The woman who can't stop orgasming

The following true story was told to me by a woman who chooses to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. If you think you have Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, you can visit this forum for help. I had my first orgasm at the age of 17. I was sitting at my desk at school when all of a sudden, I felt a warm, pulsing feeling in my genital area. My vagina flared up and I couldn't think straight. It was like someone had squeegeed my thoughts away. I was like, whoa, what's that? It felt really erotic and good, but I was also freaked out, scared, and confused. After that, it started happening a few times a day. I searched online for spontaneous orgasms, but all I found was weird porn. It kept getting worse. During my second semester of senior year, I counted orgasms on a sheet of paper. I was having 100 and 200 a day. I ran to hide in the bathroom between classes to relieve the pressure. By the time I started college, the orgasms became even more intense and disruptive, and I was having trouble concentrating. I became really depressed. I didn't know what was wrong with me, and I wasn't getting any better. I cried a lot. I hid in the bathroom. I became violently protective of my privacy. In the beginning, I told everyone I trusted about my condition. People said things like: "You're so lucky!" and "Dude, I'd love to date you." They didn't understand why I wanted it to go away, and labeled me a drama queen. The school psychiatrist thought I was crazy. After my sophomore year, I bought a bunch of vibrators and took medical leave.
One day in 2003, a friend sent me an article in the Boston Globe about a newly discovered condition called Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome*. When I read it, I started crying hysterically — it described exactly what I was going through. I immediately made an appointment at the institute the article linked to, and after hours of tests, I was diagnosed with PSAS. My engorged genitalia and hypersensitivity made me a textbook case. Every other doctor had thought I was just a delusional hypochondriac. PSAS feels like having a second heartbeat. No, it's more than that. It's alive — it has its own life force, a mind of its own. I often wonder if this is how teenage boys feel about their erections. My parents pretend my PSAS doesn't exist. It makes me feel uncomfortable and rejected. My mother is very conservative — she has trouble saying the word "orgasm" out loud, and she thinks I'm a pervert because I have toys. A couple months ago, out of the blue, she said, "You still having that orgasm problem?" That was only the second time she asked about it since 2003. I sometimes wish I could make reference to it in normal conversations without feeling like a freak, but I understand that PSAS isn't exactly dinner conversation. Every time I do something, I have to evaluate my situation. Where am I? Are there other people around? How well do I know them? What is the likelihood that, if I don't get someplace private in time, things could get complicated? Can I make noise? (Being vocal isn't necessary, but it helps release more of the pressure.) I avoid triggers — things like music with heavy bass, vibrations from riding a train or an idle car, cold air, musky cologne, darkness, stress, scary movies, romantic movies, unexpected touch, a full bladder. PSAS is completely unrelated to sex drive. Watching sex scenes does nothing for me, but the other day, when a friend put his hand on my back, I found it really hard to contain a screaming orgasm. If my heart rate shoots up too high for too long, I flare up. I avoided exercise and gained a lot of weight. One time, I was hugging a male relative and I felt an orgasm arise. It felt really dirty and wrong, and I totally freaked out. Now, I try to avoid hugs in general unless I feel ready for them. I've been with my boyfriend for about six years, but we still haven't had sex. I don't know if I'll ever be ready to do it. Because of a vulvar pain disorder I have that sometimes comes with PSAS, I know it will hurt like hell. Others who have PSAS say that sex is not satisfying at all — the orgasms associated with sex are nothing compared to the ones induced by the condition. Sometimes I wish I could have sex with him because I think he deserves to have a 'real' girlfriend, but honestly, I just enjoy being held by him and not having it feel inappropriate. He's been very patient and understanding; he's my best friend, and we talk every night. I'm 24 now, and have learned to manage PSAS pretty well. I discovered dancing — it's a great alternative to jogging because it's not as cardio-intensive. As long I take breaks between routines, folk dancing or doing salsa doesn't cause a flare up. Last week, I was at the movies and had to leave twice because I was flaring up. Each time, I ran to the bathroom and tapped my heels on the floor to hear if there was anyone else around. Then I locked myself into a stall, braced myself against the stall door, and let the orgasm run its course. I missed about 15 minutes of the film, but that's just one of the many things that result from managing PSAS and its collateral damage. My orgasms feel like a cosmic joke. I don't know why this happened to me and not someone else. If I didn't have PSAS, I'd be much more outgoing, and I probably would have finished college two years earlier. I'd have a normal sex life. I feel like I'm lugging around a shadow, a ghost that I just can't shake. It depresses me that I'm stuck with it, probably for the rest of my life, but strangely enough, I don't want to be cured instantly of PSAS. It appeared suddenly in my life, and if it disappeared just as suddenly, I would always be looking over my shoulder, and I'm not sure I would know who I was. I would rather have it slowly fade away, but if it doesn't, well, I'm doing my best to make peace with this part of my life. *The name of this condition was recently changed to Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder to remove the stigma that this is a sexual disease. PGAD will be officially recognized in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which comes out in 2012.


  1. It’s like a genie-and-three-wishes story, where the wish turns out to be a curse and no-one around you understands why it’s a curse.

  2. “PGAD will be officially recognized in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which comes out in 2012.”

    Going by what you’ve said, it doesn’t really sound like a Mental Disorder at all? I mean, it definitely manifests itself physically, where the docs were able to identify it… Is there any particular reason the disorder is being classified as such?

    1. The cause might not be caused by a mental condition, but didn’t you read all of the mental problems it causes her? Depression, anxiety, etc – it disrupts her life. It definitely qualifies for DSM.

      1. trr is sarcastically right. This is exactly why “Mood Disorder due to General Medical Condition” exists in the DSM-IV- the general “causing” factor of the person’s depression/anxiety/other mood problems is the medical condition. This is same thing as depression or anxiety due to a diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, etc.

    2. There are a lot of disorders in the DSM that aren’t purely “mental”, i.e., they may be more physiological than behavioural, but since they are neurologically triggered, would fall under the purview of psychology/psychiatry. For example, Erectile Dysfunction is in the DSM – on the surface, this is purely physiological, and in many cases, may actually be only physiological. However, because ED can cause a lot of emotional distress (as it sounds like PGAD does), it is of interest to psychologists/psychiatrists and they can do their best to treat it.

    3. Mental conditions cover a lot of ground, and plenty of them have physical manifestations. The line gets very blurred between the physical and the mental when you get close enough. Depression, for example, is often related to chemical imbalances. No reason why this can’t be included in the DSM, which also covers a lot of ground – not everything in it is a disorder.

    4. “Going by what you’ve said, it doesn’t really sound like a Mental Disorder at all? I mean, it definitely manifests itself physically”

      Brains are physical.

    5. The disorder is a nerve stimulation disorder, these are usually associated with the brain and therefore considered a mental disorder.

  3. …next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

    Well it is a long description of how it is to live with it and what triggers it.
    How about some information about what causes it. Why is it classified as a mental disorder and not a physical one for example? Managing it is the first step but are there any therapeutic approach that are developed for it?

  4. “I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six years, but we still haven’t had sex.

    Uh, not trying to be obnoxious, but if this woman has a boyfriend of six years and they havent had sex, that guy’s not her boyfriend; he’s her friend.

    Also, if he’s giving her a backrub and she has an orgasm, is that considered sex? (And if her vaginal area gives her pain, can’t he give her a backrub and she relieves his pressure in a non-vaginal way?)

    She doesn’t really explain why she cannot have and give sexual gratification non-vaginally.

    1. By “sex”, she probably means that she can’t have vaginal intercourse, which would be painful because of her condition.

      And by the way:

      Being someone’s boyfriend/girlfriends is about shared intimacy, not a particular sex act. If they hold hands, sleep in the same bed, take vacations together, see each other naked, then they’re in a relationship.

      And from the sound of it, a very loving and supportive one, on both sides.

    2. Yah, where’s your compassion dude? Everyone likes an orgasm as much as the next person, or so it seemed. Looks like it’s not so much the case anymore.

    3. Not all guys are assholes like you. If someone is dating someone else mainly for the sex, then that’s not a real relationship. Good relationships are based on meeting your partner’s emotional needs more than just physical needs. There are plenty of people who are in relationships and don’t have sex.

  5. Yeesh, that really sounds like hell. Reminds me of the Reddit thread with a guy who lost his penis to priaprism (blood clot led to gangrene).

  6. I may be way off here, but I thought orgasms were controlled not by the brain, but by nerves in the lower spine. This doesn’t make it easy to fix, but if they can pinpoint which nerves control the orgasms, they may have more treatment options available. It seems like I should be wrong about that, or the doctors would have thought of it already.

    Whatever the case may be, I hope the condition really isn’t lifelong. Nobody should have to go through that.

    1. You are right about the nerves but nerves link to the brain and if they were to do that, they would risk totally and completely destroying her ability to orgasm at all. Then her and her boyfriend would be unsatisfied. I see your logic and wish there was more for them to do about it.

  7. That’s so coincidental – every girl I’ve ever dated has suffered from this.

    (I couldn’t stop myself)

  8. In case anyone doesn’t believe this. I have first hand knowledge of a lady that has had this condition all of her life. She recently has gone through “the change” at fifty one and says that the condition gradually faded away. So it does have physical implications in addition to what they are now calling a mental condition.

    It most likely will be years before this condition is fully understood and treatment can be effective.

    Papa Ray

  9. MarkM, are you serious? Dating doesn’t have to be sexual for it to be dating. What about all of the people who wait until they are married to have sex? Are their fiancés really just friends?

    I was with my boyfriend for three years before we had sex, because I didn’t feel like I was ready. In that time, we developed a really strong emotional relationship, and there is no way that it was merely friendship.

  10. I do not want to be lewd or anything like that, but there is the posibility of anal sex.
    I know its not all females who love it, but if she could come to love it, she could have sex via penetration.

    I feel sad for the girl and wish her the best.

    1. Chiropractic therapy may actually work. I’ve heard of a surgeon implanting a nerve stimulator device into a woman’s lower back and inducing orgasms when a small electrical impulse was applied. I think they patented the procedure and call it the “Orgasmatron”.

  11. I am truly sorry for the woman in this story. I can only hope that medical science may one day be able to solve this problem.

  12. In one of his many books, Oliver Sacks documented a case that sounds very similar to what the woman describes.

    He diagnosed and treated it as epilepsy.

    He stumbled across epilepsy manifesting as an orgasm because he was trying to understand what it was his epileptic patients experienced. He had collected a number of different descriptions that indicated the epilepsy was originating in different locations of the brain in different patients. The woman who experienced orgasms was very hesitant to describe them as what they were until Sacks kept after her to clarify his understanding of what was going on.

