We all know what orgasms are. Let’s talk about what they’re not.
- They’re not the only measure of sexual pleasure.
- They’re not the only conclusion to a sexual encounter.
- They’re not the only proof that sex was enjoyable.
- They’re not our reward for doing it (sex) right.
We’re conditioned to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to have sex. It’s supposed to look and sound a certain way – like it does in the movies. And it always, always ends with everybody gasping for air and utterly sexually satisfied.
We All Believe In Happy Endings
Most of us did not have meaningful sex education and learned about one of the most remarkable functions of the human body the old-fashioned way: by listening to our junior-high-aged friends and watching movies with sex scenes. We learned that the story always ends with a mind-blowing orgasm. So, the inclination to fake happy endings shouldn't come as a surprise … no explaining, no apologies, no drama.
In 2019, Kinkly.com surveyed 1,232 of their readers and learned that 87% of the women and 69% of the men admitted to faking an orgasm at least once in their lifetime. Many surveys and studies have been conducted before and since concluding that a high percentage of women fake their orgasms at least some of the time.
The Reasons Why
– Tanya Koens (sex therapist)
There are reasons other than our culture’s ideal of sexual behavior that encourages people to take a shortcut. It could be as serious as avoiding the physical pain that some women feel during intercourse or as simple as being ready for it to be over. Women in sexual relationships with men who don’t understand the clitoris are more likely to fake orgasms and so are women who believe their partners will cheat. Still others may feel compelled to pretend, if they feel pressure to orgasm to satisfy their partner or to avoid hurt feelings and apply an ego pump.
A convincing performance can have its upside, like a satisfied partner who is none the wiser. However, it is a deterrent to healthy, honest communication between sexual partners and it certainly doesn’t get you any closer to the kind of sexual pleasure that gets you to an authentic orgasm. This can cause resentment, a disconnect between you and your partner and it can also inadvertently reinforce sexual behavior that isn’t giving you pleasure.
Did you come?
Sometimes it’s just easier to say yes. And the occasional Oscar-worthy performance is probably not going to tip the scales one way or the other - especially when pleasure is genuine. But saying yes when the answer is no as a pattern of behavior cheats both partners out of genuine pleasure and sexual growth. No reason to experiment, explore or to try this instead of that when the orgasm is always in the bag.
of sex you’re having. Replacing the goal of orgasm with
the goal of pleasure will radically transform your sex life.”
Ready to stop saying yes when the answer is no?
Sexologist, Isiah McKimmie, had something to say on the subject in an article she was quoted in for ABC Everyday. She has some tips for starting a conversation, for those who decide to take this route.
- Know that no-one is to blame: You not reaching orgasm isn't the fault of either of you, and there is nothing wrong with either of you.
- Pick the right time: Bring this up at an appropriate time when you know you won't be interrupted and when you're both relaxed.
- Share appreciation: Begin with things that you love about your partner. The relationship and intimacy between you can create feelings of trust and connection that can help the conversation flow more positively.
- Acknowledge your own feelings: If you're feeling nervous about telling your partner something, it can be helpful to tell them that. They are more likely to listen with interest and compassion.
- Let your partner know you want to work on it together: Now is a perfect time to bring positivity and confidence to the table. Be enthusiastic about your future sex life and encourage him that you can work through this and try new things.
Can’t bring yourself to say it out loud?
Understandable. But, thankfully, the experts agree that talking about it is not the only way to get on the straight and narrow. Instead, you can make a decision to stop faking and subtly change things up.
- Show your partner how you want to be touched – either verbally or nonverbally.
- Introduce some honest (gentle) feedback.
- Try some new things like flirty sex games, reading erotic stories to each other or listening to a sexy podcast together.
- Introduce toys – like a vibrator.
- Play together and take the pressure off of each other when it comes to orgasm.
Instead of focusing on orgasm as the only conclusion to “good” sex, enjoy the non-orgasmic aspects of sex like being physically close to your partner, feeling desired, giving pleasure and experiencing the excitement of arousal and sexual stimulation. Definitely a situation where the journey can be as noteworthy as the destination.
The experts also agree that learning to orgasm on our own is prerequisite to experiencing them with our partners. And the clitoris is central to women’s sexual experiences so don’t forget to focus on your pleasure center during foreplay and beyond. Determine to be honest with your partner about what makes you feel good and stop viewing orgasms as a report card or measure of your (or his) sexual prowess and the only acceptable conclusion to your sexual encounters.
Learning to play together in bed can add a layer to your sex life that you’ll both enjoy. So, focus on pleasure instead of that perfect Hollywood finale and you may just find a happy ending – with or without an orgasm.
Healthline, Anyone Can Fake an Orgasm — but You Don’t Have to If You Don’t Want To, written by Gabrielle Kassel, medically reviewed by Janet Brito, LCSW, CST, June 15, 2020
Psychology Today, 3 Reasons Women Fake Orgasms, Karen L. Blair, Ph.D., September 15, 2019
SELF, Faking Orgasms Isn’t the Real Problem—the Real Problem Is Our Limited View of What Sexual Pleasure Looks Like, Lux Alptraum, November 20, 2018
ABC Everyday, Been Faking Orgasms? Here’s How To Stop (and tell a partner), Kellie Scott, August 26, 2019