Look, I’m sympathetic to those who fake orgasms. According to a survey of 5,000 conducted by LELO, more than 50% of people have done it at least once. There are valid reasons to do it. Some people know their partners wouldn’t listen if they told them how to give them real pleasure (and don’t want to leave them for whatever reason, although that would justify it). Some just want to end their sexual encounters and, again, know their partners wouldn’t receive that well. Others get turned on by making orgasmic sounds or faces, and they fake it ‘til they make it.
4 Reasons to Never Fake an Orgasm
Even so, making the leap to demanding real orgasms pays off. Not only can it improve communication and intimacy with your partner, it’s also a way of showing yourself that you’re worthy of a great sex life.
If you fake orgasms, here are four reasons to talk to your partner and find a solution.
Read: Fake Orgasms: The Facts & Figures
You Deserve a Real One
The No.1 reason not to fake an orgasm is that it stops you from having a real one. And while sex without an orgasm can still be great, most people would rather have one (or two or three) than not.
If your partner is regularly reaching orgasm, you’ll likely resent them if you don’t as well, because you know that’s not fair. Sex is for mutual enjoyment, not for one person to cater to the other.
Life is too short not to aim for the exciting, juicy, satisfying sex life you want. You deserve all of that and more. You deserve sex beyond your wildest imagination. If that means having real orgasms, that is sure as hell worth all the time, effort and communication necessary to achieve them. And your partner should feel the same way.
Read: Asking for It: 7 Tips to Getting the Sex Life You Always Wanted
You Can Have a Real One
Orgasms come easier to some people than others. If they come harder to you (no pun intended), you and your partner can work at it. Research shows that among women who have never experienced an orgasm, 60-90% can orgasm both alone and with partners after five to six weeks of practice, according to "The Wonder Down Under: The Insider's Guide to the Anatomy, Biology, and Reality of the Vagina" by Ellen Støkken Dahl and Nina Brochmann.
If you’re not sure where to start the conversation, there are some great online resources to help. Sex therapist Vanessa Marin created two courses, Finishing School: Learn How to Orgasm and Finishing School: Orgasm With a Partner, to teach women how to orgasm both alone and with their partners. The site OMGYES shows women and their partners different techniques for touching the vulva. And the sex ed platform O.school offers scripts for talking to your partner about orgasms and even worksheets you can both fill out to learn about each other’s orgasms. And of course, you'll find lots of resources here too!
You can also just have a conversation about what you like, or explore solutions together in sex therapy. Even if it takes some work to figure it out, again, your orgasm is more than worth it. (Playing with sex toys - alone or with a partner - can also help you explore your body and what works for you.)
Honesty Is the Only Way to Get What You Want
Even if it’s not your intention, faking orgasms gives false positive reinforcement. It teaches your partner that they should keep doing whatever they’re doing, even if their technique is actually doing nothing for you.
If your partner is at all decent, they’ll want to please you. So, by being honest about what is and isn’t working, you’re actually helping them get what they want. Even if having an orgasm feels unlikely, you can start by telling your partner what gives you pleasure - any pleasure. Acknowledge the little yummy feelings, and they’ll grow.
Once you learn to speak up, you may even begin to feel more empowered to ask for what you want in other areas, both in and outside the bedroom.
Read: 3 Simple Ways to Have Bigger, Stronger Orgasms
Your Orgasm Is Not for Your Partner’s Ego
Some people fake orgasms because they don’t want to hurt their partners’ feelings. Ultimately, your orgasm is about you. It’s certainly nice to know you can make your partner feel good, but your partner should not be striving for that ego boost at the expense of your own pleasure.
Even though a real orgasm is well worth working toward, it’s also all right to tell your partner you might not orgasm, and that’s OK. A simple line like, “It’s hard for me to orgasm, but don’t worry — I’m still enjoying myself,” can put them at ease. You can both work toward making an orgasm happen for you, but in the meantime, they won’t take it personally if you don’t.
So what if, after reading this, you want to stop faking orgasms, but your partner doesn’t know you’ve been doing it? Come clean and ask for real pleasure. The conversation may be uncomfortable, but it could give you the equality you've always wanted in your sex life — and, if your partner is receptive, it could bring you closer as well.
Want to learn more about orgasms? Check out Orgasms 101: Climax Explained.
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.