  13. Wow, that just sounds awful. I have some experience with messed up hormones, so I can empathize. For a few days to a week before my period, my hormones make me super horny 24/7 which can be physically and mentally distracting. It’s caused most of my regrettable sexual choices and can be infuriating unsatisfactory in terms of sexual fulfillment as the moment I orgasm, I’m still antsy.

    I can only imagine experiencing that all the time. I would never get anything done. I can understand how she feels trapped. I hope she is able to find some relief or help, if not through medicine, then through some other outlet.

    1. I have this problem too. Have you talked to a doctor about it? If so what did they tell you? Is it something birth control can help?

      1. I have talked to my OBGYN about it but ultimately, there isn’t a whole lot she can do about it due to my interlinked medical problems and medications. I’m on progesterone-only birth control which helps by cutting down the number of periods I have a year (as I have very heavy, extremely painful ones). In some ways, it makes it more difficult to monitor my cycles as they are not regular so I can’t pinpoint which days I should be extra careful or aware of my hormones on my feelings.

        I did notice it much less when I was on Effexor XR for my depression. My sex drive pretty much disappeared completely. When I added Wellbutrin XR to my Effexor, I regained it and the crazy hormonal sex fiend came back again every month. It was the only annoying side effect of the Wellbutrin for me and the pluses where sooo very many that I just decided to live with it until I went back on the mini-pill.

        Many of the common anti-depressants are known to sometimes decrease the sex drive and might be an option for you to consider.

  14. I wanted to chime in before all the good jokes, puns, and gags were taken, but in all seriousness I find myself more intrigued by IAmInnocent’s comment – why the mental disorder classification?

  15. Not to detract from the seriousness of this woman’s condition… but I have to admit I LOL’d @ “My vagina flared up and I couldn’t think straight.”

  16. If this had been a male condition, it would have been diagnosed and listed in medical books like, 100 years ago.

    Science still doesn’t get female arousal/orgasm. Sometimes I think it doesn’t want to.

    1. If a man has an erection that lasts longer than a few hours, it is considered a medical condition that needs to be addressed, immediately to prevent permanent injury. I know this because of a medication I take warns against it. Also, viagra. So, yeah- no surprise you are correct.

  17. @MarkM – I am gonna have to agree with Mark here. 6 year boyfriend with no sex != boyfriend. Based on her description, there is no end in sight for the lack of sex either.

    It sounds like her condition has put her off from sex completely and she just doesn’t want to have it ever (understandably). Until she gets it fixed (if that is even possible) she will probably never have a normal, healthy relationship.

    @Cheqyr – you are absolutely right with respect to “shared intimacy” but without any SEXUAL intimacy, she really could be having the exact same relationship with her close gay friend.

    1. Who are you, or MarkM, to define for someone else what their relationship is or is not? If she regards him as her boyfriend and if he regards he as his girlfriend then that, quite simply, is what they are.

      I hate to state the obvious but the absence of sexual intercourse does not preclude sexual intimacy.

      We’re talking about two adults here who I’m certain are more than capable of deciding for themselves what kind of relationship they are in without your judgemental and narrow-minded ‘help’.

    2. sleze and markm, sounds like you need to expand your definition of “normal, healthy realtionship” beyond eighth grade and get your jimmy unconfused with the meaning of “relationship”.

      (cue the rest of the stoopid sexist comments….)

  18. That is just awful. My heart goes out to her. At least she has a caring partner that supports her and makes her feel safe.

  19. There has got to be a drug that (inadvertently) controls this problem. It seems a lot of drugs have uses not originally intended: propecia was designed for prostate problems but has the side effect of hair growth, and clomipramine is an anti-depressant that has the side effect of causing orgasms when you yawn, so I suspect there must be a chemical way to alleviate these symptoms. Any pharmacists out there who know of a drug for say, heart conditions, that also lowers sex drive? I’m no doctor, but it seems like the condition may be related to blood pressure.

    1. A number of anti-depression drugs are known for having varying effects on the libido. I would guess that doctors would be looking into some of these for this problem.

    2. A lot of antidepressants have the side effect of anorgasmia – inability or difficulty in orgasming, and although it’s stated to be only a ‘possible side effect’ antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to men who suffer from premature ejaculation so it’s possible that they could be useful in treating this woman’s disorder.

  20. MarkM and Sleze, is there some reason the two of you feel such a pressing need to pass judgment on this woman’s relationship?

    1. Some men have a problem with a women who doesn’t need a man– particularly a woman who doesn’t need a man for sexual gratification. Somehow they’ve twisted this poor woman’s medical condition as a slight against penises in general.

  21. For a few days to a week before my period, my hormones make me super horny 24/7

    My ex-girlfriend had this exact same condition and at the time a happy benefactor of such.

    It’s caused most of my regrettable sexual choices

    And for me there in lies the other side of the coin.

  22. I recall reading about a device that can electronically stimulate nerve endings around the base of the spine to induce orgasm in women.

    Surely could be adapted to reverse the process?

  23. Re: Not a real boyfriend.

    What the hell? So anytime sex isn’t involved it isn’t a real relationship? If someone is paralyzed from the waist down they aren’t allowed to ever have a boy/girlfriend?

    Relationships are about being emotionally close and open with someone, not about sex. Sex is just the way that we share that closeness in the most intimate way possible. It’s a result of a relationship, not the definition of one.

    It’s people like you that give all men a bad rap when it comes to sex.

  24. I’m kind of amazed that anyone would try to joke about this. Did y’all actually read the post, or just see the word “orgasm” and immediately start typing?

  25. I would hope someone in the medical profession has already thought of this, but many SSRI antidepressants have the side effect of reduced sexual arousal and/or difficulty with orgasm. Based on this woman’s account of accompanying depression, perhaps this kind of treatment would be a fruitful avenue to explore.

    As for all of the bashing of ‘stoopid men,’ there are many women who find sexless relationships to be unfulfilling as well.

    1. I would hope someone in the medical profession has already thought of this, but many SSRI antidepressants have the side effect of reduced sexual arousal and/or difficulty with orgasm. Based on this woman’s account of accompanying depression, perhaps this kind of treatment would be a fruitful avenue to explore.

      Quite often, SSRIs cause difficulty/inability to achieve orgasm in women. Arousal is still possible, but orgasm is difficult or impossible. That sounds like exactly the kind of thing this woman would want to avoid.

      I also wonder why this is classified as a psychological disorder. It seems like it would be more likely to be either a nervous system or endocrine system disorder.

  26. A friend developed something like this recently. She said she felt as if she were constantly on the edge of orgasming, and it soon became almost unbearably painful. She was only able to get relief when she stopped using a particular brand of arrtificial sweetener, which seemed to be irritating her bladder.

  27. Why is it when the subject of human sexuality comes up people have this overwhelming urge to dumb-down the topic? Eventually nothing remains serious and mature in tone. Discussion becomes ‘dick-suction’. It’s disappointing, honestly. Really, really disappointing.

  28. So I guess women whose husbands survive testicular cancer aren’t married anymore since there’s no coital sex.

    Geez you guys are retarded.

    1. Point of correction here: I’ve survived testicular cancer and I have regular coital sex. Losing a testicle doesn’t prevent you from having a normal sex life.

  29. I could not agree more that this sounds like a debilitating, awful condition. Anonymous person, glad you could at least find a diagnosis and are finding ways to manage the condition. The main point of the story, it seems to me, is to spread awareness, both for sensitivity’s sake and so others can get diagnosed and treated.

    A quick review demonstrates that there are a number of treatments of varying efficacy. It would add completeness to the story to either discuss these treatments, whether you had tried or considered them.

    1. “The main point of the story, it seems to me, is to spread awareness, both for sensitivity’s sake and so others can get diagnosed and treated.”

      Yes. Exactly. We should help create a social climate in which a woman who suffers from this disorder does not feel stigmatized and can feel free to discuss her condition with those who can support her.

      Engaging in a debate about this person’s private life cannot be expected to benefit anyone. I have to think how I would feel, reading other people speculating about my sexuality. I’d be mortified.

      As for the jokes, remember, every single one of us has a major tragedy in store (even if it is nothing more than the loss of a loved one, or our own death), including you jokers. Will we want someone making fun of us then?

      She’s our sister, after all.

  30. From the main story:

    PSAS feels like having a second heartbeat. No, it’s more than that. It’s alive — it has its own life force, a mind of its own. I often wonder if this is how teenage boys feel about their erections.

    I started having “surprise!” erections either during the fourth or fifth grade but I’ve never felt that my penis or the resulting erections were separate entitles. From a very early age I was somewhat sexually aware. When I started to have my erections all it took was a thought of a girl or just a glance at one and within a fraction of a second the hormone/brain conspiracy would produce results.

    From Anne K.:
    For a few days to a week before my period, my hormones make me super horny 24/7 which can be physically and mentally distracting.

    You’re luck in a sense, being that it is only a few days to a week out of a month and even if they are “regrettable”, you were able to obtain some relief. I’m sure that if it were not for the constant physically and mentally distraction I could have done a lot better in school and achieve great things.

    1. ‘I started having “surprise!” erections either during the fourth or fifth grade but I’ve never felt that my penis or the resulting erections were separate entitles. From a very early age I was somewhat sexually aware. When I started to have my erections all it took was a thought of a girl or just a glance at one and within a fraction of a second the hormone/brain conspiracy would produce results.’

      In all honesty, when I read the account in the story, I was reminded of my junior-high years. We men are told we just have to stop thinking with our penises. Um…yeah…when your arousal can be set off by your jeans brushing you in the slightest way, “don’t be a boy” really helps.

      I’m not saying this to marginalize what this woman is going through, because it sounds far, far worse than what a pubescent teen would ever go through…what I’m saying is just the opposite, which is that because I was an overactive pubescent teenage boy, and because this sounds far worse than that, I feel terrible for this woman. I can’t even imagine going through mind-numbing orgasms all the time. Having said that, let’s face it, if a man was that horny, the rabble would want him locked up for being a pervert.

  31. Having had a similar experience myself following an operation I have every sympathy with the lady. For some men the idea of a permanent erection may seem a blessing but, let me tell you, it hurts, it is socially ‘difficult’ (you try explaining why you are constantly carrying a clipboard around with you, and all of the fnaar fnaar jokes come out. After a while it becomes a tiresome nuisance that interferes with your ‘normal’ day.

  32. There’s only one thing I don’t understand here (aside fr. the cause and cure of her condition):
    “I ran to the bathroom and tapped my heels on the floor to hear if there was anyone else around.”
    Huh? Does she have echo-location hearing? Is this a type of women’s bathroom etiquette – tap and response?

  33. I work as a firefighter and paramedic. I have heard of this happening before. Was told that an ER solution to this problem is a squirt of lidocaine to the appropriate site.

