Anorgasmia is the inability to reach orgasm.
In popular culture the person with anorgasmia is usually female and just as often heterosexual. Either she has trouble reaching a sexual climax by masturbating, or she has never had a partner who was able to sexually satisfy her. The woman might start faking orgasms, just to please her partner or out of fear of embarassing him.
Almost without exception she will eventually experience orgasm in the end. Either by discovering a way to succesfully masturbate herself or, more common, by finding the right partner or having her current partner learn how to do it properly. When the partner eventually reaches orgasm it is usually combined with the Immodest Orgasm, as if all her year long frustrations are finally yelled out in one extravagant finale. Can also be combined with Bigger Is Better in Bed.
Anorgasmia is also Truth in Television. More women than their partners would dare to admit encounter anorgasmia in relationships at some time. Even though both partners might be tempted to blame the other, it can be attributed to other factors, such as stress, traumatic experiences, a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality, an Incompatible Orientation, certain (physical and mental) health issues, or certain medications (such as antidepressants, or even birth control pills). Also, contrary to what popular culture often preaches, it's not something that is always "solved" if you have reached it once. Even in happy and stable relationships, it's possible that occasionally a partner might be unable to have an orgasm. Only when it occurs so often that it puts a strain on the relationship can it become a problem.
Even though in Real Life men can encounter this problem too it doesn't occur that much in popular culture. When male anorgasmia does appear in stories, it's usually considered a desirable mark of exceptional stamina — even though the inability to ejaculate can be very frustrating and even painful for men.
Also not to be confused with people desperately trying to avoid having an orgasm.
- Played seriously in Futari Ecchi when Yura had a bout of not feeling anything during sex and not reaching a climax due to being completely exhausted from the summer heat.
- A male example that's played for drama in the hentai manga Secret Plot Deep. Wholesome Crossdresser Yuya gets together with classmate Mari, who has just confessed that she's in love with him...but during the ensuing sex, while she has multiple orgasms over the course of an hour, Yuya doesn't even orgasm once, which frustrates Mari to the point of crying. As it turns out, this is because Yuya had previously been raped by Mayumi (which in turn compounded the complex he'd already been suffering due to his cross-dressing, which he'd taken up because of a rather warped home situation with his parents loving his deceased twin sister more than him and mistaking him for her when he came out of the shower one day), and as a result of all that, he can't climax normally no matter how he wishes he could. Yuya eventually confides that the only way he can climax is by anal stimulation, to which Mari happily obliges.
- Red Ears: Played for Laughs in this comic strip.
- A comic strip by Jan Bucquoy features himself being unable to make a woman come. He tries doing all sorts of bizarre things, but eventually he makes her reach orgasm by playing a piece of music.
- One story in the semi-autobiographical Dutch comic strip "Barbaraal" has the female protagonist trying to reach orgasm by masturbating. She eventually succeeds doing so under the shower.
- Gotlibs Perverse Pepere zigzags the trope: When going into a sperm bank to donate, the usual porn material has no effect on him whatsoever. But a mag with stock charts... Rhaaa-Lovely! (Of course, P.P. is a mega Troll and maybe was just acting.)
- Most fanfiction in which anorgasmia plays a role will always have the female character reach it eventually.
- The male variant is a common trope in Yaoi Genre and to some extent Bara Genre and Slash Fic, occasionally used as a substitute for virginity or as a Hand Wave for why someone who's a Chick Magnet in canon/in reality is actually gay (where the man is depicted as having his first/his best orgasm with a male partner).
- The Homestuck fanfiction/blog Brainbent has Sollux struggle with this intermittently: a realistic side-effect of some of his medication.
- Liquid Sky. Near the end Johan explains to Margaret that she survived because she never experienced an orgasm.
- sex, lies, and videotape. The story starts off with Ann Bishop Mullany having never had an orgasm with her current partner.
- Shortbus. One of the central plot points. Sofia is a sex therapist who has never achieved orgasm in her life. Eventually she succeeds. The final shot of the film is a close-up of her face while she sexually climaxes.
- The second half of "Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 In. Women" has a story in which Lenora Babbitt tells Dick Langley about the events that had led up to her arrest: She had cut off the penis of her drunken husband, Juan Wayne Babbitt, because he couldn't satisfy her sexually.
