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Orgasm Without Pleasure? Sexual Anhedonia is Rare but Real

Highlights:

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects as many as 1 in 2 men.
  • Men can experience issues during orgasm, including feeling pain during climax or an absence of pleasure, known as sexual anhedonia or pleasure dissociate orgasmic disorder (PDOD).
  • Healthcare professionals are available to help men with these concerns. Don’t wait; consult a professional today.

For many adults, one of the main goals of engaging in sexual intercourse is to achieve an orgasm or multiple orgasms. And why not? It’s generally an extremely pleasurable feeling that also facilitates closeness between sexual partners.

An online search about orgasms and how to achieve them revealed many articles focus on helping women achieve orgasms. This is not surprising, as men typically achieve orgasm faster than women during partnered sex. However, both men and women can suffer from orgasm-related concerns, including sexual anhedonia, or a lack of pleasure when engaging in sexual intercourse, including when reaching an orgasm. 

This article focuses on sexual anhedonia, specifically ejaculatory disorders in men, covering:

  • Definition of, and number of men affected by, orgasm-related sexual anhedonia
  • Causes of, and treatments for, orgasm-related sexual anhedonia
  • Getting help for orgasm-related sexual anhedonia

How Many Men Are Affected by Orgasm-related Disorders?

When thinking about orgasms, or what some people refer to as “the Big O,” you might be picturing a specific outcome, like a man climaxing during intercourse. And that’s not far off. According to renowned sex experts William Masters and Virginia Johnson, an orgasm is, quite simply, “the peak or sexual climax of excitement.” 

Excitement suggests pleasure, but not everyone who engages in sexual intercourse and achieves orgasms finds it pleasurable. Both men and women can experience this type of sexual anhedonia, or lack of pleasure associated with sexual intercourse, which is also known as pleasure dissociate orgasmic disorder (PDOD), orgasmic disorder, or ejaculatory anhedonia.

Ejaculatory disorders, which include but are not limited to ejaculatory anhedonia, are the most prevalent type of male sexual dysfunction. Research suggests that 1 in 3 men have experienced ejaculatory dysfunction, though the number is likely higher due to the stigma around issues with sexual performance. 

More recent numbers for erectile dysfunction (ED) broadly indicate that as many as 1 in 2 men experience this sexual health concern. This phenomenon typically increases as men age, though more than 1 in 4 men under age 40 have also reported experiencing erectile dysfunction

While sexual dysfunction can happen to anyone, medical professionals recommend seeking help when men experience erectile function concerns more than half of the time. 

What are the Causes of Ejaculatory Disorders?

A man is considered to have healthy ejaculatory function when he can:

  • Ejaculate at the moment he wants to (as opposed to experiencing premature ejaculation or delayed ejaculation),
  • ejaculate without pain and with pleasure, and
  • ejaculate semen (as opposed to retrograde ejaculation or absent ejaculation) 

Of the sexual health concerns men report, sexual anhedonia during orgasm is one of the least studied and, least understood. There’s no single cause of sexual anhedonia. In fact, a number of factors affect men’s sexual health and functioning, including but not limited to their diet, their lifestyle, their mood, and their genetic makeup. 

Ejaculatory issues are found in men with depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, as well as in men with hypersensitivity of the glans and nerve abnormalities like an over-representation of the pudendal nerve in the cortex

Men who experience sexual anhedonia or PDOD have healthy ejaculatory function, meaning that they have erections at the time they want, and they produce ejaculate, but they do not experience the pleasure we typically associate with achieving an orgasm. 

Men can experience pain during ejaculation, known as dysejaculation or dysorgasmia, or they can experience an absence of pleasure. For the latter, medical professionals believe the issue is actually due to a neurochemical imbalance in the brain, since the brain is not registering that a pleasurable sensation is occurring. Low dopamine levels are thought to be the culprit. 

Other factors can include excessive alcohol or drug use, prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, urinary tract issues, and other hormone imbalances. 

How Are These Conditions Treated?

Given the diverse causes of sexual anhedonia, there are a number of treatments available, including:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavioral modifications

The treatment protocol will vary depending on what factor or factors are causing a man’s erectile function issues. For men experiencing PDOD, it is recommended they speak to a doctor and undergo a personal and family health history as well as a full physical. In the event that dopamine is not the cause, doctors should also consider running screenings for testosterone levels, thyroid functioning, and pituitary hormone levels. 

Substance use issues may also cause PDOD, so men should be screened for problematic alcohol and/or drug use as well. 

Depending on the results of the evaluation, doctors may either prescribe medications like dopamine-agonists, medications to account for thyroid or pituitary functioning, and/or refer the patient to a professional, like a substance use counselor or a therapist. 

How to Get Help for PDOD or other Erectile Dysfunctions

Talking to your doctor about your sex life can be daunting in the best of circumstances but even more so when discussing sexual dysfunction. Men may feel frustrated, embarrassed, or ashamed about their PDOD and afraid to seek help for fear of judgment. For men who want to speak to a doctor who specializes in this area, a urologist may be a good fit. 

Fortunately, some erectile functioning concerns can even be addressed via online consultations from the comfort of one’s home. Men should also consider talking to their sexual partners about their concerns, as their support can be beneficial in the treatment process.

eDrugstore is Here for You

eDrugstore.com makes it easy for men to get treatment for an array of health concerns, including those related to erectile function Take advantage of our free online consultation to order medications at the click of a button or by calling 1-800-467-5146. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free. To learn more about sexual health and intimacy issues, follow our blog. 

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