    Apparently, its effect is instantaneous and long-lasting. Hope this helps. Perhaps you could ask your physician.

  34. On the subject of her relationship, a few things are simply obvious. Either a) she is, by now, a master of the oral arts; or b) the guy has his own serious sexual issues. Sorry to detractors, but relationships with zero sex do not begin and then last for 6 years. It doesn’t happen. I suppose there could be option c) the guy is a merciful saint, but I find that terribly unlikely.

    On the testicular cancer comparison, there is a significant difference between starting a relationship with someone who says, “We will never have sex” and being in a long, loving, sexually healthy relationship where sex is tragically taken out of the picture.

    1. Hi, I’m a man, I have sex with my girlfriend, and yet I think that what you say does show immaturity and serious limitations.

    2. It sure hasn’t been long between “wait until marriage” and “if you’re not having sex, it’s not a real relationship”. Jesus.

      Indeed, I’d say those who say the latter are either really, really young or psychologically affected in some way.

      1. Perhaps those who insist it’s “not a relationship unless there’s sex” feel the need to reinforce this to maintain denial of their own personal regrets.

    3. lasttide: “It doesn’t happen. I suppose there could be option c) the guy is a merciful saint, but I find that terribly unlikely.”

      You said it doesn’t happen, and then just admitted it’s possible. Why do you find it so unlikely? — Your infallible worldview?

  35. One thing missing from the article — is there no medication regimen that might offer some improvement? It seems to me that if some of the antidepressants can also relieve things like OCD and social anxiety, there might be something that would relieve this, without too much in the way of side effects. Even if not a permanent solution, perhaps a temporary one would be useful.

  36. “On the testicular cancer comparison, there is a significant difference between starting a relationship with someone who says, “We will never have sex” and being in a long, loving, sexually healthy relationship where sex is tragically taken out of the picture.”

    Only in your mind. You’re speaking from your own ignorance. Yes, there are women who would enter a relationship with a person who can’t have sex just like there are men. There are even *gasp* asexuals among us.

    Your argument from ignorance is duly noted though.

  37. Patiod, Your friend might actually have Interstitial Cystitis, which is a chronic condition of the bladder. Certain foods (like artificial sweeteners) cause minor to major bladder irritation (which the resulting symptoms felt in the urinary tract, vulva, etc).

    I wonder if a change in diet might be of a help to the young women in the past too?

  38. lol at echolocation comment above.

    It’s ridiculous to call people sexist for defining a romantic relationship as necessarily including a sexual component. If anything in this comments thread is sexist, it’s the implication that women in general are somehow nonsexual and just put up with it to please men. I assume that even though they can’t have vaginal intercourse, this woman and her boyfriend are doing other things, but if they are completely nonsexual, then I’d have to agree that they’re not in any kind of romantic relationship.

    Anyway, I have the utmost sympathy for this woman. A friend of mine actually has the same problem, although I don’t think it’s nearly as bad in her case. I wonder how common this actually is.

    1. No. I will explain to you what is sexist. You are passing judgement about this woman’s right to call the person she has been in a committed relationship with for six years her boyfriend. If he has not been having vaginal intercourse with anyone else and calls himself her boyfriend then what is he?

      This is just a thinly veiled attempt to say something nasty about this girl and the fact that it is tolerated is sexism. I have a serious hunch that if it were a guy the girl would just be thought of as a “martyr”. Different people set the parameters of intimacy at different places and it’s up to them to call themselves what they want.

      She knows much better than you do what kind of relationship she is in, and the “corrections” of her are indeed sexism.

      1. I’m not saying or thinking anything “nasty” about this woman, and my comment had nothing to do with sexism or moral judgment – it’s a question of semantics. If you have a completely nonsexual relationship with someone, it’s not a romantic relationship in any normal sense of the term.

        People are free to call themselves whatever they want, but when they submit something for public viewing, people are naturally going to question uses of language that are inconsistent with their understanding.

        Knee jerk accusations of sexism just make you look foolish.

  39. Crispinus211: “Lots of comments from stoopid men here.”

    No kidding! I am a little surprised. BB is a home of happy mutants, so I am kind of shocked to see so many “It’s only a real relationship if there’s VAGINAL INTERCOURSE!” goofuses, not to mention the jokes and the puns and the LOLing being entirely inappropriate. I mean, if this was Something Awful or 4Chan or something, no, I wouldn’t expect sympathy, but this woman is clearly suffering a lot from this condition, mostly specifically because of comments exactly like these.

    I mean, wow, dudes. I thought Boingers were a little more clued in to things like basic human sympathy for suffering. Next time Xeni posts something from her globe-hopping travels, I’m expecting a lot of “LULZ POOR PPL!” comments. Don’t disappoint! Wait, no…do, please, disappoint.

  40. [i]PGAD will be officially recognized in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which comes out in 2012.[/i]

    As a (almost) clinical psychologist, I’m inclined to disagree with this statement about the DSM-V:

    1. I doubt it will come out in 2012. It’s nice to “say” that, but with all the infighting regarding the DSM-V, I find it dubious that it will come out in 2012. Maybe. We’ll see
    2. The process for the DSM-V is such a mess, it seems a little premature to say that PGAD will be in the DSM-V. First off, it does sound like primarily physical condition, not specifically related to mental health (yes, every mental health disorder is a physical disorder at the neuron level, let’s not get into semantics), so it’s possibly unlikely it will be the DSM-V as a mental health disorder. That being said, there is clearly psychological problems associated with the disorder (she clearly mentions depression and other stuff) but it seems to be similar to psychological problems related to a medical disorder (formally known as Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition; e.g. diabetes, cancer, etc.) so the clinical utility as a Axis 1 “diagnosis” is questionable. More likely it would probably appear on Axis 3 as a “General Medical Condition” of clinical interest, which isn’t really a psychological diagnosis per se.
    3. Following on the heels of the last one, I wonder who told her that PGAD would appear in the DSM-V? Frankly there are lots of researchers who think “their disorder” should appear in the DSM-V; somehow I think that many will be disappointed. The DSM-IV-TR is already just shy of 1000 pages and confusing enough as is; there is a hope that the DSM-V will be less confusing and shorter, but we’ll see.
    4. While it’s true that the psychological community still has a lot to learn about the female orgasm, they have come a long way since Freud. There is a strong community of feminist psychologists who are (as far as I know) heavily involved in the DSM-V committee looking at sexual disorders with a much more enlightened view of female sexual disorders.

    All this being said, overall a very interesting article to read.

    Follow-up: Out of curiousity, I did a Psycinfo search as PGAD. There was little empirical research on the subject (little comparitively to, say, depression) and most of it coming from Sandra Leiblum and her lab. This being the case, it doesn’t seem like the literature is “ready” to support PGAD in the DSM-V. It’s probably too soon, maybe in DSM-VI. Then again, that’s based on my short examination of the research in that area.

    1. Did you do any research using the alternate term PSAS? Just curious since only searching under PGAD might be too limiting. I’m interested in the results.

  41. The woman has had the core of a sexual relationship utterly distorted. Where the vast majority of people are very protective of letting anyone see them orgasm, this woman is living this terrible nightmare where her ability to protect that part of herself is denied.

    Like many people who have been raped, abused, or traumatized sexually in other ways, her path to a relationship is not the path that many of the rest of us will take. People here who feel obliged to declare on the validity of her relationship display the repellent arrogance of those who mistake their good fortune for merit, and others’ misfortune for moral failure: a fundamental lack of empathy that characterizes brutality.

  42. Plenty of couples call themselves boyfriend/girlfriend without having sex. Why is that considered unusual to some people here? I know a few Christian friends that would laugh at you for holding the opinion that you aren’t in a relationship unless there’s sex.

  43. I was going to post a comment, but it’s serious so I’ll just keep it to myself. I can see that serious is not appreciated here.

  44. To me it’s fairly obvious that romantic love can exist within a sexless relationship, but I’m not sure the doubters should be accused of being sexist. Anyone seen the movie Carrington? Painter Dora Carrington and author Lytton Strachey loved each other intimately, but he was gay. Does that preclude him from being her boyfriend? And in the end, do the semantics even matter?

  45. Lauchlin: “If you have a completely nonsexual relationship with someone, it’s not a romantic relationship in any normal sense of the term.”

    There’s a normal sense of the term?

    Yeah, it’s not sexism (at least not overtly), but your definition of what a romantic relationship can be is pointlessly narrow and specific, and, what’s more, it doesn’t conform to reality. You’re being, at best, exceptionally egocentric. So, you know, stop.

  46. look, im not passing judgement. Just that her use of the word “patient” and “boyfriend” reveal some logical inconsistencies that she herself is evidently unaware of. I’m sympathetic, but I promise you, that guy is getting sex from somewhere. and @daedalus, by no means, is vaginal intercourse the sine qua non, but some sexual contact of some kind is what one expects, eventually, in a relationship, and here there is apparently … none. so either her boyfriend is asexual, or he’s getting some on the side, or he’s gay and has her as his best friend. which is fine. ok? it’s just that those 3 alternatives seem not to have occurred to her.

    1. He could also be of a religion that doesn’t have pre-marital sex. None of those things you listed, not one of them, means that he can’t be considered her “boyfriend” except by your own narrow definition of the word. I have a parent who entered into a second relationship with a man who can’t have sex. They are together though. There are people who abstain for many years because of their religious convictions.

      The fact that you can’t comprehend such a relationship is your own ignorance of the differences in other people’s life, nothing more. You’re being self-important. It’s almost like you’re assuming that *you* are being asked to enter such a relationship.

    2. MarkM wrote, I promise you, that guy is getting sex from somewhere.

      You’re talking out your ass. I promise you, you don’t have a handle on how all guys would behave in situations like this.

    3. So men need sex, Is that what your getting at? That it’s literally impossible for a guy to live without getting it from some source? While this guy might be getting sexual gratification in some way other then vaginal intercourse, I don’t see a reason why his not having sex with her for six years (Or not having any other form of sex for that long) is an impossibility. There are a lot of people who don’t have sex for that long or longer. So why is it impossible for him to love her, but not have sex with her, or anyone else for that matter?

      Having the will power to hold back for the person you love has to come from the same incredibly powerful feelings that bring two individuals together to make love in the first place. Hell it would have to be even stronger since sex is a natural inclination, where as holding back isn’t. Love and sex work well together, but they can live without each other.

  47. Extremely rigorous diet testing, rolfing, and as a last resort chiropractry (last choice because it’s not a cure, it’s an ongoing treatment) are in order here.

    Suffering with this because physicians don’t know what to do about it is insane. Take the syndrome into your own hands, find out how to change your body chemistry or muscular/skeletal orientation so that you can *control* it.

