Amanda McLaughlin is constantly sexually aroused. “It feels like you’re about to orgasm and then it never goes away,” the 23-year-old revealed in a recent BBC Three Documentary. “Would you want to have a raging boner 24/7? I don’t think so. It’s just nonstop.”
In 2013 McLaughlin was diagnosed with a rare condition called persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) and it’s left her unable to work or drive. “If I could go the rest of my life without having an orgasm, that’s fine,” McLaughlin said in the documentary. “Some days I do OK and some days I don’t want to be around anymore. I don’t want anyone to look at me. I don’t usually leave my house . . . I don’t even want to be on social media. I don’t want to do anything.”
According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, the causes of PGAD are unclear. For some, the condition appears to be triggered by stress, and some experts believe it may be tied to psychological issues. PGAD treatment may involve cognitive behavior therapy, stress management, pelvic floor physical therapy and other medications such as an antidepressant, per the Sexual Medicine Society of North America.
“When I was 13 or 14 is when I first noticing that there something was wrong. Nobody believed me. I kept saying, ‘I need to have sex. I need to orgasm,’” McLaughlin said. “Between the ages of 15 and 18 I masturbated way more than a normal teenager would. Everybody thought it was a sex addiction.”
Indeed, McLaughlin’s mother, Victoria, who appears in the video, admitted she judged her daughter’s promiscuity. “My family thought that she was just a whore,” Victoria told the BBC. “I doubted her . . . I still feel guilty.”
A year ago, McLaughlin met her fiance JoJo, who is understanding of her condition. “Sometimes I will be crying and begging him to have sex with me just to relieve some of the pressure that I have down there,” McLaughlin explained in the program.
To manage the painful symptoms, McLaughlin takes 30 different medications daily and applies ice and heat to her pelvic area.
McLaughlin is currently being treated by Dr. Priyanka Gupta, an assistant professor of neurology, at University of Michigan. “Because it’s such a rare diagnosis and there’s been so little research we don’t know exactly what causes it,” she said. “I don’t have a quick cure to this . . . but we’re going to be trying a few different therapies. I’m very hopeful that we . . . can get Amanda functioning better.”
Meanwhile, McLaughlin remains cautiously optimistic. “My whole life would be different if I didn’t have this problem,” she noted on the documentary. “If i wasn’t in pain all the time, I might be able to work. I might be able to drive. I want kids in the future, my whole life would be different, I know i would be happier.