Despite the fact that they feel so good, orgasms — or rather, the lack thereof — can be a major source of stress for people. Instead of waiting for one to happen organically, some people decide to fake them for a variety of reasons. But is that really fair to you or your partner? And is there ever a good time to fake an orgasm?
“Orgasm is the base of all female power,” Jenny Block writes in her book O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm. “Detach from it and we literally repress ourselves, our power, and our ability to rise. Connect to it and we are a force to be reckoned with, the likes of which no one has ever seen.”
According to the 2018 Skyn Condoms Millennial Sex Survey, although more participants who identified as women reported that they rarely or never fake orgasms, more women are likely to be fakers than men. In fact, the survey found that 63 percent of females report having faked an orgasm compared to 43 percent of males.
Meanwhile, only 12 percent of females report faking orgasm “always” or “most of the time.” Interestingly, only 29 percent of those dating several people say they “never” fake an orgasm compared to 50 percent of those in committed relationships or married.
Why do people fake it?
We know people fake orgasms…but why?
Kayla Lords, writer and sexpert for Jack and Jill can't think of any good reason to fake an orgasm. “It's much better to learn how to communicate your sexual needs so that you can have the orgasm you want,” she says.
Still, orgasms are not a given for everyone — even when they communicate with their partner.
“Orgasm isn’t easy or automatic. It isn’t something some people are good at and some people are bad at,” Block tells SheKnows. “Sure, some people might be born with some innate talent. But in general, it’s like everything else. You have to practice. You have to commit. You have to focus. And you have to put in the time. You’ll get better at it, and it will come easier. And it’ll be worth it.”
If you’re with a new partner, Block suggests starting the conversation from the top. “If you start with what’s real and true, then you never have to untangle and get out from whatever sexual lies you’ve woven,” she says. “That’s why faking is so damn dangerous. Once you fake it, you’ve said, ‘I like what you’re doing.’ If you have to retreat from that, it can make your partner feel very untrusting and unsafe.”
Block says she’s done herself a major disservice every time she’s faked the big O. Why? “Because I was basically telling my partner that what we did resulted in an orgasm, which implies that said acts bear repeating, when most often not, nothing could be farther from the truth,” she writes in her book.
On the other hand, Jennifer Rahner of GeekySexyLove thinks we tend to be too orgasm-focused in our culture, perhaps because of porn's depiction of "the money shot" — a male coming or female squirting — which seems these days to end the action.
Instead, Block suggests taking the focus off the orgasm as the end-all, be-all, must-do. “Sex doesn’t always lead to orgasm, but it must always lead to pleasure, so, tell the truth every time,” she says. “That’s not always easy, I know. Especially when you have an eager beaver on your hands who is determined to make you come at all costs.”
She suggests reminding your partner that you get to decide what you want them to do to you, when and for how long. And if you’re done, you’re done, regardless of whether or not you’ve had an orgasm. And if you don’t need an orgasm to feel satisfied, that’s OK too.
“So, while it might seem like some sort of honorable, selfless act to fake orgasm or to forgo orgasm instead of asking for what you want or lending a hand, it’s actually an incredibly selfish act not to allow your partner the same pleasure they are granting you—the pleasure to please,” Block writes in her book.
Is faking an orgasm ever OK?
There are very few instances when faking an orgasm makes (kind of) sense. Sure, I get that sometimes you want to put an end to sex. Right. This. Minute.
It’s perfectly OK to tell a partner that you aren’t going to orgasm and wish to stop. And maybe you really, really want to make your partner happy, so you tilt back your head, let out a porntastic moan and pretend for the sake of your partner. If you’re fine with either of these scenarios, so be it, but ultimately, you’re giving your partner the false idea that they’re making you come.
“Why would you do that — to them and to yourself?” asks Rahner. “If you feel the urge to fake it with a partner, we strongly recommend you examine why that might be the case and make changes toward communicating better for truly shared intimacy.”
This all serves as a reminder that communication is key to all relationships. The more clear, simple and uncomplicated the better — for you, your partner and your orgasm.