  48. MarkM: “Just that her use of the word “patient” and “boyfriend” reveal some logical inconsistencies that she herself is evidently unaware of.”

    There’s no logical inconsistency here.

    Not that those other options aren’t possibilities too, and not that she probably doesn’t freak out about those possibilities on a daily or weekly basis out of a lifetime of guilt and fear, and not that those possibilities have never stood in the way of her having a healthy relationship before, but just that they should not be assumed when the only evidence we have points to this just being a non-penetration kind of relationship. Why can’t it be just what she says it is?

    1. That’s what bothers me about it. This poor woman probably already feels like no one could love her and here comes some jackass commenter to say “your boyfriend’s not really your boyfriend” without knowing anything more than the fact that she can’t have vaginal intercourse and has to have limited contact. All he’s really saying is “I wouldn’t do it” but the thing is it’s not about him. Not all people are the same, and even if the guy in question does have some problem himself he would still be her boyfriend.

      By his reckoning you are in more of a relationship with a prostitute you visit once than with some one you live with for five years caring for and loving every day.

      It’s just so stupid it’s hard to tolerate.

  49. pretty much any type of relationship you can imagine, someone is out there having it. and if it’s mutually rewarding, and consensual, and yes – intercourseless relationships can be that – it’s no one else’s business. to imply otherwise credits only lack of imagination and falling for caricatures of male sexuality.

  50. this sounds really difficult, and it is my guess that it is related to the nervous system. Ayurvedic medicine does wonders for pacifying the nervouse system, and might really help.

    I would be really interested to know if certain foods make it worse or better. coffee? chocolate? warm milk? I’m not saying that diet would relieve the situation entirely, but it might help a little.

  51. There is no reason to make this into an argument in which people attempt to tear eachother down. If you do not agree with someone then simply state your case and if its strong enough others will consider it. By insulting those who disagree you make it impossible to convince them they are incorrect. Instead of using insults and bickering, try to debate in an enlightened manner.

    I feel that it doesn’t matter what anyone here thinks about relationships and intercourse, we are not involved. I can not define these things for other people. Just as it would be improper for me to define things like ‘family’ or ‘community’ for those I’ve never met, it would be improper for me to define their romantic relationships.

  52. Well, no one has touched on the subject that research involving this woman could end up being a boon for the surprising amount of women who can’t have orgasms at all! If it’s a hormonal irregularity or a part of the brain stimulated that normally isn’t, then maybe scientists can finally get an insight into the female orgasm and apply this (on a smaller scale of course) to non-orgasmic women.

    And on a lesser note, those of you who are getting upset at jokes made about someone’s embarrassing medical condition: get over it! Medical conditions are usually funny to people, and this one is no exception. If we can all learn to laugh together then that would be better than everyone staring stoically at one another.

    If she’s in a room with friends and she suddenly has a screaming orgasm, what do they do? Do they all frown at each other, ask if she’s alright, then awkwardly continue? No, probably someone makes a joke to lighten the pressure, and then continues. A good joke is good medicine.

  53. Sometimes I have to stop reading the comments section because the ignorant posts just remind me too much of the sad state at the bottom and the length of the climb out.

    I saw a movie the other night about some harsh and inhuman realities that the college age crowd seemed to think was a slapstick comedy until they realized they were in over their heads about about 3/4s of the way through. (Just knocking that audience, not college kids in general.)

    Thank goodness this woman and her boyfriend do have love. A loving relationship makes life so much more endurable for everyone involved.

  54. Why must the aggressive gender-issues-warriors declare “sexism” at any analysis of an issue that isn’t in line 100% with their own?

    Nothing in this write up mentioned the particulars of her sex life with her boyfriend. We can’t assume there isn’t a sexual dimension of some kind to it. For their sakes I hope there is. Does that make me a sexist? Apparently.

    Shame on all of you who looked past human suffering to see a soapbox to pick fights with the gallery from.

  55. Whatever her boyfriend’s sexual orientation, practices, or abilities, he deserves total privacy, anonymity, and freedom from speculation.

    This isn’t about him, and none of the aspects of his life and sexuality are our business.

  56. A lot of this cynicism stems from the misconception, widely believed by both genders, that a near constant desire to get laid is one of the defining characteristics of being male. Maybe that’s true for you and indeed maybe it’s true for most men but, I assure you, it’s not true for all men. Religion does not have to be a factor. There’s much, much more to life than getting off and if you can’t see that then you have my pity.

  57. Ok, serious question and more to the topic: Perhaps someone here can help me understand why she would need “a bunch of vibrators / toys”. If she is constantly orgasming, why the need for more stimulus? Is it that she feels the need to “finish” so she can get back to her day? Is it because it helps to numb things down so she can function? Most of the women I have dated don’t use them and tell me they understand it makes it so you pretty much have to use one to orgasm after you get used to it, so does this sound like what she is trying to accomplish?

    1. “Most of the women I have dated don’t use them and tell me they understand it makes it so you pretty much have to use one to orgasm after you get used to it, so does this sound like what she is trying to accomplish?”

      Well I feel bad for the cluelessness of the women you date. Vibrators do not reduce one’s ability to get orgasms otherwise. In fact, most women who use toys are a lot more in tune with their sexual arousal and release, and can have better, longer, various orgasms.

      It seems that the orgasms themselves are less the issue for this woman, but the actual arousal (she calls them “flare ups”) that triggers them. Finishing the orgasm with some assistance relieves her best.

  58. Her account doesn’t detail the intricacies of her romantic relationship, just that they’ve been together for six years and have not had vaginal intercourse. The article is about living with her condition, not a play-by-play of her sexual experience. You’re grasping at straws to fill in the blanks of a small portion of the story.

  59. This is the most retarded boing boing thread I think I’ve stumbled upon… and I do mean “retarded”. One of the rarest human skills, unfortunately, is knowing how to listen.

  60. Responding to the “why a mental disorder” questions, the orgasm happens in the brain, not the sex organs–so all kinds of disorders of sexual function are appropriate for the DSM. I am pretty sure that whatever you call the INability to have an orgasm, that it is probably listed in the DSM. The epilepsy connection is intriguing.

    This woman has all my sympathy and I am grateful that she was willing to write (and write well) about a very embarrassing condition.

  61. I am a life-long sufferer of PGAD, and it makes me happy to see awareness being raised. It’s a terrible thing to suffer through, especially since there’s so little research in the medical community right now. I can’t tell you how many people (doctors included) just don’t understand this disorders and it makes things all the more frustrating for the sufferer. I have had numerous doctors label me as “hypersexual”, no matter how many times I tried to explain I wasn’t. In particular, PGAD has nothing to do with mental arousal, but some people don’t seem to grasp that. It’s more like restless leg syndrome than it is hypersexuality.

    I was lucky enough, through my early years, to be diagnosed with OCD and put on Paxil. This held the PGAD at bay until I was about seventeen, when a change in birth control brought it back. After months of trying to readjust my medication, my primary care physician and I finally found the right combination. It was dormant until about January of this year, when it came back worse than ever. I tried everything. I went to neurologists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, OB/GYNs… many labeled me as “hypersexual”, told me to go to a sexaholic’s anonymous meeting, and sent me on my way. Others thought I had a pituitary tumor and I was put through many painful tests (you can imagine how hard it is to stay still through a MRI with a disease like PGAD). I was unable to sleep for days. I would be forced to stay up until I collapsed and passed out from utter exhaustion. Toys offered no relief- the sensations would just come back afterwards. Numbing creams didn’t work either. I came close to actually taking my own life several times, just to get some relief, and at times it was only the loving and watchful eye of my boyfriend that kept me from doing so. I even checked myself into a psychiatric hospital, only to be treated with derision by the psychiatrist I was assigned. He accused me of being a hypochondriac and put me on several unnecessary medicines, many of which made the symptoms worse. Needless to say, I got discharged as soon as possible.

    It took months to find the right combination of medicines, and even now it is a constant fight to keep it at bay. There are days where the medicine does nothing, and days where I can live my life normally. My boyfriend and I share a healthy relationship. There is a distinct difference between the arousal caused by PGAD and actual mental arousal. While many times I cannot have intercourse, we muddle through somehow. I’m kind of surprised at the insensitivity of the comments here. It seems to imply that anyone with some sort of sexual dysfunction cannot have a healthy relationship. So the single man who was a victim of testicular cancer can’t meet the love of his life? The woman who was raped and can’t mentally handle sex is doomed to be alone forever? My boyfriend has been very patient and understanding during all of this, and I certainly wouldn’t classify him as my “close friend”.

    Many times I avoid reading articles like this, mainly because of reactions in the comments. It hurts, seeing people say “oh I want that disease” or “I want to date you”. I’m glad that there seems to be little of that nonsense here, because honestly? You don’t want this disease. It makes you unable to perform daily activities. I sat in ice baths for hours at a time, just to numb my lower body and lower my core body temperature (when you become too cold, your body takes blood from your extremities and rushes them back toy our brain and vital organs). I couldn’t sleep. Sleeping pills made it worse. I hope and pray that in raised awareness comes more treatment options and less skepticism about the disease, especially from medical professionals.

  62. I’m just going to say I just feel sorry for her. Sure some people might be jealous of her because she’s having orgasms but in reality it isn’t much of one because it’s just getting in the way of her daily life & relationships with everyone she knows. This is a very sad & unusual disorder that doesn’t sound fun. Granted, I love my orgasms but I would NEVER want to deal with it out of the blue like she does.

  63. Let me get this straight: You guys just read a first hand account from a woman who suffers from a disease that gives her 200 orgasms a day, and all you think of asking yourselves is how a man can be with a woman without having sex, and if it falls into the definition of a romantic relationship?

    1. Your comment is right on. All the people who think this would be great should try forcing themselves to jack off the next time they go to the grocery store or movies or drive a car.

  64. I am kind of wondering, if this is a hormonal issue, (developed the problem in her late teens and will probably gradually go away when menopause hits her) if her condition will change when she is pregnant? Also, is it possible for medical professionals to purposely induce menopause in a patient? It may suck to never have your own children … but you would reclaim your own life and then, if she wants to be a mother … there are plenty of unwanted or abandoned children in the world who need a caring heart. This seems to be a sad problem that is connected to a women’s hormones in some manner or form … which, as a guy, seem infinitely more complex than anything I could comprehend. Like trying to explain the English language using mathematics.

    1. A lot of women actually experience this after menopause or after a hysterectomy/being on hormone therapy, unfortunately, so it’s not really a viable treatment.

  65. This is absolutely fascinating.

    The writer’s descriptions of the experience remind me of tourette’s suffers descriptions of the the experience of tourette’s ‘tics’; the irresistible build-up, the need for release that gets worse if not given in to.

