The Real Deal

“Never have I ever… faked an orgasm.”

Three pairs of eyes stared at the full cup sitting on the table in front of me.

“Drink,” said the girl I’d been friends with since we were both in diapers.

“No,” I said. “I’ve never faked it.”

“Yes, you have. Everyone has. I know you don’t have a real one every time.”

“Definitely not. But I don’t pretend to when it doesn’t happen.”

So many of my female friends have told me, “All women have faked an orgasm.” But I haven’t. I swear.

For a really long time, I couldn’t understand what a girl’s motivation could be for faking it. What does one stand to gain from convincing their partner they’ve had an orgasm? Do most women really care that much about protecting the guy’s feelings? Does it really make a difference to guys?

At the time, I was in my late teens and early twenties and having a lot of one-night stands. I could barely be bothered to get the last name of the guy I was sleeping with, let alone go out of my way to put on some theatrical performance and make him think I was having the time of my life when I most certainly wasn’t. As far as I was concerned, he wasn’t interested in whether or not I came, and so neither was I. On the rare occasions they would bring me to orgasm, I’d try to hide it, afraid of giving him an ego-boost or appearing vulnerable in some way.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that a lot of guys really are interested in giving a woman an orgasm, or at least they claim to be. It’s been a difficult adjustment for me to go from regarding an orgasm as a rare and accidental byproduct of sex, to the sole point. So often, mere minutes into a sexual encounter with a man I’ve just met, he’ll ask if I’m going to cum, and all I can do is laugh because, at that point, the possibility of an orgasm hasn’t even occurred to me. Any man who thinks that’s all it takes for a girl to orgasm doesn’t know much about women, and has clearly had a lot of previous partners who have faked it.

That question’s always followed by an inquisition on how to make it happen, like each girl has a secret combination of buttons to push and dials to turn, and once you share the code with him, you’ll magically arrive at orgasmic bliss. And then it feels like there’s this huge pressure, like he’s not going to stop pushing until you cum, so you feel like you have to focus on this one goal, which can take all the fun out of the experience and distract you from just enjoying yourself. Yeah, I’m starting to see why women fake it.

As common as faking it is purported to be, I’ve also been cautioned against it. A lot of women have told me that once you fake it, there’s no going back, he’s going to expect you to cum every time, and you’re never going to be able to pursue a real orgasm.

The phenomenon of women faking orgasms serves to convince men that making a woman cum is a quick and simple task, which it is not. This puts pressure on the next woman he’s with to respond as quickly and enthusiastically as his previous partners. This makes it difficult for her to achieve a real orgasm and might eventually drive her to fake it just to get him off her case and avoid hurting his feelings. He’ll then have the same expectations from the next girl who comes along, and so the cycle continues, keeping women from accessing real orgasms.

There’ve been a few instances where I was so, so close to having an orgasm and, for whatever reason, just didn’t. It wasn’t because anyone did anything wrong, and that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself, it just didn’t happen. And when the guy asked if I had, I really wanted to say yes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to lie. I hadn’t faked anything, but if I told him I’d had an orgasm when I hadn’t quite, I worried about the precedent that would set. He’d expect me to cum the next time and the time after that and eventually I would likely get so tired and frustrated, I’d probably start to fake it.

I now understand why women fake orgasms, I can see the temptation. But once you start, it’s hard to stop. Faking it is a slippery slope and the normalization of it ultimately keeps women from experiencing real orgasms and discovering and sharing with their partners what truly turns them on.

Vanessa Baker

Vanessa Baker was born in 1989 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and holds a Bachelor of Journalism with Combined Honours in Human Rights from Carleton University and an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. Her fiction has appeared in Wordlegs and A Thoroughly Good Blue. Her journalistic interests include music and the arts, feminism and sexuality, and social justice. She also writes and performs slam poetry dealing with gender-realted issues. She currently lives in Dublin.

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4 Responses

  1. shar says:

    Your frankness is refreshing so let me please ask you the big question that many dykes and guys want to know: why did you/do you have all that sex if you weren’t coming?

    • When I was younger, it had a lot to do with wanting attention or looking to feel wanted or feeling like I couldn’t really say no or had to go along with it to be cool or whatever. But even though I’ve gotten over that for the most part, an orgasm is never my primary goal when I have sex, and that doesn’t mean I never have them and it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy sex. I think the tendency to regard orgasms as the sole measure of the pleasure and success of a sexual experience is inaccurate. It’s definitely possible to experience pleasure without it escalating to orgasmic level. If all I wanted was an orgasm, I could give myself one in five minutes. Sex, in my opinion, is about the experience as a whole and about enjoying giving someone pleasure in addition to receiving it, it’s not necessarily about reaching a particular finish line.

      • S.Lynne says:

        I totally hear you! And couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the reminder and support to not fake it!! So much of the pleasure is about being naked and touched in places we aren’t routinely touched and sharing kisses and moans and giggles and slaps and whatever anyone happens to be into with that particular partner. Inside, outside, upside down. The journey, not the goal. Besides, so often once the goal is met, the energy winds down. Who wants that?!!?

  1. 11/06/2012

    […] of an attitude that favours boosting your partner’s ego over pursuing real pleasure? Read my thoughts on the Good Vibrations Blog. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to […]