Welcome to Hump Day, where award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sexiest questions—unjudged and unfiltered. Have a quandary? Email us anonymously at HumpDay@instyle.com.
DEAR DR. JENN,
For the past couple months, I've been faking orgasms with a guy I’ve been dating because I didn’t feel relaxed enough around him to get off but I didn’t want him to feel insecure. Now that guy is my boyfriend, and he thinks he’s great at what he does but his methods don’t totally … do it for me. How do I go from making him think he’s a sex god to dropping the bomb that my orgasms are sub-par—when they even happen? —Faking It in Florida
DEAR FAKING IT,
I get it. You're trying not to bruise any egos. You're looking out for your lover. The thing is, really, you’re not. Faking orgasms does a disservice to both of you. Believe it or not, both men and women fake orgasm—it’s just more common among women.
You are not alone in your feeling about needing to be comfortable and connected in order to have a great orgasm. Studies show that women are half as likely to orgasm from intercourse or oral sex when it's a casual hook-up verses from those same acts in a serious relationship.
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For those of you thinking about faking it—and we often do when we feel bad that we haven’t gotten there despite valiant efforts—let me stop you before you start. For those of you who are already in the fauxgasm club, let me inspire you to turn things around, not just for your personal pleasure but also for the sake of your well-meaning lover. (And also kind of for women everywhere!) Here is why you need to stop or, you know, just not start in the first place:
1) It gives sexual misinformation. When you let your partner believe that his moves are giving you orgasms, he will continue to perform them, and nothing will change. This is an international problem. Studies show that 90 percent of men in Brazil and 75 percent of men in the States are convinced that their partners regularly climax from vaginal intercourse alone, even though research shows that only 25 percent of women climax that way.
2) It’s a lie. Creating a safe environment for sex means being gentle but honest. It is devastating to find out that your partner has been faking it. By telling your boyfriend what you think he wants to hear instead of expressing your actual sexual needs, you have been accidentally disorienting him and hurting your sex life in the process. Open, clear communication is one of the core building blocks of mind-blowing sex. But that's a skill you need to develop. You've been skipping practice sessions.
3) It prevents you from gaining clarity about what you like. If you are unable to say, “Hey, try touching me here,” you can't learn what you enjoy most with your partner. Opening up about your pleasure is not only an education for your boyfriend. You'll learn how to communicate what gets you off and figure out the nuances of what you like and don't. Plus, he may have a few tricks up his sleeve that you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing because he thought the old ones were working just fine—ask him to switch it up and you may be surprised by what you discover.
4) Faking it generates resentment. Currently, you're trapped in a cycle of unsatisfying sex. We don't want you there. We want you to be excited by and satisfied by your partner in every way. Not annoyed that he came and you didn't.
5) Women need to stick together! I'm not saying you need to train your boyfriend so that if and when you ever break up, he can have hotter sex with someone else. No. But can you imagine how much womankind would benefit if we all stopped faking orgasms for good? That person you hooked up with in college—the one with the totally inflated sex ego who was actually entirely selfish in bed? Yeah, in the long run, those people wouldn't exist. What a utopia, right? Beyond that, the psychology that you should feel guilty or pressured if you're not climaxing in a "timely manner" does not do wonders for your sense of self-worth. You deserve the sexual experience you're aiming for. You do not owe it to anyone to come faster or like things you don't like, and internalizing that will make you more confident in the sheets and everywhere else.
Okay, now that you've been thoroughly convinced that faking orgasms is never the answer, what should you do about your sweet boyfriend who doesn't quite know your body as well as he thinks he does? There is no need to confess your sins and destroy your partner’s sexual self-esteem. First, start pulling back on your fake O’s. The things that turn us on change over time. Let your partner know that you have noticed a shift in your body’s responses and that you would like to try some different things.
Now ask for what you really want. And if you are struggling with how to do that, read my column next week!