Could Anti-Depressants Keep Me From Orgasming?

Sat, 06/19/2010 - 10:50
Submitted by Betty Dodson

I am a 20 year old female who has been sexually active for almost three years, and has been masturbating for as long as I can remember. But I have a problem: I've never orgasmed. At least I think I haven't. I've tried everything I can think of. I've used my fingers, toys, had lovers try to help, tried every position I can possibly think of and I few I looked up. I've looked up countless videos and advice online, and nothing seems to help. I just never get to that moment of amazing pleasure.

I enjoy sex, especially the feeling of closeness and love with a partner, but pleasure-wise I don't get much out of it.

I'm often left with a feeling of disappointment, a sort of sadness that I just can't get there. Sometimes I feel like I'm broken. Could that be possible? Could it be that I just physically can't orgasm?

Dear L,

It is very unlikely that your vulva is broken although I thought that might be true of myself at one time. Seems, the twenty-something set is really in trouble when it comes to experiencing sexual pleasure and orgasm. Chances are good that you are already having small orgasms and cannot identify them.
I'm speculating that you have over-researched and consumed way too much information and gradually built up an unrealistic ideas of what an orgasm will feel like. Many of my recent clients are in this place. Smart women in their early twenties who DESPERATELY want to come and know the ecstasy of orgasm! They can begin small and over time grow more intense. But large or small, it all feels good. There is no "there" to reach.

My last client discovered that if she went for 3 hours and had many orgasms, she was still capable of continuing with her vibrator. Women have been measuring their response to their boyfriends who can come in a 3 to 5 minutes. They are completely satisfied. Women need much more time than several minutes.

I suggest you forget about orgasm for a while and simply enjoy the good feelings you have during masturbation and sex with your partner. Empty your mind of expectations and stay inside your body. Stop looking for a BIG O. At 20 they often start off small and grow like a plant gradually grows over time.

Dr. Betty

Dear Betty,

Thanks for the advice. I will definitely try that. I think there are just so many factors piling up against me, and most of them probably come from myself. I am medicated for anxiety, and I think I want it so bad, I'm focusing on it too much. Also, when I started masturbating, I didn't know not to touch the clit with a dry hand, so part of me wonders if I caused damage. Manual used to feel good, but it doesn't do much for me anymore. My plan right now is to just try to relax, and in the mean time save up some money for a session with you. I found your website only a few days ago, but I already feel like I know you, and would feel more than comfortable in a session with you. Thank you so much for teaching the reality of what culture has warped into a shameful, negative taboo.

Dear L,

If you are taking an anti-depressant they are known to interfere with our sexual build-up that blocks orgasm. I would encourage you to stop taking them NOW!!!! It's doubtful you did any damage to your clitoris. All mucous membrane heals very quickly. Read "First Time Orgasm" and follow my simple step by step process. This is basically how I teach so maybe you can do this on your own and save money. Also we have sexual skill clips to download under Videos. One picture is often worth a thousand words. Carry on!

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Anxiety, Depression, Orgasm

Sat, 06/19/2010 - 12:26
Palesa (not verified)

Hello L,

While I completely agree that you should stop taking your anti-anxiety medication. I also know how crippling anxiety and panic attacks can be. I've been having them since age 6 and it was in my late teens that I realized there was no medication that would help me. I had to learn to manage my anxiety. Now at 28, I rarely have anxiety attacks, BUT I still do have them. They have much less impact because I have spent years understanding the nature of my anxiety. You will need to have a plan of action to be able to manage your anxiety. I say manage rather than get rid of because I don't know that this is possible and putting pressure on myself to get rid of all anxiety only made me feel like a failure and even more anxious when I had an attack. Even if I hadn't had a panic attack in months.

I am going to list things that promote my anxiety and things that reduce my anxiety. Hopefully you will find some help within these lists.

Things that promote anxiety

  • Genetic predisposition to anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Unnecessary stress
  • Not eating enough nutrient rich food
  • Not exercising
  • Not making space for myself.


  • Not being a slave to genetics.
  • Avoiding Caffeine
  • Being around supportive people and having enough time to myself.
  • Eating well and enough. Magnesium deficiency causes anxiety right away for me.
  • Taking walks, dancing, being in a non-competitive yoga class
  • Music
  • Deep Breathing
  • Helping other people
  • Being in a job or course of study that is fulfilling.

As for a natural and as far as we know safe supplement to deal with your depression, I suggest SAMe taken with a B vitamin complex.

