We’ve all heard “fake it ‘til you make it,”. But there’s at least one place faking it never works, and it never gives us the result we crave: the bedroom.
Fake orgasms are a common problem, especially for cisgender women. Did you know that one-third of people with vaginas have orgasms infrequently during sex? The orgasm gap is real, and it disproportionately affects heterosexual couples by more than 10 percent.
Faking orgasms happens for many reasons. Lack of confidence, orgasm disorders, past trauma and illness are all common causes. To better understand it, we collected stories from people across genders and orientations. Afterwards, we’ll go over a few ways to work on a solution.
Convincing Even Yourself
I faked every single orgasm I had for the first 5 years I was sexually active! I was not comfortable enough with my body or my sexuality in the presence of another person to truly relax enough to reach orgasm. I also felt I would be “disappointing” the other person or letting them down by not orgasming every time, so I faked it. I got so good at faking it, that I actually convinced myself I was orgasming, even though I knew that it felt different from when I made myself cum.
One of the first women I slept with was pretty harsh with me for not being able to orgasm with her. I’d never orgasmed with a partner before and she made me feel like I was broken. So, eventually I faked it. She realized it and was so upset and I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I remember her saying something like, “I’m a girl, too. Did you think I wouldn’t be able to tell?” It was awful. Now, I never fake it, but I also would never blame someone who felt pressured to fake an orgasm. That would be on me, not them.
I’ve faked the majority of my orgasms with men. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the experience, but more so that the men I’ve been with are unaware that most women aren’t able to have an orgasm vaginally. I know there’s ownership on my part for not always communicating with my partners, and it’s something I am working on.
I am working on being honest with myself and my partner and understanding how my body works so that I can communicate that with a partner, but this faking an orgasm thing was something that started out of having sex at a younger age and doing what I thought my partner wanted. As I’m getting older and having more sexual freedom I’ve realized sex is also about me—not just my partner—and that we should work together as a team.
But the bottom line is I have faked and still fake orgasms because I am trying to do what I think should be done in the bedroom instead of communicating with a partner to satisfy both of our needs, in a society where there is so much stigma around sex.
- Caitlin I.
The weird thing for me is that until a few years ago I never knew I was faking it, because I did have pleasurable experiences and genuinely thought what I was feeling were orgasms. They’re usually described in such vague, secretive terms that it was hard to know what sensation or muscular response I was supposed to have until I finally did. It was a total shock and made me rediscover how my own body works. Haven’t faked since!
- Leah F.
Trauma And Learning
The boy I lost my virginity to was sexually experienced, but not enough to know what he was doing. I hated heterosexual porn (still do) so I really didn’t know what it sounded like when women came. I tried all kinds of silly theatrics that mostly felt dramatic and ridiculous. I’m sure most of the time what I was doing seemed like a feral animal more than a woman having an orgasm.
I faked them because as much as I wanted to have one I wasn’t experimenting enough with my own body and was dealing with getting over sexual abuse. It was impossible to become comfortable enough to even try. I would have many partners, but it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I actually came.
I’ll never forget coming to school the next day, explaining to my friends the feeling I had and asking them “what the hell was that?” They giggled at me and told me I had an orgasm! I was almost embarrassed because I didn’t want to seem like an amateur. Self-experimentation and healthy sex opened the flood gates.
The fake orgasm performances turned into multiple real ones as I began learning how to love myself and focus enough to relax and experience pleasure.
- Leah G.
It’s Just Normal, Right?
I faked mine because I thought it was normal to not orgasm during intercourse with a partner (though I could orgasm plenty on my own).
- Jordan N.
Male-Bodied Individuals Struggle Too
I had been on a few dates with this girl and things were going well. We arranged to go for a night out in the city and get a room afterwards. By this point, we’ve spent a couple of weeks flirting heavily and building up some remarkable sexual tension. She was talented and confident, but for whatever reason I just couldn’t get there. After a while I could tell she was getting tired and I guess the pressure of having to cum made it harder for me to.
I realized this just wasn’t going to happen but I didn’t want her to feel insulted, so I acted more riled up, got on top, and faked an orgasm.
I’ve faked orgasms a handful or more times with different partners. Usually I do it because nerves keep me from reaching that point, but I want to end on a good note with my partner.
The partners I’ve mentioned this to are usually just surprised or amused that a male-bodied person can have this issue.
- Alix D.
Just Get It Over With
Basically a guy has never given me an orgasm, despite me being able to give them to myself and being boggled as to why guys can’t. I especially faked them with my first boyfriend because I started to get a bit bored of explaining again and again that I didn’t have one, or with him wanting to keep going when it was quite boring and mediocre, so I would fake one for it to be over.
- Molly D.
More Than One Cause
I’ve recently found myself in a rut through this pandemic and recent personal changes that completely turned my world upside down. Going back on medication, I have been experiencing apathy and impulsive tendencies towards reckless behaviors—something my doctor is now aware of and I am hopefully getting treatment for. I’ve begun to have sex with strangers from Tinder. In this incident, I had been having sex with this one guy for at least two weeks at his job in a secluded parking lot.
The other day, when we met up, he had me immediately get on my knees to give him a blow job. Afterwards I expected a kiss and some foreplay, but instead he had me turn around and we fucked. Because I didn’t get foreplay, I faked at least two orgasms so we could get it over with. It was only afterwards that we kissed a bit and I wanted to have sex again. Later I did tell him I need more foreplay, because it didn’t really come to me in the moment that was missing.
Power Tripping, Falling, and Getting Up Again
I have NEVER had an orgasm with a man. Most of the time when I was having sex in my college days, it was all about power for me. Yes, an orgasm would've been nice, but being able to fully control a man was much more of a draw for me. I have never felt emotionally close to any man, so for me, sex was honestly just a power move. A physical reaction to their desire that I could control.
Cut to me, finally giving into my sexuality and exploring women. I've still faked a few orgasms, but most of the time it was bliss and since meeting my now wife, I have NEVER faked an orgasm with her and have NEVER not gotten off when we have sex. Maybe emotional connection played a bigger role in my orgasm journey than I gave it credit.
- Haley L.
So, What Now?
There are dozens of reasons people fake orgasms, but the result is always the same. Faking it means feeling less self-confident, and it can often lead us to question our own bodies and sexuality.
There are just as many unique ways to address the problem, but here’s a starting point:
- If you feel the problem is medical or psychological, you may want help from an expert. Consider talking to a therapist or a doctor.
- Initiate open, honest communication. Vulnerable dialogue is difficult, but in many cases it’s the best solution. A respectful partner will understand your needs, even in a casual setting.
- Brush up on your sex education. Do you know about the many different types of orgasms? What about clitoral versus G-spot stimulation? The more you understand pleasure and your own body, the more likely you will be able to achieve orgasm.
- Introduce new toys. The best toys for women and people with vaginas combine clitoral stimulation and G-spot stimulation. There are many options that can be used during solo play or partner play and make pleasure easier and more comfortable.
- Try sex coaching. Sex and relationship coaches differ from therapists and medical doctors, and their sole goal is to help you take charge of your pleasure. It can change your sex life for the better, and help you navigate vulnerable moments.
We hope you’ll take time for yourself, whether during National Orgasm Month or any other time of year, to try having stronger orgasms, experience new types of orgasms or work on intimate partner communication. While pleasure is a journey, not a destination, you deserve to feel good in and about your body.