We Should Not Be Faking Orgasms, Ever

by Kristen Mae
Originally Published: 

I’ve never faked an orgasm. This is not a source of pride — not the result of always having been the master of my own vagina, orgasming on command and thus never “needing” to fake it. In my college days and well into my twenties, I simply took it for granted that the man gets off every single time, and the woman only gets off when it’s one of four specific days in her menstrual cycle, the dishes are done, the bills are paid, the sheets are fresh, her pelvic region has been recently groomed, the temperature is exactly 71 degrees, Mercury is not in retrograde, and no cats are spectating from the foot of the bed with a murderous gleam in their eye. Oh, and as long as she can achieve orgasm in under five minutes. Vaginas just kind of got a raw deal like that, ha ha, oh well!

But, hey, I never faked it. It just never occurred to me to do that. It made more sense to me to blame my stupid uncooperative lady body and move on with life. (Update: I’ve since learned I’m queer, and both my body and my partner are solidly cooperative.)

Of course, I’d heard of faking. I know, especially if we’re talking about your stereotypical straight, cisgender pairing, that women faking orgasms is a thing that happens quite a lot. The reasons women give for faking it run the gamut from not wanting to hurt her partner’s feelings, to just wanting to “get it over with,” to feeling like her vagina is broken.

Folks, this is sad. We should not be faking orgasms, ever. I could go into all the ways I’m angry at toxic masculinity for creating a culture in which women not only deny themselves pleasure, but also feel compelled to lie about it. I could talk about how social conditioning has trained us to have more concern for our partner’s fragile ego than for our own sexual pleasure. But the problem is deeper than toxic masculinity. Women aren’t just protecting the fragile male ego; they’re calling themselves broken. They’re assuming their sexual satisfaction isn’t even worth the trouble.

We’ve got to stop this. Can we owners of vaginas, regardless of with which gender we identify, make a solemn pact together?

Never fake an orgasm for anyone, for any reason.

Besides the fact that faking an orgasm causes you personally to surrender your own pleasure and confuses your partner about what does and does not get you off, there is a bigger picture here. Pop culture contributes to the idea that women should be able to come quickly. In porn, in books, in romance movies, the woman always comes almost instantly. I get that “Bridgerton” doesn’t have 20 minutes to spare on a scene that portrays the entire smoldering climb toward Daphne’s eventual earth-shattering orgasm, but my goodness, do they really have to make it appear as though she comes every time in the first 15 seconds? She only just learned like two days ago that she had a clitoris. Faking orgasms adds to these unrealistic expectations.

And we assume that men’s egos are too fragile to handle being told they didn’t get their partner to the finish line. We have ridiculous expectations about what men deserve sexually (to come every time) and how much truth they can handle regarding their erotic prowess (not very much).

Two things here: One, if you’re with a man whose ego is too fragile to be told he needs to try harder, or try something else, throw the whole entire man directly into the garbage. Byeeee. Two, if he isn’t a fragile-egoed wanker who needs to go in the trash, you can safely assume he actually gives a shit about learning to please you. So don’t lead him astray by pretending you’re getting off when you aren’t. That is some very unhelpful (and honestly pretty unfair) shit, and contributes to the confusion about what it takes to make a vagina come.

Never deny yourself pleasure based on the assumption that you are flawed, or “broken.”

Of course, there are medical conditions and medications that can throw a major wrench in a person’s ability to orgasm. But absent that, if you’re just taking a long time because your vagina likes to warm up a bit before shifting into high gear, you are valid in taking that time. You’re not flawed, and you’re not broken. If you can’t orgasm with penetration, that is super, duper normal. The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy surveyed over a thousand women and found that a measly 18% orgasm from penetration alone. Eighteen percent! You’re a wondrous creature whose parts need and deserve the attention required to learn how to get all the way there. There is nothing wrong with you. Of course, it’s possible you’re like I was and your sexuality hasn’t clicked; that may be something to explore.

Regardless, every vagina is different. They all like different kinds of touch, and they all have their own speed for getting there, and any details about that process that start to feel predictable can change based on how the vagina owner feels that day, how they feel about their partner, or which direction the wind is blowing. But a persnickety vagina is not a less deserving vagina. It’s all valid. Get yours. Or don’t; it’s also okay to say, “I’ve enjoyed this, but an orgasm isn’t happening today,” and stop. No faking necessary. Again, if your partner can’t handle this, into the garbage they go.

It’s time for some vagina awareness.

I’m not against porn, or books with a main character who comes in under 400 words, or television series like “Bridgerton” where orgasms take approximately 30 seconds from the first tentative drawing aside of a petticoat to the final mind-bending climax. But, like, can we also have some general vagina awareness here? Folks with penises do not need to grow up with stupid, wrong ideas about how vaginas work, but nor should those of us with vaginas. It would be helpful for everyone who has a vagina or wants to have sex with one to know that the spectrum for “normal” is a vast one indeed. If we knew that from the start, we wouldn’t be so quick to assume that a failure to orgasm was a failure in general — not for the owner of the vagina, and not for the partner attempting to bring that vagina to climax.

Vaginas are beautiful in all their unhurried, mysterious glory. They are just as magical and wondrous when they don’t orgasm as when they do; just as worthy if they come in five minutes or 45. No need to fib about it.

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