Confession time: I've actually never faked an orgasm. That being said, I've definitely pretended (both implicitly and explicitly) to enjoy sex that, in fact, I did not enjoy in the slightest. As sad as it is, female orgasm (in heterosexual relationships) is often seen as an "added bonus," and women can feel pressured to act like they're enjoying mediocre sex instead of actually voicing their needs. But if you're being left unsatisfied by your partner, you should never feel like you have to pretend otherwise. It might be uncomfortable, but learning how to tell a guy you're faking your orgasm or otherwise not experiencing pleasure during sex is crucial.
"Your soul and your body deserve a happy sexual life!" Juliana W., Sex Expert and Founder of SexTalkAbout.com, tells Bustle. "Don't cast your sexual pleasure off out of fear of what someone else might think. If you want to keep dating the guy, you will have to address this issue." But before you sit down and tell your partner that you've been faking your orgasms, it's important to understand exactly why women fake it, and how to come clean in a way that won't destroy your relationship.
Why Do Women Fake Orgasms?
As many straight women can probably attest, the orgasm gap — aka the disparity between how often straight men finish during sex compared to straight women — is super real... and super frustrating. But why does it exist?
"Women aren't generally comfortable discussing their pleasure and desires," Sarah Watson, Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapist, tells Bustle. "We aren't taught during sex education that sex is for pleasure... [or] that pleasure is important to discuss with your partner. Women fake [orgasms] for a multitude of reasons but I think the biggest reason is the lack of communication with our partners."
Simply put, women aren't taught that our sexual pleasure is equally as important as men's, so we don't feel comfortable speaking up when we're not getting what we need in bed. The result? Faked orgasms.
How Faking It Can Be Harmful
It can be tempting to just push your own pleasure aside and pretend to finish when you're having a difficult time reaching orgasm, but if you're not honest about what does and doesn't work for you in bed, it will only make it even more difficult for you to enjoy sex in the long run. You're not teaching your partner what actually feels good for you, and you're also building up resentment by continually denying yourself the chance to really experience pleasure.
"It can be harmful because you are faking one of the most intimate things we experience as humans. It reinstates the idea that you aren't important enough to experience pleasure."
"Whoever is faking it is putting their pleasure on the back burner," Watson says. "Pleasure is your right. If you are putting your pleasure on the back burner what else are you putting on the back burner? It can be harmful because you are faking one of the most intimate things we experience as humans. It reinstates the idea that you aren't important enough to experience pleasure."
Before You Tell Them, Explore The "Why"
It's understandable to want to procrastinate having "The Talk," but it won't do you any good to wait — you'll just end up brewing even more resentment (and enduring more unsatisfying sex in the meantime). The only reason to put off this conversation is to give yourself time to figure out why you've been content to fake orgasms until now.
"First and foremost, whomever is faking it needs to explore the why," Watson says. "Are you comfortable with your body? Do you understand and know what brings you pleasure? Explore the reasons that have held you back from telling your partner."
Maybe you haven't explored your own body through masturbation enough to know what you like, or maybe you're just really shy when it comes to verbalizing your sexual desires. Whatever the case, figure out why you've been faking orgasms with your partner before broaching the subject with them.
Have A Convo About Pleasure, Not Just Orgasms
As soon as you've identified the root of the problem, figure out a way to express the issue in a way that's neither accusatory nor confrontational. Instead of assigning blame — "you don't make me orgasm" — talk about the issue in the context of sexual pleasure as a whole.
"Create a space to have the conversation," Watson says. "Share what the barrier was to talking about it. Agree to be open and honest about sex. Not just orgasm. What brings you both pleasure? What are your fantasies? What would you like to explore. What positions and/or types of touch make you feel good? Bottom line, work on being self-aware and vulnerable with your partner."
Sex is a sensitive subject, and your partner will likely be upset at the revelation that you've faked orgasms: their ego might be bruised, and they might feel lied to. But if you're able to explain the why — e.g. you're embarrassed about how long it takes you to finish — and have a plan for how to move forward, it will make the conversation go much more smoothly.
Tackle The Issue As A Team
Ultimately, the only surefire way to improve your sex life is for you and your partner to agree to tackle the no-orgasm issue together, as a team. Sex is all about mutual satisfaction, and both partners should be willing to learn how to please each other, and work on any intimacy issues together without judgment.
"No one person's pleasure is more important than the other's.
"Women need to understand that sex is about pleasure, fun, and intimacy and having really great orgasms adds to all of that," Dawn Michael, Clinical Sexologist at The Happy Spouse, tells Bustle. "The best tip for women is to know their own body and how to please themselves and then share that with their partner. Speak up when it comes to sexual pleasure and realize that sexual pleasure should be enjoyed equally, and no one person's pleasure is more important than the other's."
If you learn how to ask for what you need and you and your significant other are both on board with working towards more mutually satisfying sex, then it's only a matter of time until you're able to genuinely orgasm, no faking it required.