SAMe = S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine

L, please keep in mind that you are not abnormal or broken. I have been living with anxiety and depression issues for over 20 years and I will for my entire life. It's just the way I was made. This will be hard to understand until you are ready, but there are actually a lot of benefits to this particular learning experience.

As far as orgasms are concerned, mine are very satisfying, but I always take time to calm myself before I have one and just roll with the feelings as Dr. Dodson suggests. I no longer put up with people who are not sexually appropriate for me (ie impatient, immature, narcissistic, or who add to my anxiety) and I just nod my head while COMPLETELY ignoring anyone who tells me I take too long to pleasure myself. Wink



Don't be afraid of yourself, live your individuality to the full ---
for the good of others. Don't copy others in order to buy fellowship,
or make convention your law. ~ Dag Hammarskjold (Markings, 1963)

To L: A Suggestion for Anxiety

ChrisOnline's picture
Sat, 06/19/2010 - 14:13

My son was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in the 1st grade. Highly genetic in my husband's family, as Palesa mentioned. He's in 9th grader now, and adolescence has increased his anxiety level, as it probably did for most of us! We have tried medication for him in the past, and never like it.

After a recent trip to the hospital for an anxiety attach that caused him to hyper ventilate, a therapist friend suggest we read Brain Lock, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz. It's a behavioral technique that, with practice, helps a person kick their brain out of the irrational though rut in the road, and move back on tract to more rational consideration whatever the current worry is. It does not claim to stop the troublesome thoughts, it just helps a person deal with them swiftly, so they don't become overwhelming.

So far, we are happy with his progress, med free.

I have personal benefited for Betty's expertise with female orgasm, and sexual pleasure in general. Enjoying more self love has actually been a stress reliever for me. I hope that, by continuing to take advantage of the resourcing on this site, it can be for you as well :)

I'm currently on

Sat, 06/19/2010 - 15:36
punkymonkey (not verified)

I'm currently on anti-depressants for depression that was severe enough to the point that I was contemplating suicide. I've been on the meds for 4 years and I'm in a really good place now. Only problem is that it has affected my sex drive and ability to orgasm. I can orgasm through masturbation but not with a partner, which has really frustrated my boyfriend. I cannot go off the anti-depressants because of my body's chemical imbalance, and therapy and other methods have never helped. And honestly, I was so miserable before the medication that not even the promise of mind-blowing orgasms would make me stop taking them. Do you have any advice for my situation? Thanks so much!

Antidepressants can most

Sun, 06/20/2010 - 03:21
Fellow depression/anxiety sufferer (not verified)

Antidepressants can most definitely interfere with your orgasm ability! It is absolutely possible you may not be able to orgasm AT ALL while on them! However, the news isn't all bad. There are LOTS of other common antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications on the market which don't interfere with sexual functioning (some that don't interfere with sexual function include: wellbutrin for depression, remeron for anxiety and depression, buspar for anxiety). I'm not urging you to overmedicate, but simply to bring this up with your doctor. Also, as reduced a dose your doctor can get you on is best. I'm not advocating for antidepressants, but if they are a must in your life at this point, realize that there are many options. Also, staying on as low a dose which is possible for YOU will make tapering off one day much easier.

medications that don't interfer with sexual response

Mon, 06/21/2010 - 05:43
WelshAndrew (not verified)

Just a quick post to say there are two medications for depression/anxiety that don't affect orgasmic ability:

1. Mirtazapine
2. Bupropion

Its very rare for these to interfer with orgasm. And bupropion (wellbutrin in the US, Zyban in UK) often increases sex drive and makes orgasm more pleasurable.

I think the work Betty and Carlin do is amazing but I think its a bit unwise to say "stop taking your medication now" firstly as most of these drugs can have withdrawal reactions, most SSRI's do and these are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety (the worst being paroxetine and venlafaxine as they have very short half lives). So withdrawal needs to be gradual. Secondly, even though most people want to be drug free its not always possible no matter how hard they try (with diet, supplements, therapy, meditation etc) or maybe that now just isn't the right time to withdraw etc

So chat to your doctor about coming off what you are on so you can either be/try drug free or swap to one of the above drugs. At least that way you can have plenty of orgasms while you put in place a long term stratergy to be drug free eventually. That stratergy may be therapy, supplements, tai chi, yoga etc whatever you feel suits your situation

Good luck:)

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