Adam: Yeah? What would you know, Wiley?
Maeve: Girls talk, clodpole. Aimee said you can't cum.
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 embarrassing him.
Almost without exception she will eventually experience orgasm in the end. Either by discovering a way to successfully masturbate herself or, more commonly, 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.
This trope is popular in erotic stories, but also in more mainstream scenarios. Can be both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama.
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. The fact that some men can ejaculate without experiencing an orgasm is practically inexistent in popular culture.
This is also an increasingly prevalent problem thanks to the increasing use of anti-depressants (for reasons why consult your personal socialreformician). Many anti-depressants can make it difficult or impossible to achieve orgasm or (worse?), make it possible to achieve orgasm without the associated pleasure. Whoof. People who experience this tend, for reasons obvious to many, to reach a depressive state equivalent to that they'd hoped to escape.
Compare Lousy Lovers Are Losers, where the lack of orgasm is one partner's fault.
See Wikipedia for more information on the subject and consult a sexologist if you need advice.
Also not to be confused with people desperately trying to avoid having an orgasm.
- The main plotline of Nageki no Kenkō Yūryōji, known in the US as F3: Frantic, Frustrated, and Female. Hiroe Ogawa is suffering this trope, and the story is about the various (unsuccessful) attempts to resolve this.
- 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 and blaming herself for not being an effective enough lover. Yuya has to assure her that the problem isn't with her, but with him; as it turns out, his inability to climax is because he had previously been raped by Mayumi, which in turn compounded the complex he'd already been suffering due to his cross-dressing (which Yuya took up in the first place 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). As a result of all that, Yuya admits, he can't climax normally no matter how he wishes he could. Yuya eventually confides that the only way he can climax is by being on the receiving end of anal penetration, which Mari happily provides.
- Konstantin Romanov from Nikolai Dante while maintaining his Secret Identity as the Lord Protector routinely has both male and female sex workers sent to him. When he suggests to one seductress that they take a break in the middle of sex, she notes that he hasn't orgasmed. He tells her that he never does. The act itself is mostly just to remind himself that he still lives after Nikolai left him for dead aboard the Potemkin during the war. In any case, Konstantin tends to burn his sexual partners to death once he's done with them.
- 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.
- The King of Staten Island. The main character's girlfriend talks about this issue with him, asking if he thinks it's because of the antidepressants he's on.
- 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.
- A guy picks up a girl at a party and takes her to his apartment for fun times. Once said fun times are over, both are lying back in bed when suddenly the girl starts talking.
Girl: You work in a hospital, don't you.
Guy: Yes! How'd you know?
Girl: As an anesthetist?
Guy: Right again!
Girl: And I bet you five dollars you're the single best anesthetist they ever had.
Guy: You'd win it! But how did you know?
Girl: Well, during the past ten minutes...
Girl: I didn't feel a thing.
- 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.
- House of the Dragon: Daemon Targaryen struggles to finish with Mysaria in the first episode, at least in part because he's upset that his brother will replace him with a new heir. He breaks off their sexual encounter and sullenly wraps a Security Blanket around himself as Mysaria assures him that no one can replace him.
- Scrubs features an episode in which Turk and Carla are about to have sex, 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," heavily implying that Turk was unable to perform or finished too quickly. Later, as each is talking about what went wrong to their respective friends, it's revealed that Turk was fine, but Carla couldn't have an orgasm. They work it out by talking about the anxiety she was feeling about them having become more serious and all the things that could be wrong now that they were getting closer instead of just having fun together
- 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 that she immediately jumps out of bed and runs to the doctor, afraid she had just suffered a stroke.
- In Season 2 third episode of How to Get Away with Murder, it's revealed Michaela during a Keating 5 scene about sex that she never had an orgasm during her relationship with Aiden as she become often teased by the others (especially Connor) about it throughout the season.
- 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 successfully.
- An episode of Seinfeld revolved around Elaine revealing that she had faked all of her orgasms when she was dating Jerry. She tells him that it wasn't his fault: "I just didn't have them back then." 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.
- Sex Education:
- Otis suffers this, coupled with a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality — whenever he tries masturbating, he freaks out before he gets to orgasm. This is later revealed to be due to witnessing a traumatic event when he was young.
- In the first episode, Aimee complains that her then-boyfriend Adam is unable to come no matter how they have sex. After a spontaneous bout of sex therapy with Otis, it is revealed that he can't get there because of his Parental Issues. He is eventually able to overcome 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 is, 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 one occasion Peggy performs cunnilingus on her until Peggy's jaw goes numb, without solving the problem; in addition, she appears to fake satisfaction to avoid disappointing her boyfriends. Her desperate need for an orgasm leads to increasingly jerkish behavior. She does eventually shake this problem, but then gets the impression that the orgasm meant she's in love and enters Stalker with a Crush mode.
- Sandra admits 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.
- Big Mouth:
- Nick's angst about being a late bloomer includes an inability to pleasure himself, in contrast to his extremely hormonal best friend Andrew. His inexperienced Hormone Monster Tyler doesn't help matters much. The end of Season 3 has him get Connie as a new Hormone Monster to help him successfully masturbate for the first time.
- Season 3's "How to Have an Orgasm" is, as the title suggests, about Jessi struggling to get herself off, believing she might not be capable of having an orgasm at all. She eventually succeeds thanks to a new Precocious Crush and an electric toothbrush.