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Ask Alexa: I experienced sexual trauma and now have secondary anorgasmia

Dear Alexa,

I have been dealing with secondary anorgasmia due to sexual trauma. I am sometimes able to reach orgasm, but it can be as long as a 3 hour process, if it happens at all, no matter how turned on I am. This happens both with my partner (also a cis woman) and during masturbation. I have talked to her about it, and she knows that it isn't her fault, but it's frustrating for me. I feel like I know my body pretty well, and she definitely does, but I just can't let go of control to allow me body to orgasm. What can I/we do to help me with this problem?

Frustrated (she/her)


I'm really sorry to hear that you're dealing with this challenging situation. Dealing with secondary anorgasmia can be incredibly frustrating and distressing. While I'm not a medical professional, I can offer some insights and suggestions that might help you and your relationship.

Before we move forward, let's explain what secondary anorgasmia is. It's a situation where someone who used to experience orgasms now finds it difficult to reach that point. It's like a shift from what used to happen. This change can happen because of various reasons, including physical and/or emotional factors. In your case, it's connected to a past experience of sexual trauma. Knowing this is a key step in figuring out how to work through it.

Firstly, it's important to recognize that healing from sexual trauma is a complex process, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. It's amazing that you've already spoken with your partner about the situation and that she's supportive.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Professional Help: A blog entry can only do so much. Please seek guidance from a qualified therapist or counselor who specializes in trauma and sexual health. They can provide you with personalized help, coping strategies and work with you to address the root of the problem.

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques can help you connect with your body in a positive way. These can also help in reducing anxiety and tension, which could contribute to your difficulty reaching orgasm.

  • Focus on Pleasure, Not Pressure: Remember, orgasm isn't the only goal. Concentrate on enjoying the moment and feeling pleasure, without the pressure to reach orgasm. Sometimes, when we let go of that pressure, our bodies can respond more naturally. If you can't stop thinking about orgasm, it most likely won't happen.

  • Learn about how trauma works: Understanding how trauma affects the body's response to sexual experiences can be empowering. Exploring techniques that focus on creating a safe and comfortable environment during intimate moments might help you gradually regain a sense of control and trust. "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk is an amazing resource.

  • Communication: Continue open communication with your partner about your progress, setbacks, and preferences. Your partner's support and understanding can play a significant role in your journey toward healing. Together, you can explore new ways of connecting intimately that prioritize your emotional and physical well-being.

  • Keep Exploring: Exploring your own body through solo activities like masturbation can be a safe way to gradually reconnect with your own pleasure (notice how I'm saying pleasure and not orgasm). Learning to let go of control at your own pace might ultimately help you feel more comfortable during partnered experiences.

  • Patience: Healing takes time, and it's important to be patient with yourself. Remember that progress might not always be linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the process.

I hope this helps a bit. Remember, reach out to a therapist or counselor who can provide tailored techniques. Assuming they're a good therapist and you both click, they'll offer the guidance and support you need to navigate this in the best way possible.

Take care, and I wish you all the best!

Alexa x


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