‘Most women at one time or another have faked it,’ says Sally Albright, in the iconic diner scene of When Harry Met Sally.
And she’s not wrong.
By now, we’ve all heard of the orgasm gap. Insights from the International Academy of Sex Research found that 95% of heterosexual men usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.
It’s perhaps not surprising then, that three out of four women have at some point faked an orgasm.
While we know that sex is not a goal-based activity, getting there is pretty great. But for many, the orgasm is a tricky mistress, and the environment has to be just right to reach peak pleasure.
Vanessa Feltz recently revealed that she faked orgasms during her relationship with ex-partner, Ben Ofoedu.
According to her, sometimes, it’s just good manners.
She said: ‘Sometimes your partner is trying every trick in the book. They have been twiddling and licking and flicking. They’re absolutely 10/10 for effort.
‘I’m not saying do it every time but on those occasions – when you’re not concentrating and thinking about defrosting the freezer and are never going to get there – you’ve got to fake it, it’s only polite.’
Of course, there are actually many different reasons why people choose to fake it – from wanting to end a particular form of sexual play to using it as a way to avoid talking about sexual discrepancies.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some say that faking an orgasm – from contractions to moans – helps get the body in the mood to have a real one.
So if you are faking it, should you come clean?
Sex and relationships expert, Ness Cooper, says it all depends on why you’re faking in the first place.
She says: ‘If you’re faking orgasm due to sexual difficulties or imbalances in your relationships, talking about it can help you both find a solution.
‘However, if you feel happy and even gain positive feelings from faking orgasms, they may not be as bad as some make out – some may even enjoy the performative moments that come from faking it.
‘I don’t think it helps shaming individuals for something they wish to do during consensual sex.
‘It’s also worth remembering that sex or masturbation doesn’t have to involve orgasms, and due to past education and societal expectations, many of us have been led to falsely believe that orgasms define – and end – sex.’
However, if faking orgasms is something you want to move away from and stop, Ness has some advice.
She explains: ‘If you’re faking orgasms and want to talk about it to your partner, don’t blame them, they simply may not have learned how to help someone orgasm.
‘Educate them with conversations around what you enjoy sexually, and even show them methods you prefer when it comes to self-pleasure and reaching orgasm.
‘If it’s just partnered sex you fake orgasms in, having conversations about sex toys can help you talk about how they may lead to better, or more frequent, orgasms.
‘Attending sex and relationship coaching or therapy with a partner can help you become more aware of how your body gets turned on, and the phrases of orgasm it goes through during stimulation from masturbation and sex.’
And if things feel a little awkward after you’ve had this chat, Ness encourages couples to give it time.
She says: ‘Understand that it can take a while for feelings around finding out a partner has been faking orgasms to settle.
‘Your partner may be confused and unsure about their sexual ability, but reassure them it’s all just part of learning how each others bodies work and enjoy sex.
‘Some may find their self-esteem knocked a bit, due to how giving orgasms is seen by society as a sign of masculinity and being a “man”.
‘But it’s more important to focus on what it means for you and your sexual partner and whether or not it works for you. What makes you both happy when it comes to sex?’
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