Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Couple lying together in bed.

Couple lying together in bed.
beginning of content

Difficulty reaching female orgasm

It's not uncommon for a woman to never have experienced an orgasm during sexual activity. 30% of women do not have orgasms. This does not mean they do not have a satisfying sex life. If you have never had an orgasm, don’t worry. Reaching an orgasm through sexual activity is a skill which needs to be learned.

It’s quite natural for a woman to have experienced orgasms many times before, only to go through periods of time where orgasms are less frequent or absent.

Masturbation

If you are concerned about not reaching an orgasm, you may want to try some self stimulation. You should learn how your genitals feel and what feels good. When you know how to please yourself, you can start to share your knowledge with your partner.

Masturbation is completely normal and healthy. Society’s views on masturbation have changed a lot over the years and it is understood as being part of a healthy lifestyle – there is much less taboo and sense of shame about masturbation.

Some women like to use objects, such as sex toys, to masturbate with. Everyone is different and will find that different things stimulate the genitals in different ways. Discovering what is pleasurable for you may take time and practice, but it is an important part of getting to know your body and finding out what pleases you.

Factors that may affect orgasm

Difficulty reaching an orgasm when you’ve managed to before can be a result of several things. Common causes may include:

  • medicines (such as antidepressants)
  • worries or fears about having sex
  • lack of self confidence
  • use of recreational drugs
  • consuming too much alcohol
  • hormonal changes (such as reaching menopause)
  • vaginal dryness
  • relationship worries
  • emotional distress.

If any of these factors apply to you, then it is likely they are affecting your sexual function.

Getting advice

You should visit your doctor if you have any concerns about your sexual performance, especially if it has changed for no apparent reason.

Your doctor may ask you questions about your sex life, relationships and medical history. They may also perform some tests if they think your medicine or a health condition may be the underlying cause of your concerns.

Your doctor may also refer you to a therapist who deals with sexual issues, as well as advising you on the best steps to take to resolve the issue.

Lifestyle changes

Given the number of possible causes of female sexual dysfunction, it is difficult to offer specific care advice.

However, leading a healthy life may improve your chances of having a healthy sex life. You could try:

  • losing weight (if you are overweight)
  • reducing the amount of alcohol you drink
  • not using illegal drugs
  • taking regular exercise
  • if you smoke, try to cut down or quit
  • don’t stop any prescribed medication until you have spoken to your doctor.

Not sure what to do next?

Difficulty reaching female orgasm? Why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 98 results

Sex & HIV Positive Women

Information about sex for women who are HIV positive.

Read more on AFAO – Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations website

Women and alcohol: Gender Impact Assessment - Women's Health Victoria

Women's Health Victoria, an independent health promotion agency working through a clearinghouse to provide health information, advocacy and capacity building

Read more on Women's Health Victoria website

Sex and the ageing process - myDr.com.au

Most older people are able to enjoy an active and satisfying sex life.

Read more on myDr website

Sex During Pregnancy | myVMC

Information about pregnancy sex myths sex position during pregnancy and sex after pregnancy

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Men, sex & second trimester of pregnancy | Raising Children Network

In the second trimester, women might go through body and hormone changes that affect their desire for sex. Our Dads Guide describes how this can affect men.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Chlamydia - myDr.com.au

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It affects both men and women, and it's spread by having sex with a person who has the infection.

Read more on myDr website

Womens guide to getting the timing right

Read more on Your Fertility website

2 weeks pregnant: How to get pregnant and preconception health information | Parenthub

Week 2 of pregnancy occurs before conception and is an important time for women to prepare their bodies for a healthy pregnancy and take steps to maximise the chance they will get pregnant. There are many measures which can be used to optimise health and conception including pregnancy immunisations and supplements, diet and lifestyle changes and having sex.

Read more on Parenthub website

Sexuality and mental health

Sexuality is your sexual feelings and attractions, not just who you have sex with. Here is trusted information about sexuality and mental health issues.

Read more on mindhealthconnect website

Sexuality After Childbirth | myVMC

Sexuality After Childbirth information: Sexual changes after childbirth are common. Here is some information on when to engage in sex after childbirth, and changes in a woman's body after childbirth.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback