There is usually a familiar sequence of events from sexual stimulation that eventually leads to ejaculation. But not always. If you’ve ever had an erection, climaxed, but there was no ejaculate, then you may have experienced a dry orgasm.
What is a dry orgasm?
Dry orgasm, also known as anejaculation, occurs when little to no semen is released during sexual climax or masturbation. Ejaculatory orgasm is the standard type of orgasm where the penis nerve endings are stimulated, resulting in a pleasurable climax and causing the penis to ejaculate semen. For context, it’s worth noting that there are different types of male orgasms, one of which is the ejaculatory type.
Dry orgasms may be a temporary or permanent occurrence, depending on the underlying cause. Dry orgasms are nothing to worry about most of the time, but they could present reproductive and fertility concerns if you’re trying to conceive. However, it’s always good practice to be informed and if you have concerns, raise them with your doctor to identify and eliminate any possible health conditions.
Dry orgasms are often associated with retrograde orgasms. While retrograde orgasms can occur alongside dry orgasms and present outwardly like a dry orgasm, they are not mutually exclusive nor the same occurrence. Retrograde ejaculation happens when semen enters the bladder instead of going out of the penis. People experiencing retrograde ejaculation may notice that their urine is cloudy after sexual stimulation, indicating the presence of semen, whereas dry orgasm is when there is no semen production.
Do dry orgasms affect the experience of sexual pleasure?
Every person’s experience of a dry orgasm will differ, but most men report feeling the same or similar amounts of pleasure during a dry orgasm as during an ejaculatory orgasm, with the caveat of less clean-up. Some men find it fulfilling and satisfying to see ejaculate and feel the experience of ejaculation. For them, a dry orgasm may produce feelings of inadequacy, confusion, or displeasure. Bottom line, it is possible to have a healthy, active, and pleasurable sex life while experiencing dry orgasms.
What causes dry orgasm and who is at risk?
Men and people with penises can experience dry orgasms for many different reasons.
Dry orgasm is often associated with some post-surgical operations. Surgeries performed on parts of the body close to the penis, like urethral surgery and removal of the prostate or bladder, can cause dry orgasms. This occurs because surgery may directly or indirectly affect the nerves or muscles that help with the production of semen.
Some of these surgical procedures include:
- Open prostatectomy
- Laser prostate surgery
- Urethral Surgery
- Cystectomy (Bladder Removal)
- Lymph node dissection
- Radiation therapy
- Transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT)
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
- Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
In some cases, dry orgasms resulting from surgery cannot be treated. Certain surgical treatments and procedures like radical prostatectomy may result in permanent dry orgasms because it involves the removal of the prostate, the gland responsible for producing semen, and seminal glands.
However, most of these surgical procedures don’t have to affect your sexual health adversely. You can still have a healthy sex life even if you occasionally or chronically experience dry orgasms.
Blocked Ejaculatory Duct
Certain surgical procedures or infections may cause a blockage in the ejaculatory duct, resulting in a dry orgasm. Blockages should be addressed with your healthcare practitioner to determine the underlying cause and if medication is required.
Nerve damage resulting from spinal cord damage or injury, multiple sclerosis, or medical complications from illnesses like diabetes and cancer may affect a man’s ability to ejaculate.
Some genetic abnormalities in the male reproductive system prevent a man from producing adequate amounts of semen and may cause dry orgasms.
Another common cause of dry orgasms is frequent or multiple orgasms. Some men have shorter refractory periods, the time between orgasms where the penis isn’t responsive to sexual stimulation, and if they have frequent or multiple orgasms close together, the body may become depleted of semen. Some men produce semen faster than others, so shorter refractory periods may not lead to dry orgasms.
Low Testosterone Levels
Dry orgasms may also be due to a dip in testosterone levels. Low testosterone can result from hormonal imbalances such as andropause, equivalent to menopause for women. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decline and may result in the experience of dry orgasm.
If you have testosterone deficiency, your doctor could prescribe medications that can help improve testosterone levels. Some medications may help curb hormonal imbalances and eventually stop dry orgasms. If you don’t want to take medication or cannot take medication due to another health condition, there are ways to increase testosterone levels naturally.
Sometimes dry orgasms are caused by psychological problems such as mental health issues, depression, low self-esteem regarding body image, sexual performance anxiety, or relationship problems. If you suspect that your dry orgasms are related to a mental health problem, do not hesitate to get help from a medical professional, psychiatrist, or sex therapist. Mental health concerns are nothing to be ashamed of, and everyone deserves to feel happy in their body and mind.
Stress may also affect your overall sexual functioning, including the occasional or persistent occurrence of dry orgasms. This is not usually a cause for concern and may be solved by altering your lifestyle or work habits to reduce stress.
Certain medications that treat conditions like high blood pressure, prostate problems, and even some mental health issues may cause dry orgasms. If this is the case, consult a doctor who can help diagnose your condition or recommend switching medications.
Dry orgasms and male infertility
Dry orgasms are usually not a cause for worry. Most cases are temporary, but persistent dry orgasms may present a problem for those trying to start a family. In heteronormative relationships, reproduction involves a penis ejaculating and releasing semen into the vagina. If the penis is not producing enough semen, this could complicate conception.
Treatment options may be available and recommended through a trained medical professional for those trying to conceive naturally. Alternatively, other options are available, such as infertility procedures like assisted reproductive technology or intrauterine insemination that can help with conception.
How vibrators can help dry orgasm
Vibration is powerful, and vibrators are not to be underestimated as a viable solution to dry orgasms; in fact, they’ve been proven to help. A 2018 study showed that vibrational stimulation to the penis produced ejaculation in men both with and without spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis patients.
A 2009 study conducted on men in the US showed that 44.8% of them used a vibrator during sexual activities in their lives. The men who reported using vibrators showed high scores in erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, and sexual desire. Basically, quality improvement in pleasure and ejaculation.
The key is to invest in a quality male vibrator that uses targeted vibrations to deliver stimulation exactly where it’s needed, like Tenuto 2. The Tenuto 2 vibrator is an FDA-registered medical device designed to help your penis get erect and stay erect. It can also boost arousal for you and your partner because it delivers vibrations to the penis, perineum, labia, and clitoris.
If you’re more concerned about dry orgasms or generally want to have better orgasms, you might consider using sex toys for men to supercharge your sex life.
It’s in your hands
Dry orgasms don’t need to lead you to dry spells. Healthy and fulfilling sex is possible even if you occasionally have dry orgasms. Don’t hesitate to seek professional medical help if you’re worried about anything related to sexual functioning. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself.