Faking orgasms

Feeling like you aren’t getting what you want in bed and being unable to ask for it can be frustrating and upsetting.

Why am I faking orgasm?

People fake orgasms for all sorts of reasons. These range from the "let’s just get it over with" through to "nothing is happening for me but my partner will be so disappointed if I don’t look and sound as if I’m enjoying it...." as well as “ I think it’s supposed to sound and look like this – even though I’m not feeling it” and everything in between. After all, mostly we want a partner to feel appreciated or that they've done a good job – whatever it might be. The problem with faking orgasm though is it may mean you never actually get around to talking through what could be different. Maybe you need more time to get aroused, maybe you need a ‘kinder’ day, or a lover who is able and actually wants to understand what your sexual needs might be.  

For some people though, orgasm isn’t really important. Just being close and sensual with a partner where sex that does or does not result in orgasm is fine. Maybe you’ve seen things in films and social media that suggest having an orgasm has to sound and look a certain way. It doesn’t. Everyone is different and how orgasm feels and what helps to have one varies enormously.  

Sometimes communication about sex and orgasms in particular, just feels too difficult or embarrassing but often, taking that first step to ‘own’ how you feel and what you might need could get easier with practice. Best to approach any conversation like this from a non-blaming position too. Nothing shuts down conversations about sex quicker than feeling criticized or to blame. 

Some of this has to do with how we’re brought up. Perhaps only the mechanics of sex were talked about. Maybe anything to do with gratification or enjoyment was considered a step too far to discuss. Maybe any form of self-exploration was frowned upon, joked about, or considered selfish or dirty. Any and all of these negative experiences can impact how much we know about our own bodies and what brings us pleasure. After all, if you find it tricky to help a partner know what does it for you because you’re not too sure yourself, it can be difficult to take ‘ownership’ of what you want to be different sexually. 

How do I talk about sex?

If things aren’t how you’d like them to be, you want something different, or just want to share something positive with a partner, the best way to get started is by simply giving it a go. Of course, this is easier said than done. 

You may be worrying about your partner’s reaction to what you’re going to say. You may worry that they’re going to be hurt or upset - or even that they’ll just feel awkward and not know what to say. And, while there’s no way of guaranteeing this won’t be the case, remaining silent isn’t likely to yield any positive results either. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about how you’d feel if you didn’t take the plunge - what if things stayed the same for another year, or even two? This can help you appreciate just how big a problem this is for you - whether it’s something you can live with or something you need to fix. 

One very useful tip is to try and talk when you’re both already feeling positive about the relationship and about each other. At a time when you feel close and relaxed, you’re much more likely to be able to listen to what each other has to say and take it in. 

If you think your hesitations around talking about sex may be more related to your self-esteem, this is going to require a slightly different kind of conversation. It’s going to be more about telling your partner how you feel, and what you find difficult. You may need to think about any insecurities that are making it tricky for you to express yourself in this way. If you’re having trouble, simply start with how it feels when you think about asking for what you want - and where these feelings might be coming from. You may also think back to earlier experiences that could have affected your ability to do this - things that may have happened when you were younger, or in previous relationships. 

While in some ways, it may feel like any issues are ‘your’ problem - something you’re bringing to the table that’s up to you to solve - ultimately, this is something that you and your partner will need to work on together. After all, you’re not just two separate people: you’re also sharing an intimate part of your lives. And additionally - you’re much more likely to be successful if you do things as a team. 

In the end, regardless of the reasoning behind it, the objective when it comes to talking about sex is usually the same. It’s about reconnecting as a couple, coming to understand how each other is feeling, and learning how to work on problems together. And while it’s undeniably scary doing so - especially if you haven’t had much practice - the potential benefits usually more than outweigh the risks. 

Ultimately, don’t let anyone tell you how orgasm ‘should’ be. It’s important when it’s important and not when it isn’t. If you want to talk through anything about orgasm or sex generally then Relate’ sex therapists can help you or you and a partner work through any problems. Faking it or not, we’re here to help. 

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