    I would love to see more real research into this, without the judgmental nonsense that this comment thread is filled with.

    Yet, I understand why that’s a difficult topic to remain neutral on. As much as I understand the woman is well and truly suffering – it sounds like it’s miserable – I still can’t stop myself from finding the story deeply arousing. While I can compartmentalize the arousal, and the persona cost for the sufferer, and the scientific curiosity, it actually requires some force of will to do so.

    What a great posting this is; I’m just sorry the comments have degenerated so badly.

  66. Orgasms don’t happen just in one’s genitalia. There’s a brain involved or at least a complex physiological process.

    What you are suggesting OP, and/or others are assuming on your behalf, is that you are constantly aroused. You have bought vibrators to attempt to deal with your constant arousal? That must mean you are encouraging your orgasms, in the hope of shutting down the response?

    If these are just spontaneous reactions, like a knee jerk in response to a hammer, it’s one thing. If it’s constant arousal, it seems another.

    Either way, the range of psychotropic and neurological tools that are guarant-damn-teed to affect libido, arousal and orgasm is large. Any competent shrink should be able to experiment with some that might reduce this symptom, even if you get a few side effects.

    Good luck, regardless. Anything in excess and at inappropriate times is likely to be challenging, despite how much casual outsiders may think it desirable.

    (Also, FWIW, I’d shop out my disability to the almost certain Ph. D. candidate who’s investigating lack of orgasm, as your value as a study candidate might be enormous.)

  67. Off topic, slightly…. thanks, BoingBoing folks… it is a pleasant change to see sensitive, and intelligent discourse as displayed in many of these comments.

  68. > You are passing judgement about this woman’s right to call the person she has been in a committed relationship with for six years her boyfriend. If he has not been having vaginal intercourse with anyone else and calls himself her boyfriend then what is he?

    I’m hoping that’s just careless phrasing on your part, because if not: If the two are not having vaginal intercourse then he can be her boyfriend, but if he is having vaginal intercourse with someone else then he can’t? So it’s absence does not negate a relationship with someone, but it’s presence unequivocally prevents a relationship with anyone but the VI partner? I think the poly community amongst others may want some stern words with you on that issue.

    Quite apart from that, it does sound like a rather nasty problem with zero awareness attached to it (for German speakers, this is nicely illustrated by a clip, which made an april fool’s clip about this exact problem). Best of luck to her and others similarly afflicted.

    1. No that’s not what I was trying to say at all. Bad syntax on my part. Basically all I mean is if he considers himself her boyfriend and she considers him her boyfriend then that’s what he is.

      The reason I shoved that clumsy bit in there in reaction to the comment that he must be getting it some where else.

  69. My first thought was that it must leave somebody physically tired to have to do that all the time. All her problems appear to be downstream from libido and appetite, like the wiring is hooked up wrong, some sort of short circuit in the nerves that detect stimulation and respond accordingly. So I don’t see how using chemicals to affect her drive would help at all. Surely she needs something that affects nerve functioning, highly targeted if possible.

  70. Anyone who says that this woman’s relationship isn’t “real” because of a lack of intercourse is also denying the “reality” of romance for paraplegics, for example. Grow up. Even a typical frat-house is likely to have a more mature definition of a relationship.

  71. For those of you who think you can’t be in a romantic relationship without sex, I’m curious how often one has to have sexual relations with their partner for it to continue being a romantic relationship? Not that I think it’s necessarily good or healthy, but many people who have been married for years go through droughts in their relationship. Does that mean that a couple who decides to stay married even though their not having sex don’t really love each other?

  72. Wow that is very crazy and unheard of for me at least. Weird how the body works…I’m sorry for the woman who has to face this but I’m happy that she has found someone who will stand by her no matter if their having sex or not. I hope that science will be able to cure this problem of hers, I just can’t beleive that there isnt something a doctor can give her to help her out!

  73. I wonder if a remedy is discovered how soon it will be before normal sexual orgasms become the peak expereince most people experience them as.

  74. Over time anti-depressants actually decrease sex drive. Im kinda surprised she hasn’t spoken to a physician about being on some anti-depressant therapy just to see what would happen. I could be wrong though maybe she has or shes tried something different
    best of luck for her

  75. I’m curious, does this disease only affect women? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of spontaneous male orgasm and I’m just curious if there there is a physiological reason why.

  76. Years ago when I went through my “stand-up comedian” phase, I made up a whole bit about a pretend disease called “spontaneous orgasm disorder.” Weird that 20 years later there actually is such a thing.

    It must be a terrible curse to have in much the same vein as any fabled “deal with the devil”: a fantasy that sounds great at first but becomes is horrible in reality.

    Experimental cerebral magnetic therapy might help by shutting off the areas of the brain associated with arousal with directed magnetic fields.

  77. Medicine historically has limited its gynecological concerns to those that affect men — what a vulva looks like, reproduction, and making sure a woman can service a man.

    As an endometriosis patient I spent ten years trying to deal with my pain before I even considered fertility, only to be stonewalled and ignored at every turn.

    During puberty I had what I describe as the female equivalent of ‘wet dreams’ — I’d wake up with fluttering-to-violent contractions of my vagina and uterus that were mostly pleasant and sometimes painful. When the dream was a nightmare, they were also confusing.

    ‘Pelvic congestion’ may be related or relevant to her.

    I have a few concerns for this woman — medical dismissal is high on the list. I worry a little that guilt plays a part in this dynamic, given her description of mother and relationship. Of course, her doctors should have addressed this.

    As for sex and relationships, we shouldn’t feed the trolls. Since paraplegics can and do have successful relationships, their obvious wrongheadedness is not worth it.

  78. “If he has not been having vaginal intercourse with anyone else and calls himself her boyfriend then what is he?”

    May be he is her lover.

    Because it does not matter how much sex is pushing on us, real love is much stronger than sex. It is not just an hormonal thing. If you think it is, don’t get married then just fuck around. I will not say like a dog because it turn out that dogs too know what true love is.

    I don’t know you but I can not imaging living without my wife sex or not. This mean that I will never leave her or cheat her regardless of if we are having sex or not. I am not the only one who fell like this. Far from that.

    For the rest I don’t think that her condition is a laughing matter and she have my sympathy. I believe that there is probably a treatment for this disease and this should be researched actively.

    May be it is more common that we think but with all the taboo about sex a lot of women suffer silently without telling anyone.

  79. Going by what you’ve said, it doesn’t really sound like a Mental Disorder at all?

    I agree with you it does not seem to be a mental disorder but a physical disorder since like the male erection this is mainly controlled by the spinal chord and not the brain.

  80. Reading the discussion about whether a mental or a physiological classification is more appropriate, a third possibility occurs to me. I think this could be framed as a social issue. From what I’ve read, most of her distress and discomfort seems to stem from the difficultly of suppression and the pressure that builds up in a situation in which she can’t immediately “let the orgasm run its course”.

    I’m not suggesting society is broken, and I don’t have any bright ideas for how to fix it, or how to build a nice safe accepting community around her. All I’m saying is that perhaps there is a third way of looking at this?

  81. If she had a problem like this one that didn’t involve an otherwise pleasurable sensation, people would take her more seriously.

    As it is, she’s kind of a poster child for all the ways america is messed up about sex.

  82. I think people, from both ends of the spectrum are forgetting that part of being human – physically and mentally – is having a certain set of needs met in order to be healthy. It seems the majority of commenters on this article have an extremely narrow view about sex (and maybe relationships) – that goes for both sides of the issue, not just one.

    All in all everyone needs to realize: Most people in a relationship enjoy sexual relations and those that don’t have their own reasons. Defining a relationship’s magnitude and direction is ridiculously hard and while I do agree that the sexual aspect of it is important, it’s not as important as many people make it out to be, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. There are of course exceptions on both sides, oh and that whole pesky “free-will” thing often pops up as people making bad choices for themselves.

    You can’t wrap up human sexual response into a tiny comment box, but I think the extremists on this issue need to have their perspectives widened.

    PS. Most females I know are more sexually promiscuous than the males – please stop generalizing guys as mouth-breathing sextards.

    1. PS. Most females I know are more sexually promiscuous than the males – please stop generalizing guys as mouth-breathing sextards.

      I’m sick of male stereotypes too. As far as heterosexual promiscuity is concerned, I don’t see any way the mean level for men and women can be anything other than equal.

  83. This is really fascinating from a research point of view, dittoing everyone who has recommended that the people suffering from this disorder find a keen PhD student to do a case study on them. I’m not sold that this is a disease that belongs in the DSM, but then I could argue the same thing about a quite a few disorders already in there and much more research is needed. But to start research you need funding, and to get funding you’ve got to be doing research associated with something ‘in vogue’ (autism and fMRIs come into mind). So here’s hoping this gains some traction in the public eye so that more women are properly diagnosed and thus can contribute to empirical research. I remember what it was like to read a magazine article on Seasonal Affective Disorder and the relief that I wasn’t just totally crazy. Thanks for the post Lisa!

  84. She needs a through debugging… start at the nerve endings and go all the way to the brain. I’ll bet’cha that somewhere along the chain there’s a short circuit (or neurotransmitter hypersensitivity, etc) that’s the culprit. Might be treatable by epilepsy medication, or by lasering the nerves that are over-firing… just watch out, there’s a lot of quacks out there who like to blame patients for their own inability to come up with a proper diagnosis…

  85. Its a mental disorder because its presumed to be neurologically based. Orgasms are 99% mental. An orgasm is more than some muscle contractions and excretions of liquids. Sudden onset of intense pleasure is a mental disorder, pleasure is a mental being.

    Many other mental disorders also have physical manifestations. Panic Disorder has it, panic attacks cause your heart to race, your chest to tighten and an intense desire to escape whatever you’re at at the moment.

    In short there is no clean-cut line between a mental disorder and physical disorder. All mental disorders are physical, the brain is an organ, its not made of magic. All mental processes and psychological processes are based on biochemical realities.

    If youre sad, its because their are sad chemicals in your brain which are produced due to certain sensory stimulation (like watching a sad movie).

    The idea that the physical and the mental are distinct things is no longer relevant in modern medicine/psychology.

  86. this sounds awful, and I feel for her. very strange, and I’m inclined to hope it can be controlled pharmacologically.

    I will say that while I respect the full (multi-dimensional) spectrum of human interaction, the whole “boyfriend/girlfriend” thing, for me, implies a sexual relationship. which theirs may well be on some level.

    in no way am I speaking to the woman in question, or attempting to define her/his relationship. but there is some vitriol in the comments here. i’ve known many relationships where the female was just not that into it sexually, but was comfortable and intimate with the male. invariably (in my experience) this has not been a healthy relationship for the male. it has been confusing and hurtful and ultimately un-livable. and may imply some selfishness on the part of the female–to recognize that not all needs are met but to remain as long as yours are.

    in general: females cycle; males are switched on.

    i re-emphasize that I grant the fact that that biological defies classification…its very nature is its mutability. but i do sympathize with the sentiment that “boyfriend/girlfriend” implies explicit sexual contact.

