physiological causes behind FOD. As with all health issues, it is necessary to work closely with your healthcare team to determine both the causes and treatment options available for treating your FOD. In an effort to foster a comfortable dialogue, we’ve listed a few common causes of FOD to start the conversation.

Situational Causes of FOD*:

  • One or both partners lack understanding of how female sex organs function 
  • Poor communication as to what kinds of sexual stimulation are preferred 
  • Inadequate foreplay
  • Relationship issues

Psychological Causes of FOD:

  • Past sexual abuse, rape, incest or sexual trauma
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of becoming pregnant
  • Fear of rejection by partner
  • Body image issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress or anxiety issues
  • Depression
  • Guilt about sex and/or sexual pleasure
  • Religious or cultural beliefs about sex and/or sexual pleasure

Physiological Causes of FOD:

  • Side effect of prescription medications or drugs
  • Nerve damage to the spinal cord or pelvic region
  • Female genital mutilation

Your course of treatment will be dependent upon the root causes of FOD. While discussion with your healthcare team is critical to determining the appropriate treatment, some common treatments of FOD include: psychological therapy to acknowledge and reduce feelings of fear, guilt and shame, education about sexual function, exercises in self-stimulation and relaxation, and couple’s therapy.

*Instances of situational FOD are partner or situation specific. Women with situational FOD may be able to achieve orgasm through self-stimulation or with a different partner.


If you believe you have an orgasmic disorder, or would like more information about orgasmic disorders and the options for treatment, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers in Grand Rapids, MI.