"Too much of a good thing," Mae West once famously declared, "can be wonderful."
This motto emphatically does not apply to orgasm. This morning, Barcroft Media shared its video profile of a woman, 30-year-old Arizonian Cara Anaya, who suffers from persistent genital arousal disorder and can experience six hours of arousal a day — including up to 180 orgasms in two hours, or two or three in a minute. When the wife and mother first developed PGAD three years ago, her friends and family — including her husband — dismissed her accounts of her episodes. "I thought she was crazy," her husband admits.
Since Cara was diagnosed, she's sought the assistance of a series of doctors and specialists, but with no success. The causes of PGAD are unclear, and different women experience the condition differently, but it is definitively not about enjoyment — quite the opposite. Those with PGAD describe feeling constantly on the brink of orgasm; for women who do orgasm because of PGAD, the orgasms are unbidden and lead back to that on-the-brink feeling rather than to relief. It isn't that women affected by PGAD always want sex, but rather that their genitals display arousal in the absence of stimulation or desire: The clitoris tingles, blood rushes to the vaginal walls, and unstimulated, uncontrollable orgasms can occur. There is, as yet, no cure for the condition, though treatments such as local and temporary anesthesia and physical therapy can ease suffering.
"The most difficult thing is seeing my wife in pain, and there's nothing I can do to help her," Cara's husband shares in the video above. Speaking to how PGAD has affected her personal and family life, Anaya sighs, "I'm not that 'let's go' mom. [I'm not that] 'let's go play, let's go to the park, let's go to the zoo, let's go out hiking' mom anymore... It's not something I'd wish on anybody." Anaya is often too anxious to leave the house, fearful that an episode will strike while she's in public. Here's hoping that the medical community moves closer to a cure for this crippling, exhausting condition, and that in the meantime, the media stops reporting on PGAD as if it were sexy — or a joke. For the women who suffer from it, these depictions couldn't be further from reality.