  87. some of the comments calling “sexist” are thoughtful and valid. again, I would not presume to demand she redefine. nor that anyone should. it’s just that i’ve seen love/intimacy without sex hurt more than one male friend of mine. its a semantical point, and i hope is not taken as offensive.

  88. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have never heard of this syndrome before and it is quite remarkable. Have you had the chance to speak with other people who have the same condition? I am also interested in what someone below said about it being a mental disorder. Hopefully it also appears in more medical literature so that General Practitioners will be more familiar with it. It is sad that you had to feel ashamed for so long, I wish you luck with treatment. Intimacy is an important part of life and it seems like you have a very understanding partner. I hope that you can find ways to feel sexually satisfied with your partner without pain or shame.

  89. Wow, what a fascinating article about how much fucking you need to do to achieve boyfriend and girlfriend status. It really is an engaging question.

    I guess you could argue that being “boyfriend and girlfriend” is only loosely defined, can vary widely depending upon your age and social group, and that if she says they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, then they are.

    But then we’d miss out on about 50,000 words of intense debate on this burning issue, which would be boring as batshit.

    That said, I’m very sad to hear that I split up with my wife after our son was born, we seemed so happy!

    1. again, for me it’s just semantics. and largely a reflection of how poorly our paltry language can mirror the complexity of human emotion. it is a point, but in no way exhaustive. not even the concept of “species” holds up under scrutiny.


      1. Querent, that wasn’t specifically directed at you, more just an observation of how people get wound up in discussions about sex and relationships, often to the point of ignoring a more interesting topic. See, I’m doing it right now.

        1. heh. gratz.

          and yeah, i agree. ample opportunity for stupidity here. and i know i’ve been kinda thread hijacking. or at least continuing it. just feel the need to make unpopular points sometimes, if there’s validity. and to do it very, very carefully.

          don’t believe the spirit of the 1st amendment covers trolls (though the letter of the law does).

  90. an aside: but testicular cancer doesn’t prevent on from achieving erection or ejaculating, does it? something like 95% of male human ejaculate is from the prostate.

  91. ok, I think this story amazing, the only issue here for me as a woman who can easily get aroused but has incredible difficulty having a full blown orgasm (still somehow taboo subject in our enlightened society) is what we can learn from this syndrome to help the sufferer and to help women with my problem,, also wondering it seems not clear if this woman is constantly aroused or constantly instantly climaxing, obviously big distinction, somehow the post sounds like there is a big psychological piece to this issue, as with all the psychopharmacological interventions out there she hasn’t found a psychiatrist to “treat” her condition,,it does have an OCD element to it also, as a person familiar with many psychological disorders, somehow I think they are all related and eventually medical science will crack open the biological link to mental health problems and find better treatments and “cures” anyway more on point I’m glad this subject is being taken seriously by medical community and I hope they can figure out a way to help us who suffer from trouble having orgasms, guess there’s a clinical name for it? I hope I don’t get stupid comments for this post, but I walk around many times feeling aroused and even after an orgasm (that could take hours to achieve) don’t feel really “finished” or totally satisfied, men have viagra and I hope they come up with something that would help us women enjoy sex more completely, any kind hearted people who care to comment, thank you, as far as what a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is, let’s leave that for the pubescent set to figure out, I’m too old to argue semantics, life is way too short..

    1. agreed, though I am of course guilty of arguing semantics. :) just had some friends get burned, is all.

      i think your perspective is interesting though; you are essentially taking this the other way. i had a friend who worked in a bio lab studying marijuana and hunger as a means to help compulsive eaters control themselves. analogous to your idea here.

      the female orgasm is often more complex than the male. though the male orgasm is definitely on a spectrum, and achieving a powerful, fulfilling orgasm is, even for a male, far more of an art than porn can grant (for me).

  92. i do feel for the woman. it’s definitely the “this wish carries a curse” story. if that’s not too glib.

  93. She may well be suffering from “just” a psychiatric disorder (if one considers, for instance, a crippling obsessive compulsion to be “just” a psychiatric disorder). That doesn’t make it any less real. A combination of talk therapy and an antidepressant prescription would be a good place to start. An early-generation antidepressant might be best in this case, specifically because drugs like Zoloft and Paxil (which are available as generics) reduce physical arousal as a side-effect. A seizure disorder is also a possibility, which would be more serious, but still treatable.

    The one course of action I would not recommend is sitting on a diagnosis, championed by a single clinic, and little represented in the literature, for six years. Exploring psychiatric treatment for a real, everyday, physically manifest problem tends to meet heavy resistance from those raised in conservative family situations — I mean, it’s not like you’re CRAZY, dear! — yet the sufferer wishes to attribute social withdrawl, weight problems, suicidal thoughts and physical intimacy issues (she believes sex will be both painful and ungratifying, but has not confirmed these beliefs in six years) solely to the disorder. Clearly, something needs to give.

    1. seconded and agreed. especially, “The one course of action I would not recommend is sitting on a diagnosis, championed by a single clinic, and little represented in the literature, for six years.”

      be careful with paxil, though. it does do what they say, but the come-down (if you have to come down) can be pretty weird.

  94. @MarkM I’m sympathetic, but I promise you, that guy is getting sex from somewhere

    I’m not getting sex from anywhere. How does that fit into your scheme of things? Or are all guys magically getting sex from somewhere and I’m just missing out?

  95. It sounds like a horrible disorder, and worsened by others inability to understand it. You have my deepest sympathies, and I thank you for speaking about it. Should I encounter another sufferer of this condition, I will be prepared to be compassionate and supportive.

  96. A couple of thoughts (I’m a pharmacist)…first, have your sexual hormones checked: estradiol, progesterone, testosterone. I wonder if part of the cause might be an imbalance–too much estradiol or testosterone, not enough progesterone. If the estrogen’s too high, the progesterone will effectively be low even if the levels are “within normal limits” (since progesterone and estrogen must balance to work correctly…they’re kind of the yin and yang of each other). Low progesterone also tends to cause anxiety/depression, PMS, insomnia, and increased emotional lability (i.e: crying or raging at the drop of a hat). It can easily be supplemented, but DO NOT USE PROVERA!!! (nasty stuff; don’t get me started! ;-). I’d consider using the non-prescription progesterone creams (eg: Progest) first; that way you can try a tiny amount at first; work your way up gradually. But check the levels first.

    A beta-blocker might be appropriate to prevent over-fast beating of the heart (one of the triggers)…they more or less set speed limits on the heart. But might or might not have side effects, of course (drowsiness, low blood pressure, etc.). Check with your doctor.

    A compounding pharmacy might be able to mix up a desensitizing cream to use locally, and/or something to help with the pain, if commercially available products aren’t doing the trick. To find a compounding pharmacy, check on the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists website; they have a locator button on their home page. They’ll want to know your symptoms and what’s already been tried, and how successful the other therapies were, so they can get an idea where to start. That would require a prescription also, but they might be able to research possible formulas, then fax your doctor with a “would this be appropriate?” query.

    I know how disruptive this can be; I wish you the best of luck in controlling it!

  97. I would wonder if the medications that are out there that diminish the male arousal patterns would work similarly in suppressing the condition in women. Not that the genders are physically similar in form and execution of orgasm, but the same pleasure centers in the brain are being worked, it could at least lessen the mental incapacities of the physical response?

    I feel bad for her. As a guy, I know we often ponder what that must be like to have repeated orgasms in a row, but then I remember how draining it is every time and I feel for women like this who can’t stop it from happening.

  98. I am interested by this as I’ve been training as a clinical psychologist for a few years now and have never heard of this syndrome. I even did a specific sexual disorders training and treatment workshop with a couple of sex disorder specialists and it didn’t come up there either. It will be very interesting indeed if it does turn up in the DSM-V.

    I wonder if psychological treatments would work. Both the onset of the orgasms and the avoidance behaviours share a lot in common with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. Interesting…

  99. you should try kundalini yoga, there is plenty of teachers in the US, they can remove this problem in no time.

    1. you should try kundalini yoga

      I hate to get into this, but here goes. I do tantra-style yoga and meditation. Non-sexual. Nothing to do with sex. But after a couple of years I started having spontaneous, prolonged, non-ejaculatory orgasms while meditating. Somewhat in the tone of this article, it was kind of annoying even though it sounds great to everyone else. Eventually, I got it under control. So, I tend to second the idea that kundalini yoga practice could help control PGAD.

  100. I’ve heard of multiple cases of botox injections working to control spasms. I wonder if the desensitizing effects of it would work to control the ‘flare ups’

  101. “PGAD will be officially recognized in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which comes out in 2012.”

    Yet another example of the mad grab for territory that so infests modern psychiatry.

  102. Re: wish/fantasy marred by reality

    Genuinely.. who are all these people (there are a number in this thread) who were previously under the impression that it’d be great to be constantly having an orgasm?

    Really, I can’t even imagine the thought process that would lead to the notion (unless you are 12). Would you want to talk to your boss or mother whilst busting nuts? Would you want your cum-face to be your regular one?

    What’s that? You work in a library? Not any more you don’t.
    In a school? Now you live in prison. Wooo! PermaGasmâ„¢.

  103. I’m a bit perplexed why she hasn’t been put on SSRIs. Cure? Heck no but just as an attempt to limit libido et. al. Actually there’s a lot of meds out there that limit sexual drive through various internal chemical processes being stilted and/or shifted in various manners. You’d think some doctor would try something.

    In fact something about this whole article seems slightly, well, off.

    And to the guys who don’t get that a man and a woman can have a relationship without having vaginal intercourse… honestly, yeah okay you have an opinion and therefore a point. This guy she’s supposedly dating has one hell of a lot of patience, blue balls, or a hand so translucent from jacking off he could probably read the paper through it. But to each their own, I know most men and, in fact, most women wouldn’t go for that but there’s someone for everyone I guess.

  104. Hi, I am Johanna Vante and I suffer from PSAS since 2003. For a better understanding of the disorder see documentary on YouTube. The questions are in Italian, the answers in English.

    The cause of PSAS/PGAD is physical an physical only!!! ‘Static Mechanical Hyperesthesia and Neuropathy of the Nervus Dorsalis Clitoridis’. The condition is renamed by Prof. dr. Marcel Waldinger who recently discovered the nerve that is causing the horrible symptoms. The condition is now called ‘Restless Genital Syndrome’- ReGS.

