People who experience anejaculation are unable to ejaculate semen when they have an orgasm. The condition can affect sexual enjoyment and the ability to conceive. Physical issues, such as nerve damage, cancer treatments and disorders, like multiple sclerosis, can cause anejaculation. Psychotherapies can help if stress or anxiety are the cause.
Ejaculation is the release of semen from your penis. It typically occurs when a person reaches sexual climax (orgasm) during intercourse or masturbation. The male reproductive system makes semen. This fluid contains sperm, which fertilizes eggs for conception and pregnancy.
Most people who have anejaculation still make sperm. But infertility can happen because they can’t ejaculate the semen that carries sperm.
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Anejaculation is when orgasm occurs but no fluid leaves your body. Anorgasmia is when orgasms are absent or less intense — even after plenty of sexual stimulation.
An estimated 12,000 people seek treatment for anejaculation every year. The number of people who have the condition may be higher, as many don’t seek medical care.
Some people are never able to ejaculate (primary anejaculation). Others lose the ability to ejaculate for various reasons (secondary anejaculation).
Types of anejaculation include:
Retrograde ejaculation is a similar condition in which semen goes back into your bladder instead of leaving your body. With retrograde ejaculation, orgasm occurs but no fluid escapes.
People with erectile dysfunction may not be able to get or keep an erection long enough to climax and ejaculate. But most people with anejaculation don’t have erection problems.
Potential causes of anejaculation include:
These factors may bring on situational anejaculation:
The primary sign of anejaculation is the lack of ejaculate (fluid) during orgasm.
Your healthcare provider will review your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination.
If you’re able to orgasm, your provider may order a urine test (urinalysis) to take place immediately after you climax. No sperm (azoospermia) in a urine sample after an orgasm may indicate anejaculation.
If there are sperm in your urine sample, you may have a different type of sexual dysfunction called retrograde ejaculation. This condition causes semen to move back into your bladder (your urinary system organ that holds pee) during orgasm instead of leaving your penis.
Anejaculation doesn’t cause any long-term problems. Some people don’t seek or want treatment. Treatment (when desired) depends on the underlying cause. Psychotherapy (talk therapy), sex therapy and anti-anxiety medications can ease anxiety and stress that cause situational anejaculation.
Some people benefit from changing medications or better managing conditions like diabetes. There isn’t a treatment for certain causes like nerve damage.
Anejaculation makes it more difficult to conceive a child, but it’s not impossible. A urologist or reproductive medicine specialist can use different methods to retrieve sperm from your testicles. Your healthcare provider then uses infertility treatments to fertilize eggs with your extracted sperm. Examples include intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Sperm retrieval methods for males with anejaculation include:
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience anejaculation that:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Not being able to ejaculate while having an orgasm can be upsetting to you and your partner. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider about this issue. There are therapies that can help. It’s especially critical to talk to your provider if you want to conceive a child. There are procedures and fertility treatments that can help you start a family.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/14/2022.
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