Inhibition May Hinder Women’s Orgasms

Inhibition May Hinder Women’s Orgasms

Sexual inhibition can lead to orgasm issues in women, new research suggests.

Problems with orgasms are common in women, with an estimated 10% to 40% of women reporting difficulty. Some women never reach orgasm. The causes are often both physical and psychological. Stress, anxiety, medical conditions like diabetes, and even anatomy can contribute to whether a woman climaxes or not.

Last month, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study that sheds some light on some of the psychological traits that might affect orgasm. Researchers asked a group of 1,002 women between the ages of 18 and 72 (average age 26 years) to complete a series of questionnaires to assess their personalities, levels of sexual inhibition and sexual excitation, beliefs about sex, and their sexual activities (how often they had sex and how frequently they reached orgasm.)

Sexual inhibition appeared to be the biggest factor affecting orgasms in this group of women. Inhibition was described in two ways. The first was a fear of performance failure. If a woman becomes so preoccupied with pleasing her partner, she could lose focus on her own pleasure. The second was a fear of performance consequences. Worries about pregnancy or sexually-transmitted infections might interfere with orgasm.

The authors noted that the women in this study were all heterosexual, so the study results should be interpreted carefully. It is not known how lesbians’ orgasms might be affected by such psychological traits, but future research may explore this angle further.

They added that the women were also fairly young, so more research involving other age groups could be useful.

Still, the findings can help doctors and therapists who treat women with orgasmic dysfunction. Knowing the reasons behind sexual inhibition, and working on those issues, might lead to greater sexual satisfaction for both women and their partners.

To learn more about women’s orgasms, please see the following links:

Orgasm Problems: What Can Women Do?

How Do Women Feel About Orgasms?

Communication, Sexual Self-Esteem Important for Women’s Orgasms


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Tavares, Inês M., MSc, et al.

“Sexual Inhibition is a Vulnerability Factor for Orgasm Problems in Women”

(Full-text. First published online: February 4, 2018)