By Bambang Tiong
YOGYAKARTA (JP): For six months when his business hit a rough patch, Hery Setiawan had another problem to deal with.
He felt no pleasure during sexual intercourse.
Although he did not know it at the time, the 35-year-old businessman from Klaten, Central Java, was suffering from what sexologists call anorgasmic orgasm.
""At the time, I felt deeply stressed because my handicraft business was almost bankrupt. Then, after getting a new loan, my business ran again as usual,"" he told participants of a recent seminar here.
With his business back on its feet, Hery also regained his sexual satisfaction.
Most people are only aware of three types of male sexual dysfunction: premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation and impotence. And while the inability to reach orgasm is most often associated with ""frigid"" women, some men like Hery experience a similar sexual dysfunction. Although they can climax and have normal sperm counts, they do not experience pleasure when they ejaculate.
Men with the condition may display no obvious signs of sexual dysfunction. They often have a normal or even above-average sexual appetite, have no difficulties in achieving erection and their sperm counts are fine.
The only problem is when they ejaculate.
The issue of anorgasmic ejaculation is controversial in the medical community. Some sexologists refer to the findings of U.S. researchers Masters and Johnson, who contend that ejaculation is identical with orgasm, and vice versa.
Other sexologists have questioned their view, arguing that the physiological act of ejaculation can be achieved without a sense of euphoria. And if one cannot reach ejaculation, does that mean that orgasm, which they contend is mostly a process of the mind, cannot be achieved?
Research conducted by experts from the Harmoni family clinic in Yogyakarta, which deals with sexual problems, is tending to side with the latter view that orgasm can be achieved without the physical act of ejaculating.
For example, Harmoni researcher Jarwanto said it was possible for a man to engage in consecutive sexual intercourse but no longer ejaculate even though he experienced the pleasure of orgasm.
Orgasm, he said, depended on the process in the brain, so that if there is a dysfunction in the brain, it will prevent someone from reaching orgasm.
Other experts say that anorgasmic dysfunction happens due to either physiological or psychological factors.
According to urologist Sungsang Rochadi, anorgasmic ejaculation might occur due to factors such as hereditary genital disorders, spinal nerve injury or consumption of particular drugs.
The main physical factor which causes anorgasmic ejaculation is the spinal nerve disorder because the orgasmic process always begins with the concurrent contraction of the hip muscles.
""Since the contraction of the hip muscles is affected by several spine nerves, spinal nerve disorder will disturb the contraction of hip muscles,"" the urologist explained.
Psychiatrist Inu Wicaksana, who treats many patients with sexual dysfunction problems in Yogyakarta, said that 75 percent of anorgasmic ejaculation occurred due to psychological factors.
The psychological matters, he said, affected other organs, particularly sexual.
""Even erection, let alone orgasm, is impossible if one is suffering depression,"" Inu said.
From the psychiatrist's observation, 40 percent of husbands he treated suffered from anorgasmic ejaculation at some time; of that percentage, 70 percent were executives or professionals, 15 percent were those practicing excessive masturbation during their youth starting at an early age (the age of 12 or 13), while the rest were those with family problems.
Why does the condition appear to particularly affect professionals and executives?
Inu said many of the executives or professionals had to show up in prime condition all the time, which meant they were forced to hide their problems. The problems gradually grow, affecting their mental state of health and consequently their sexual performance.
And men who have masturbated excessively from an early age will tend to feel sexually inferior, he believed.
The psychiatrist said that anorgasmic ejaculation can happen in a case where a husband never experienced orgasm, or he reached orgasm before but could no longer achieve it.
The first case, he added, might result from organ dysfunction while anorgasmic ejaculation caused by psychological matters was a temporary problem which could be treated by a psychiatrist.
In the treatment, those suffering from anorgasmic ejaculation were usually prescribed antidepressants combined with counseling.
He said a man would normally recover from the condition without the need for treatment. But if the underlying cause is depression, it is the depression that should be dealt with, he added.