We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: what to do if you’ve been faking orgasms with a partner.
Q: “I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year. When we first started hooking up, I faked it. it wasn't so much a full-blown fake orgasm... I just sort of let him believe he made me come. I did it because I thought it would be too awkward to tell him I've never had an orgasm. Now that we’ve become much more serious, I don’t have the heart to keep faking. But I’ve created an even more uncomfortable situation! Sex has become so awkward. I can tell he’s confused about why nothing is happening for me anymore. He keeps asking me if I want him to do something different, and I have no idea what to say. I like having sex with him. It’s not that he’s doing anything bad or wrong. It just hasn’t made me orgasm. Do I need to confess? How do I admit to this without breaking his trust?”
A: Thanks for the question! First of all — you’re not alone. This is one of the most popular topics that I cover in Finishing School, my online orgasm course for women, so I know there are a lot of women out there who can relate to your situation. There are a lot of reasons why women fake orgasm, but many of them boil down to pressure. Women feel so much pressure to have orgasms; I think women wind up faking orgasms more frequently than they actually have them. So let’s jump right into how to rebound from faked orgasms.
Know That Faked Orgasms Hurt Everyone
Even though it has resulted in some awkwardness, I think it’s great that you’ve decided to stop faking orgasms with your boyfriend. Before I share my thoughts on how you and your boyfriend can move forward from here, let me quickly offer a word of advice to all the other ladies out there — don’t fake your orgasms!
Believe me, I know how tempting it can feel to fake an orgasm, especially when you’re with a new partner. But faked orgasms don’t do either of you any favors. You end up spending so much attention trying to convincingly fake an orgasm that you usually don’t end up enjoying yourself very much. Your partner doesn’t get to learn how to actually bring you pleasure. I know it’s hard to talk about these topics openly and honestly when you’re just starting to hook up with someone new, but I think it’s much better to say something like, “hey just want you to know I haven’t had an orgasm yet, but I still love having sex” or, “just a heads-up that it’s harder for me to orgasm with a partner, but I still enjoy myself.”
However, I also have a caveat: as I’ve said in so many of my columns, I wholeheartedly believe that women have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. I’m here to give advice, but every woman is the ultimate authority on what feels right for her situation. There may be times where faking your orgasm seems like the better, or even safer, option.
OK, so let’s talk about what you should do now. Given what I’ve written above paragraph, it probably won’t surprise you that I recommend honesty moving forward. I know the prospect of coming clean (no pun intended!) can sound intimidating, but I think it’s the best chance for eventually learning how to orgasm with your partner. But don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with a word-for-word explanation that you can share with your boyfriend, complete with a breakdown of each part of the conversation.
I would recommend sitting down with your partner when you’re both feeling relatively calm and open. Here’s what you could say:
- “Hey babe, I want to talk to you about something that’s hard for me to talk about.” I always recommend letting your partner know how you’re feeling before having a conversation. Saying something like, “I’m nervous, so I’m really hoping you can just listen” sets your partner up to be compassionate and gentle.
- “When we first started hooking up, I was so into you, and really wanted everything to go perfectly. I’d never had an orgasm when I met you, and I felt too embarrassed to tell you that, so I ended up trying to pretend that I’d had them.” Provide some sort of explanation for why you faked it. You told your boyfriend a bit of a white lie, which may be upsetting to him once he knows the truth, but it’s important for him to understand that it was never intended to hurt his feelings. Most women feel a lot of pressure to know how to orgasm, and feel embarrassed if they don’t, so you can share with your partner what that experience is like.
- “Just to be clear — I really enjoy having sex with you. I just don’t yet know what my body needs to have an orgasm, but I still feel a lot of pleasure.” This helps your partner understand that sex isn’t just about having an orgasm. The fact that you haven’t had 20 seconds of orgasmic bliss at the end of your hook-ups doesn’t mean you haven’t enjoyed all of the other moments of pleasure and connection.
- “Then I started developing real feelings for you, and I realized I didn’t want to fake anything with you. I know you noticed the change, so I wanted to come clean and explain what’s been going through my head. I’m sorry that I made that decision, and I’m sorry if I hurt you.” This gives your partner some positive reinforcement that you’re coming clean for really good reasons. It also gives him some validation for any confusion he might have been feeling.
- “I also feel excited about being able to move forward and actually learn how to have orgasms. I know I have some exploring that I want to do, and I’m hoping you can join me in playing around with some stuff too.” This part of the conversation helps your boyfriend understand that learning how to orgasm will be an ongoing process, but that you’re excited about sharing it with him.
… Or At Least, Partially Clean
If the prospect of coming totally clean still feels like too much for you, your other option is to continue telling white lies and come partially clean. You can say something like, “I’ve been reading up on female orgasm, and realizing there are a lot of things I’d like to try out. Are you into exploring with me?” Ask your partner to play around with new techniques with you (check out specific recommendations below). Be honest with your feedback as you guys explore. You might feel yourself desperately wanting things to work, and even feeling tempted to fake again, but the whole point of moving forward is to try to find what actually works for you.
Keep in mind that if you go this route, there’s a chance your boyfriend might respond with something like, “why do you want to try new things? Has what we’ve been doing not been working for you?” He may even directly ask you if you’ve been faking orgasms. You may be faced with having to decide whether or not to tell an outright lie. It sounds like you don’t want to find yourself back in this situation again, so you may end up coming fully clean in the end anyways.
Make Time To Explore
In my experience as a sex therapist, I’ve found time and time again that the most effective way to learn how to have an orgasm is to start on your own first. I’ll humbly point you in the direction of Finishing School, but you can also start with my guide to masturbation. Once you have a better sense of what your body likes, you can share your explorations with your partner. You can try out oral sex techniques, manual stimulation techniques, couples toys, or the best sex positions for female orgasm.
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