I’m sitting in my lounge watching The Morning Show on Australia’s Channel 7. They’ve run a segment about why faking orgasms may be good for women. Needless to say, my eyebrows shot up at the suggestion. I couldn’t think of one reason why it would be good for a woman to fake it.
Here’s what their expert had to say, in a nutshell:
A recent study says 67% of women fake it – the study says this can heighten arousal. Hmmm – not sure how that works, to be honest. Thankfully they had someone commenting. Sexpert Tracey Cox was interviewed about the research and noted that men will compare their non-orgasming girlfriend with previous orgasming girlfriends, and may view the non-O girlfriend as lesser. Hmmm youch. She did go on to say that we shouldn’t fake it, thank goodness, and that we ought to be honest about our desires, and less orgasm-orientated.
The question of orgasms and faking should be one we consider carefully. The images we see of sex in action is often one that is highly performative – we see lots of writhing and moaning and signs of arousal, particularly from women. One of the reasons for this, apparently, is that unlike men, women’s arousal is less visible, so we need to give other signals. Men have erections, women have… performance.
Problematically, the kinds of sexual performance we see as a guide to how to be sexual aren’t necessarily accurate. Most of these come from the media – highly stylised and romanticised movie sex, or more sexually orientated pornography, neither of which are particularly realistic. In this regard we ought to ignore these sources of information and start with another – our own bodies. If during sex we feel the urge to wiggle around or moan, then well and good. But if we feel like we need to perform these behaviours when they are not genuine, we set ourselves up for failure. Why? Well, hopefully that will be visible in my list:
Some reasons not to fake it (arousal, pleasure and orgasm)
- Faking it reinforces ineffectual sexual performance: if you are someone who likes to have your partner get you there, then moaning when s/he is not is only going to prompt him/her to continue on doing exactly the wrong thing. Yeah, not ideal.
- Faking closes down opportunities to learn and communicate: yes it’s hard at times (no pun intended) but talking about sex is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your sex life. But once it starts, it’s not that big of a deal. Faking it though stops you being able to talk about what you feel, desire, want and don’t want. Why would you want to talk about things if you are apparently having a great old time? Your partner’s pride might be bruised initially, but he or she will thank you in the long run.
- Faking = lying: hmmmm yeah, not so nice when you think about it this way. Your partner won’t appreciate you trying to pad their ego by faking it and lying when you are engaged in something many consider to be intimate.
- Orgasms aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of sex: faking it makes orgasm the most important thing in sex, and frankly, that’s just not the case. Sex without orgasm can be immensely enjoyable, and sex with orgasm can be immensely unsatisfying. There is more to sex than the big O, but faking it says the opposite.
Part of the reason women fake is to protect their partner’s egos. For men, sex is something we as a society consider them to be experts in – or as the terminology goes, they are supposed to be sexperts. This is an unrealistic expectation. We are all different. Our bodies respond differently to physical, emotional and mental stimuli – what man could possibly anticipate that? Being competent is one thing, but being expert, another.
Sexpertise makes sex problematic for a couple of reasons: it suggests that when you sleep with a sexpert they are going to know what you want/need/like which in turn stops the need to communicate – if he knows what’s good, why do you need to tell him. Problem: he can launch in and not expect any direction or feedback from you, and you can lie back thinking that you don’t need to communicate anything because he should know what he’s doing. See the problem? Faking orgasm is part of this dynamic – you fake to tell him he is the sexpert, despite the fact that he may not be.
Chasing the orgasm can make your sex life less than enjoyable. Yes they are great to have, no doubt about that, but they are not everything there is to sex. Not having a goal to sex other than enjoyment is likely to take the pressure off for everyone – no need to perform to support a supposedly fragile ego (are our partners really that vulnerable to feedback?), and no need to chase after something that you might not have at the expense of an enjoyable time.
And just as an aside, if you’re sleeping with someone who compares your sex life to a previous partner, there may be reasons other than him or her thinking you are sexually inadequate to not be sleeping with said individual.
Remember, no none is responsible for our pleasure but us. It’s great to have a partner that has worked out what makes us quiver and groan. But it’s far better if we know what makes that happen for us. Then we can communicate that to our sexual partners, which in the long run will be better for our sex lives because our partners will participate in honest sexual events where they can feel comfortable about what they are doing, whilst knowing you are enjoying yourself too. Without the pressure of performance.