- In Michael Moorcock 's "Gloriana" the titular queen is forever bemoaning the fact that she can't have orgasms, and because of the palace's peculiar acoustics the entire court can hear her. Of course, when she finally does the entire court gets to hear that as well.
- Subverted in John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire, where there is a Running Gag about "Screaming Annie", the hooker who fakes very loud orgasms. It would later come out they were in fact not fake.
- In the short story "Gilgamesh in the Outback", when people die, they end up in Hell. Now, in this story, Hell isn't really a bad place. You can eat normal food (but have a real hard time passing it) and can have sex (but no orgasm).
- Paulo Coelho's "Eleven Minutes". The protagonist (and her fellow hookers) is perfectly happy being a prostitute out of her own will, the only drawback to the job being that she's unable to achieve a proper orgasm.
- In The Girl in 6E, title character Deanna has become almost impervious to sexual stimulation because she's exhausted her body with full-time sex camming.
- In Norman Mailer's short story "The Time Of Her Time" Sergius tries to make Denise experience orgasm, because she never could do so before. Eventually he sodomizes her and calls her "a dirty little Jew", which causes her to climax after all.
- Scrubs has the episode "My Monster," in which J.D. finds out on a date with The Gift Shop Girl that his "peep was on the fritz." Another episode subverts this trope. It opens with Turk and Carla about to get it on, then the camera moves to the side... then back, to see them both laying in bed looking distraught, and Turk says, "That's never happened to me before." Later, as each is talking about what went wrong to their friends, it's revealed that Turk was fine, but Carla couldn't have an orgasm.
- In Desperate Housewives, it was revealed that wound-way-too-tight Stepford Smiler Bree had never experienced an orgasm in her entire life. When she finally does experience one, the sensation is so strange to her she immediately jumps out of bed and runs to the doctor, afraid she had just suffered a stroke.
- Nip/Tuck: McNamara & Troy once had a female patient who was unable to experience orgasms as a result of genital mutilation. They performed a pro bono surgery that restored the woman's clitoris, but it took Liz's verbal help to make the patient orgasm succesfully.
- An episode of Seinfeld revolved around Elaine revealing that she had faked all of her orgasms when she was dating Jerry. Confounding Jerry even more was the discovery that he was the only man she had ever slept with who wasn't able to make her orgasm, while she was the only woman he had ever slept with who he was unable to make orgasm. At the end of the episode, Elaine decides to give him one more shot just to help him regain his pride. He couldn't do it.
- Frank Zappa: On the album Fillmore East, June 1971 the track "Do You Like My New Car?" features a sketch where Mark plays himself, while Howie plays a groupie who is in awe of Mark's "professionalism as a rockstar." Yet she tells him that she's "unable to come" unless he sings "his big hit song to her." Being part of The Mothers Of Invention Mark of course never had a hit single, but since he used to be a member of The Turtles too he just sings "Happy Together" to her. This sketch was also based on reality, as Mark did once encounter a groupie who had this request.
- Velvet Underground. The album White Light/White Heat has the track "Here She Comes Now", which has been interpreted as being about anorgasmia.
- Amy Winehouse. In "You Know I'm No Good" from Back to Black Winehouse mentions being upstairs in her room with her boyfriend, where "he's in a place/ but I can't get joy."
- One possible interpretation of the song Orgasm by X Japan is that it is about someone experiencing both this and its titular aversion. It may also be one of the first songs about MDMA to ever be published, at the same time.
- Ménage à 3:
- Amazonian sex goddess DiDi was, for the first several years of the strip, unable to reach orgasm during sex. This is largely because men are overwhelmed with her beauty and can only last a few seconds with her, but on at least one occasion another woman performed cunnilingus on her until the woman's jaw went numb, without solving the problem; in addition, she appears to fake satisfaction to avoid disappointing her boyfriends. Her desperate need for an orgasm led to increasingly jerkish behavior. She did eventually shake this problem, but now she's gotten the impression that the orgasm meant she's in love, and she's in Stalker with a Crush mode.
- Sandra also admitted to problems reaching orgasms in an early strip, but this seems to be less of a problem for her; there are hints that she reaches climax sometimes when drunk, if only because it inspires her to have bizarrely kinky sex. The problem certainly hasn't been mentioned since she moved to her own comic.
- Stella and Claire in Collar 6 are unable to have an orgasm because of their Super Soldier conditioning.