While it’s tempting to start this blog by referencing Sally moaning at Katz Delicatessen, I’ll start with myself. Before my long-term current partner, I would occasionally (or, depending on the sex partner, regularly) fake an orgasm. Yup, a few moans, deep breaths, and satisfied sighs got me a ticket to Thank-God-It’s-Finally-Over station. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the sex, often I did, but when realizing that I likely wouldn’t cum, I would feign a mind-blowing erotic conclusion so we could move on to watching an episode of The Sopranos or enjoy a midnight snack.

It wasn’t until my current partner that I felt comfortable enough to share the truth: that I’m not getting off because I’m either: A. Not getting what I need to cum or B. Feeling kinda tired/over it. Once I opened up to my partner, I realized that a big part of me faking orgasms stemmed from not wanting to hurt my partner's feelings. While it could be easy to conclude this paragraph with “but then I realized I was wrong! And then I stopped faking once and for all, the end!”, it wasn’t that easy, and it’s clear that the pressure women consistently face around “not wanting to be a burden” isn’t only something we need to tackle in the workplace-- it’s prevalent in our sex lives as well. 

The Sustain community was kind enough to send in their reasons for faking orgasms, and I could honestly relate to almost every single answer. The overwhelming majority shared that they were tired/not in the mood, looking to “get it over with”, were uncomfortable, their sexual needs were not being met, and the number #1 answer: They didn’t want to hurt their partners' feelings. “Silly, right?”, one person responded. I would like to take this moment and say that no (!!!), it’s not silly (!!!), and you’re certainly not alone. In fact, a 2019 study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior took a sample size of 1,008 women between the ages of 18 and 94, and recorded their responses to why they faked their orgasms, and why, if applicable, they no longer faked them. 42.4% said that they didn’t want to hurt their partners feelings, 40.2% didn’t feel comfortable sharing their own feelings, and 37.7% didn’t share due to embarrassment. The silver lining? While 58.8% of female respondents had faked an orgasm, 67.3% of these women no longer do. 

Now when I feel tempted to fake an orgasm, here are some things I try to be mindful of:

 

My needs are equally important. 

 

Sex should be enjoyable and fun for each person involved. That often means a give-and-take approach to ensure each person feels satisfied. Just as it’s important to listen to your partners’ needs, your pleasure is equally important. If it’s uncomfortable when your partner fingers you, guide them into a different technique, or suggest a different position. If missionary isn’t cutting it, suggest switching it up to your favorite position.

 

My needs are not a bother or distraction.

 

Some days take me longer to orgasm than others, but that doesn’t mean my body is doing anything wrong. It’s simply taking a different path to pleasure. A good partner will work with you to figure out what you need to get off. If penetration doesn’t stimulate you, ask if you can be fingered or if they’re up for oral sex. Finding what gets you off should be an enjoyable, arousing activity for yourself and your partner. 

 

It’s okay if I choose to stop having sex right now. 

 

Sometimes sex is great. Sometimes it’s “meh”. Sometimes the ride was enjoyable enough, and sometimes you just need to call it a day. Sex doesn’t always have to end with a mind-blowing orgasm to be great. Concluding playtime without feeling the need to fake an orgasm can honestly be quite freeing. You’re listening to and speaking up for your body, and what’s better than that?

Photo by Jan Zhukov on Unsplash