If Your Partner Is Faking Orgasms, Experts Say These Are The 5 Best Steps To Take

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If you’ve been faking orgasms and decide to tell your partner, that conversation can be illuminating but also nerve-wrecking and heartbreaking. But being on the other side of that confession can also be extremely difficult. Learning that your partner has been faking orgasms can bring up feelings of betrayal, insecurity, and confusion, and how you respond can alter the course of your relationship.

Faking orgasms is more common than many of us realize. One 2017 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 41 percent of men and 76 percent of women had faked an orgasm.

“There are many reasons people fake orgasms, but it’s not usually specifically motivated by the desire to deceive,” Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly, tells Bustle. It’s rare that someone faking orgasms actually spells the end of the relationship, but it's important to discuss things with your partner if you learn this is happening. "If you claim to break up with someone because you find out they’ve been faking orgasms, it’s likely that there were other issues in the relationship,” she says. For most couples, it is possible to work it out and come out of it with a stronger sex life.

If your partner confesses that they’ve been faking orgasms, here’s how to respond, according to experts.

1. Try To Understand Their Perspective

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It’s valid to be hurt by a partner faking orgasms, but try to understand that they didn’t want to be deceptive. The truth is, there’s an enormous amount of pressure to orgasm whenever you have sex — and to not have to tell your partner how to make you. The number one reason people cite for faking orgasms is that they want their partner to feel good.

“If your partner has come forward with this, remember that they are likely doing so because they want to improve your sex life and they’ve taken a risk to be honest,” Laurie Mintz, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Becoming Cliterate, tells Bustle. “Also, it’s important to understand their reasons for faking.” Try to listen with understanding and focus on how you can both prevent this in the future rather than whose fault it is.

2. Don’t Take It Personally

While your partner’s orgasm-faking may seem like a reflection of your sexual prowess (or lack thereof), rest assured that it’s not about you. “In most cases, it has nothing to do with you or your relationship, but has to do with their own lack of sexual confidence and agency,” Mintz says. “So, emotionally, it’s important to not take their faking personally."

“You’re not responsible and shouldn’t feel guilty (unless you’ve been ignoring their pleasure); you can be a (big part) of the process, but their body, mind and nerves need to work together to make it happen,” Dr. Jess says. “Even when you want to orgasm, physical and emotional impediments can interfere.”

3. Ask Questions

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This is an opportunity for you to figure out how to improve your sex life. “Talk to them about why they’ve been faking, why they came forward now, and what they need to orgasm for real,” Mintz says. If they don’t know what they need to orgasm for real, you can try talking to a sex therapist or exploring sites like OMGYes.

A good way to figure out how to help them orgasm is to find out how they masturbate (you could even have them show you). “Ask them how they usually orgasm — when they’re on their own,” Dr. Jess says. “They might be able to show you or describe the physical techniques that tend to work for them. If you’re having intercourse and they have a vagina, their body may not be designed to orgasm during intercourse, so you’ll want to use your hands, tongue, lips, toys, and breath to increase the likelihood.”

4. Examine Your Own Behavior

While a partner faking orgasms doesn’t mean you’re a bad lover, it could mean that you’ve put pressure on them, even if it’s unintentional. “They might be faking because they experience performance pressure — and it’s possible that things you say and do add to that performance pressure,” Dr. Jess says. “If performance pressure is part of the reason they don’t orgasm (and it often is), you may need to make some adjustments so that you can both enjoy the process as opposed to getting hung up on a specific goal."

For example, maybe they’d be more comfortable if you reassure them that while you will do your best to help them orgasm, you won’t be hurt if it doesn’t happen and care more about their pleasure overall.

5. Establish A More Honest Relationship

Ashley Batz for Bustle

The good news is, the fact that your partner is coming forward means they don’t want to keep things from you anymore. So, this is an opportunity to establish a more trusting relationship.

“In this talk, you can commit to more open sexual communication and honest, in and out of the bedroom,” Mintz says. “Psychologists talk about something called ‘tear and repair,’ and it basically means that if there is a rift in the relationship and you repair it, it can be stronger than ever."

While the initial conversation may be painful, rest assured that if you handle it well, good things will likely come of it (no pun intended.) "Of course, if your partner has also been lying about other things, seems disingenuous in other aspects of your life, and such, this may be a different scenario," Mintz says. "But, I’d say if the person is committed enough to come forward, they are likely committed enough to change, and this will benefit them and you!”