Although 90 orgasms an hour might sound enticing to a bystander, to 30 year-old Arizona woman, Cara Anaya-Carlisi, it is a waking nightmare that is “stressing her out.” Anaya-Carlisi suffers from Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) and says the condition is ruining her life.
Other names for PGAD are Persistent Genital Arousal Syndrome (PGAS) or Restless Genital Syndrome (ReGS) and it is paralyzing for sufferers. With this condition, arousal is not linked to desire, and this spontaneous, unmanageable genital arousal causes high levels of stress and anxiety for its female victims. PGAD may or may not include engorgement of the genitals but many physicians equate it to priapism in males, which is characterized by continuous erections that have no link to sexual desire.
Anaya-Carlisi has been married for 11 years and has a 10 year-old son. ShShe states that the worst part of the disorder is being orgasmic around children or at her son’s school. It makes her “feel like a pervert.” PGAD has debilitated her to the point that she cannot work and finds it stressful to leave her home. She states “she would do anything to get rid of it.”
While originally it was thought that only menopausal women suffered from the condition, research has shown that younger women like Anaya-Carlisi, men and even children can suffer from PGAD. The Dutch began researching the disorder in 2004 and have determined that dysfunction of the Nervus Dorsalis Clitoridis is the cause (it is the Nervus Dorsalis Penis in males). These Dutch researchers have determined that there is a strong correlation between PGAD women who before office jobs that require a lot of sitting. Other strong correlating factors are hormonal changes like menopause and withdrawal from selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or anti-depressants. It is common to see combinations of several of these factors, or the presence of other physical traumas like childbirth, epidurals, insertion of a urinary catheter or varicose veins in the genital area.
Sex research in the Netherlands has shown that the psychological impact of this debilitating physical condition are enormous. Depression, chronic fatigue and suicidal thoughts are all common. The stress of PGAD often brings on other psychological disorders like agoraphobia. Sufferers spend a lot of time and energy avoiding the physical and emotional triggers of the disorder, many of which are part of everyday living. The genital area in these people is hypersensitive and one of the main triggers is sitting down. Walking, biking, sexual activity, lifting, bending, laying in certain positions, using the bathroom and wearing tight pants can kick off symptoms and increase their intensity. Additionally, many report that stress, irritation to the area, riding in a car and the vibration of cell phones can bring on symptoms.
Some report that, in the early stages (first six months of the disorder), climaxing can help the symptoms subside for a few hours. There are actually periods with no symptoms in that early stage. After that, stress levels tend to increase as symptoms become constant. Anaya-Carlisi has stated in interviews that once her symptoms start, her stress level skyrockets as she experiences wave after wave of continuous, spontaneous orgasms – that 90 orgasms in an hour is an average number during these times.
While the SSRI category of anti-depressants, anti-androgens and pelvic floor exercises are not good treatments, research has shown that some sufferers have found relieve with acupuncture, TENS electrical nerve stimulation, and drugs like Neurontin, Lyrica and Tramadol.
Long-term victims of PGAD often lose their pleasure in all things sexual as arousal becomes associated with suffering. For Anaya-Carlisi, her 90 orgasms an hour have nothing to do with pleasure and everything to do with stress and anxiety.
By Jenny Hansen