    Visit my website for more info. You can download the full text (in English) of the results of scientific research in the Netherlands.

    Johanna Vante

  105. People are going off(no pun intended) because they are classifying this as a mental condition instead of a physical condition. Remember just because it has physical effects doesn’t mean that it is a physical disorder. Anxiety is a mental disorder but what are the effects of it- Difficulty breathing, fast heart rate, maybe a slight raise in Blood Pressure- all physiological effects. Mind and body are interconnected what is going on up in the brain will have a direct correlation with physiological effects in the body…….so yes this can be categorized as a mental disorder.

  106. my wife has a condition called chronic regional pain syndrome (formerly RSDS) which is basically where you feel pain all the time. i sympathize for this girl with a similar “oh she’s just faking it” disease where the family members refuse to understand and instead ask insultingly clueless questions every few years. i also understand the joy that she felt when she found somebody who believed her and might be able to help. i wish her the best!

  107. Anne K., et al.: Have you tried using a TENS unit on your lower spine area? Since implants there have resolved inorgasmic problems, perhaps the small irriation of the TENS voltage pulses could provide some relief, or at least some more data. Good luck!

  108. Same boyfriend… for six years… and they haven’t…

    That’s not a boyfriend, that’s a very patient, platonic (possibly closeted gay) friend.

    Very weird that that situation was passed over in one sentence.

    1. @robcat2075

      Well thank God we’ve got a seemingly endless supply of commenters like yourself to tease it out of the story and express your complete and utter jaw dropping amazement at the mere idea of it.

      Maybe she’s gay too. Maybe that’s the problem, they’re all gay. Genius.

      Are you and MarkM all like 16 years old, or what?

  109. @ zikzak: I agree. I feel like there are way more options out there for men with sexual disorders than for women. Not that men don’t suffer as well, as I’m sure not every sexual disorder in men is diagnosed, but we are much more likely to see a Viagra commercial with happy old men than the equivalent for women.

    I feel very sad for this woman. It must be a very difficult thing to live with, and it takes a lot to even write out her story anonymously. I appreciate the intimacy of her story.

    While I don’t have this disorder, I have recently been diagnosed with vulvodynia. I tried the antidepressants they prescribe, with immense and numerous side effects as a result. And besides this treatment, which my doctor prescribed to me with a shrug, noting how it “doesn’t work in most women,” there is not much else they do. Most everyone I tell has never heard of it; they didn’t even know something like this exists. Until we get awareness by stories like these, no one will take it seriously enough to research. And really, it all boils down to a quality of life issue.

  110. In response to MarkM (and I’m sure someone already said it)…

    Try getting married. I know plenty of married folks who have a pretty much nonexistent sex life. Particularly those with kids.

  111. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.
    I have suffered from another form of female sexual dysfunction (vulvadynia) and felt a lot of the same frustrations and medical ignorance.
    It seems that while there’s tonnes of research on giving old or obese men hard-ons, it seems like no drug company has figured out that the more they learn about women’s arousal process (and disorders) the more likely men are to HAVE willing partners! Just like getting sex right in the first place, it seems that many researchers also shy away from the topic of female sexuality because it’s just too damn complicated for them to want to bother with it. To be honest, research technology has only just now gotten to a place where imaging and sensors can actually gather good information. You need pressure sensors in the vagina and a functional MRI to see where her brain is continually firing. THEN you need to twiddle with SRI’s and other meds known to dampen the orgasm response while dealing with monthly hormonal fluxes and the various build-up times each med takes to actually work in the system. THEN you need to deal with the patterns of inflammation, excessive blood flow and chronic nerve pain that have been going on for years.
    All this takes serious time and money to do, if you can even find a doctor who specializes in female parts and sexuality to do it (really, a doctor who deals in lady parts who’s in it to help the owner ENJOY their sexuality rather than just make sure they squeeze out babies, don’t leak urine and can perform the basic sexual function of “cylinder to his piston” AND is willing to do/find funds for research? A verifiable yeti sighting or a clear photo of “Nessie” is easier to find.).
    Also, yes, you CAN have a boyfriend without intercourse and have both parties happy. Ever hear of oral sex? Hand jobs? There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and anyone who’s had the full range of sexual experience knows that oral or manual with someone you love beats the hell out of intercourse with someone you don’t love.
    I’ve never heard a man bitch that his wife was too into giving him blow jobs.

    1. Ever hear of oral sex? Hand jobs? There’s more than one way to skin a cat

      Well you just crossed a line, right there.

  112. I just sat here for an hour and read all of the comments here. This poor woman is going through hell and half of you can’t do anything but nitpick the tiny details, and most of the rest of you treat it like its a joke.

    Its sad that female sexuality is so under-studied and un-understood. I can only hope for her and other women suffering this that a safe remedy can be found, if not to alleviate it completely, then to at least reduce the frequency in which it happens.

  113. I think i heared of this women before and there is a video. But i think this video is german. This is it:

    1. Re the german language youtube link my friend who speaks german’s analysis:

      “I have my doubts as to whether it’s even true. Especially the her hobby is horse riding (WHY would someone who can’t even drive a car without orgasming take that as a hobby??). It also looks very ‘acted’ and the way she talks seems scripted… and the show it’s from isn’t known for it’s credibility!”

      1. That “report” in the youtube link is an April Fools segment they did (the last few seconds where they reveal the “joke” have been edited out from that link). It’s entirely fake.

  114. This argument is fascinating. Highlights the research on the differences in perspective of men and womean towards sex. Ignoring for a minute the obvious exceptions to any generalization, women view sex as a natural product of the quality of the relationship, while men view sex as a way to get closer to a woman. Explains why some men in this thread believe this couple could not have a b.f./g.f. relationship and why some women are offended by this notion. This argument has been going on for centuries and is not going away any time soon.

  115. I think it very likely that this is a neurologically-based disorder. I wouldn’t be surprised to find it is a kind of overactivity of a locus of brain cells, akin to seizure disorder. In the alternative it might be similar to a chronic pain disorder where nerve impulses are not properly modulated, or there is interruption of feedback loops that modulate sensation, as in phantom limb syndrome or Charles Bonnet syndrome.

    I would have tried SSRI’s as a first line treatment and moved on to seizure medications, with a full workup, and not just an MRI, but a functional MRI.

  116. Were we living in some ancient or primitive culture, she would no doubt be identified as some kind of avatar of an earth mother/fertility goddess. Not only would she be accepted, she would be valued as essential to the well-being of the society, no doubt elevated to Priestess or Oracle status in an appropriate temple. Instead, she gets shamed and hassled by our ‘modern’ culture. Unfair.

  117. “I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six years, but we still haven’t had sex.”

    Just to be clear, she said SEX.
    Not “vaginal sex” or “intercourse” but SEX, which includes a whole hell of a lot of other things.

    Now maybe she misspoke, but it seems a bit rash to attack other posters for taking her literally.

  118. I began to respond directly to some of the juvenile and limited-thinking comments but decided it was inappropriate. To all those making comments about the validity of her relationship: grow up. The only people who need to “define” her relationship is her and her boyfriend – REGARDLESS of how much and what kind of sex they do or don’t have. She didn’t go into details, and as a couple of others have mentioned – she shouldn’t need to. It’s completely secondary to the point of this article: that there is someone suffering from an illness which is poorly understood, and she is bravely trying to shed some light on it.

    And she is clearly suffering, not only the physical effects on her body but how she has to deal with the side-effects and the difficult social situations. The reference to Tourette’s is most appropriate.

    I am heartened by all the thoughtful discussion regarding avenues for her to look into, and the suggestion that she find someone to do a case study. The point about “debugging” also has validity – if she can get the medical community (and the money or insurance coverage) to perform all that (expensive) testing. Despite “amazing advances in modern medicine” we are certainly are a long way from really understanding the body’s mechanisms and how to manage them. We dabble – with some notable success and much failure.

    I truly wish her the best of luck in finding a way to control or cure her condition. Too much of ANYTHING is just that – too much.

  119. I read a great book called the “Emperor of Scent” by Chandler Burr, about a very interesting person named Luca Turin, a biologist, among other things, trying to figure out the basis of smell (shape vs. chemical structure)

    During this research in the book, He is contacted by a physician who has a “problem” patient in Scotland he’d like Luca to meet. This patient tells Luca that everything smells horribly. Makes her wretch. She complely lost her scent ability, and now she can smell nothing but terrible. He works on it for a while, and finds that occasionally she smells O.K. for a little while. Then the bad comes back. He can’t figure it out.

    Finally suggests/prescribes her some anti-epilepsy medicine. Nothing happens immediately It takes a while, but after about 2+ months of this (She’s like 230 lbs), she suddenly can smell fine again. She’s so excited, she drives 50 miles to smell fresh cucumbers (which always set her off). Now, as long as she takes anti-epilepsy medicine (micro-tremors almost undetectable so untreated) she is fine.

    An interesting story. Who knows but I see similarities. But I’m not a physician.

    If I was her, I’d be trying the anti-epilepsy medicine to see how it works. The neurological system works in weird ways. The sad part is after a while, you are so exhausted it will effect you mentally too, depression, etc.

    Good luck to her. Hope they figure this out. We find new cures all the time when someone like Luca Turin makes a guess.

    BTW, the book is awesome and worth the read.

  120. I’d try to learn to control it, it sounds like a super power. Maybe professor Xavier can halp her.

  121. idk.. i kinda feel her pain.. like my first time havin sex was like i got nothin out of it but by myself its totally fine i dnt even do anythin it just happens

  122. @ hisdevineshadow | October 12, 2009 7:11 AM | Reply
    “…It’s caused most of my regrettable sexual choices,
    And for me there in lies the other side of the coin…”

    So YOU were the regrettable choice?

  123. Sounds like a terrible condition. I come from a psychological background and I’m not sure what could’ve happened in your past (the condition is most likely a combination of both psychological and physical aspects), but I do have some suggestions that could effectively alleviate the problem.

    Have you tried yoga? Emotions and past events manifest themselves physically within your body on a cellular level, so detoxification diets and yoga can help clean out whatever items trigger these episodes. Yoga or other eastern-based practices that focus on meditation, e.g. Tai Chi, should help significantly in dealing with your situation.

    For the body to be taken to that level of effect, it’s definitely something that can’t and won’t just disappear overnight, but if you work at cleansing your body, your soul, and your mind with diet and types of action meditation, you will over time begin to have control over your functions, and eventually purge the condition.

    Good luck.

  124. I find the flippant comments on here really distressing. I really feel horrible for the poor woman who suffers from this syndrome, it sounds horrible.

    To the author of this article: Good on you for getting on with your life and sharing your story. I hope you find a way through it. I’m wondering… antidepressants such as Prozac can numb a person’s ability to orgasm, maybe there’s something in that which could be useful for you?

  125. I have been through similar experiences. I have never seen a doctor about it or admitted it to anyone other than those I have been in serious relationships with. Perhaps because although it has had serious negative consequences for me, including hurting my performance both at work and at school, stress about inappropriate reactions in public places, etc., I have not suffered the embarrassment of my parents knowing, or any pain when I have sex.

    Also it really feels good, and I think I’m addicted. After all the key question people ask of addicts is “has it affected your social or professional life in a negative way?” and I have to say yes to that. It’s been hard to focus on my job or studies when sexual pleasure is intruding on it. People think I’m scattered, unfocused, and distant and in many ways it’s true. I have also sometimes declined social invitations etc because of this. In some ways I’m like a person with chronic pain – the sensations demand attention and drain your ability to appreciate things outside yourself, such as a pretty outdoor scene, music, an important conversation, etc.

    Also unlike a “classic” person with PSAS, I am not “innocent” because I often bring it on orgasms deliberately. All I have to do is cross my legs and squeeze my thighs. It’s nearly impossible for me to resist the temptation to do this many times a day. The only way to really make the desire subside for a day or a bit more is to give myself a G spot orgasm, otherwise orgasms just make me want more orgasms.

    If I do resist, the pleasure and eventually the orgasms happen anyway, forcing themselves on me. So I do it when I can get away with it. I fought guilt about this for a long time but have learned to let it go.

    I also feel that it has distorted my sexuality. The first time this happened was when I first put on a pair of pantyhose to dress up a bit. I was 13 and had never experienced serious sexual pleasure let alone orgasm, and had never really tried to masturbate. I liked the silky feeling of the pantyhose and rubbed my thighs together to enjoy it. This was NOT sexual, just sensual.

    But very soon it became sexual; I became very aroused and made myself orgasm with my hand. It was very intense and scared me. Later that same morning I was on the bus and the vibrations forced more orgasms on me that I could not stop. In class I crossed my legs and squeezed my thighs for more orgasms. I was never the same again and 19 years later am still hopelessly hooked. I wear pantyhose all the time, and I feel that my same sex attraction probably started from looking at my teachers and other women and wondering if they felt the same way I did. Only later by reading sexology books in the library did I realize I was unusual, but it was nice to know that other women did masturbate from thigh-squeezing. It’s taken a lot longer to get a similar affirmation about the constant orgasms though, but I’m glad it has finally happened.

    1. I just wanted to thank Aurora for her comment. The woman in the article is a friend of mine and I know that the point of putting herself through all of the insensitive and pointless comments above was to hopefully reach someone like you. Don’t give up.

  126. Lots of people being insensitive an judgmental here, and lots of people giving medical advice without any relevant knowledge.

    I realise you guys are trying to help (well, some of you), but from the perspective of someone else with a chronic illness the “have you tried X?” comments really get you down when you have to explain politely over and over again that you really have tried everything.

    I have a massive amount of sympathy for this woman, I suffer hypersensitivity with my own health problems which have affected my sex life negatively before – not on the same scale, but I found it incredibly difficult.

  127. one thing to consider is this: PGAS and libido are two seperate things. You can have PGAS as I do and not have an over active sex drive, so the theory that taking anti-depressants to cure this doesn’t really fix the issue since the meds side effects play with the drive itself and not the issue of having engorgement of the sexual organs. It’s not the want/need of desire, it’s the physical sensations that the nerve endings are putting out for whatever reason that makes you orgasm.

    And no, it’s not fun. It’s hard when you can’t sit still during dinner, or you can’t sleep all night due to this intense throbbing and aching that you can’t fix.

  128. Theres a thing you can get when you first start to smoke weed we used to call ‘mental orgasm’. Basically its a rushing of energies up the spine and sort of exploding out the top of your head. I wonder if this is what this girl is experiencing. Its way more involving than a normal orgasm and i totally sympathise with her if she cannot turn it off.
    In other news, guys can go without sex for a long time (its called masturbation), but she better be giving some good head or ass imho! Sympathy works both ways…

  129. modern medicine is a fairly new science and does not have EFT- emotional freedom therapy. sometimes there is always an underlining emotional trauma that triggers a condition. if you can address the emotional trauma around the time you first experienced this problem.. you could perhaps set yourself free from this condition.

  130. No you don’t want to have it. It screws up your perception of sex and fun and interrupts everything you do. It stops you from sleeping and is miserable at times.

  131. Only one thing occurred to me after reading the number 100-200.
    Severe Dehydration.
    To be rather blunt, female arousal/orgasm is, well, wet–with or without a male present. How is she dealing with that part of the problem?

    There is *definitely* something out of kilter, physically (be it on the chemical level or something rather larger, comparatively speaking), and the apparent lack of support from family isn’t helping her deal with the other problems, such as depression. As I am not a member of the medical community in any way, I will refrain from guessing cause/effect–though it seems there is a distinct lack of certainty as to the cause, while the effect is stated with great certainty.

    Sexuality is a strange creature in most cultures, not just American. Taboos, acceptable practices, traditions, and the like persist, no matter what “modern” people would like to think. Religion can help, or hinder, as can the deep, unspoken, and generally simply accepted practices of the particular group/subgroup involved. Stepping outside of that set of lines is not easy, and could even cause greater discomfort to the person involved. The size and closeness of the community/city can affect this to a great degree. Some areas, being a bit ‘strange’ can be simply accepted. In others, it’s an invitation to ostracism, at best. In still others, there is a happy medium. Age contributes, too. For certain generations, “nervous disorders” were a source of agony and shame for the entire family. This woman is young enough to be confused and upset, but not old enough to be a part of the “therapy is necessary for everything and everyone” generation.

    As for the boyfriend/girlfriend question–who cares? We can call them keyboard/ mouse and *their* relationship would remain the same. They are as they are. Why must we attempt to parse a relationship given all the facts we do not know?

    There are many, many things opened to speculation in discussion that are not addressed in this article, and until a comprehensive list of trials, professionals visited, and other pertinent information is included–if it ever is–suggestions revolving around standard medical communities (psych or not) are perhaps less useful than the non-traditional, like the yoga and diet-study bits.

    As for awareness of the condition…*insert ironic snort here* just when you think there’s something that can’t be considered bad, science and biology walk up and slap you. Sometimes they even laugh while they do it.

  132. Can men have this condition? Well maybe, I’m 75 and was having problems with my prostate. So I did some reasearch on the Internet and found some treatments that really worked, in fact they worked more then I wanted them to. One day I was working on my car and I got under it to check a leak. I was on my back with my legs bent knees up when I felt pleasurable contractions in my loins and soon I lost interest in what I was doing and just stayed there for several minutes completely distracted. After that there were several times when I would be sitting in my living room or at my pc and have these contractions overcome me. Once I was on the phone and got so messed up that I could barely carry on the conversation. All though I did not ejaculate the experience seemed to be more powerful and long lasting then a regular orgasm. I could imagine that if I had this experience as often as these ladies seem to I wouldn’t be able to function as I would want to either.

  133. Well folks…it’s all fun and games until you experience it yourself.

    I had never even heard of the condition until I was dealing with it, myself. I Googled it for hours, until I came across an article that described exactly what I was feeling… and it’s just like the name;

    Persistent Genital Arrousal Disorder.

    The first time, it lasted a few weeks, this time, I hope it goes away quickly. For those of you who haven’t a clue – it’s like being on the edge of orgasm, 24/7. It’s definitely NOT a blessing in disguise; it’s more like a cruel joke.

    You try everything – hot showers – cold showers – masturbating – sexual intercourse… sometimes, an orgasm can offer a little relief, but it’s short lived. I can’t sit still at work, I’m constantly shifting in my chair….trying to get comfortable. Hell, I have even resorted to masturbating in the restroom at work, just so I can have a few minutes of peace.

    I’m glad to know I’m not alone, or just some kind of freak of nature… Yet, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
    Thankfully, I just have the strong, persistent feeling of arrousal, and don’t just orgasm involuntarily, throughout the day; I’d go mad.

  134. This is a very serious problem.

    It sounds to me like there is a problem with sympathetic pathways (stimulation of your sympathetic nervous system through unexpected touch, exercise, and related things) make it worse. Doing a small amount of research online hasn’t led me to much information about it, but there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that the drug Varenicline alleviates the symptoms.

    However, there is also a study showing that PGAD is related to RLS, possibly indicating an iron deficiency (crazy, I know, but you never know) or some other more serious issue.

    I would urge you into doing some more research not only on PGAD, but also on RLS.

    Best of luck.

    Also, at the comments related to antidepressants, antidepressants reduce sexual function, not necessarily orgasm. Her experience is unrelated to sexual arousal, and therefore would not be affected by such drugs.

  135. A male with this disorder would have a terrible problem with cleanup.

    Plus this sounds like it would be completely exhausting. I feel drained if I have 2 or 3 in one night…

  136. Blood is consistantly flowing into an area of the body it should not be doing – it’s really an hydraulic problem of the blood vessels & associated nerves. Definatley physical, NOT a mental condition. Can also be causing damage to those delicate internal mechanisms in the long term – I wish the poor sufferer all the best in recieving successful treatment for this debilitating problem.

  137. #206 is right, there’s strong belief that there is a connection to RLS. Also, I found a site claiming that someone named Professor Waldinger apparently discovered the cause of PSAS/PGAD/RGS and it is “caused by a disorder (a sensoric neuropathy) of a short small nerve, the dorsal nerve of the clitoris. This nerve is a distal branch of a longer nerve, the pudendal nerve, and is located left and right next to the vagina and clitoris.”

    Not sure, if this at all helps anyone, but best of luck to any potential sufferers reading this.


  138. 1.) This is classifiable as a “mental disorder” because it involves the brain and nervous system.
    2.) This might be something like epilepsy, could anti siezer medications help.
    3.) Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (Prozac ect.) can cause sexual sabatoge and reduce orgasms. (The antidote for Prozac sexual sabatoge is Oxitocin (I may have spelled that wrong) a female lactation hormone.)

  139. Someone asked earlier about drugs that deplete or remove libido. Some High blood pressure medications (like lipitor for example, in males ultimately make it so that they can no longer raise and erection. It does not interfere with feeling nor with the ability to orgasm.. but the though is here, that something (and medical science knows why) makes the penis unable to get hard again. If this condition is at all caused by vaginal contact with something (say clothing or cold air or wind or ???? ) then surely whatever that component is in lipitor that causes males to be unable to get an erection will also reduce the ability of the vagina to respond as hers apparently does. I hop9e someone passes this on to her and that she investigates it with her team of medics in the study.

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