The problem with faking an orgasm is that if you do it once, it can start to spiral.
You did it early on in the relationship, and now your partner expects you to climax every time – or whenever they do that one move your expert performance convinced them you love.
Soon enough, that occasional fakery has trapped you in a cycle: now you have to keep pretending you’ve come, because if you don’t, you’re worried your partner will think they’ve done something terribly wrong.
This pattern is rubbish for everyone.
When you’re constantly faking it, you accept that a genuine orgasm just isn’t going to happen. That might mean you settle for less-than-great sex, or are using your acting skills to just get things ‘over and done with’.
It sets you up for a future of not-as-satisfying sex, because if you convince your partner that what they’re doing is mindblowing, there’s no reason for them to mix things up or up their skills.
It’s sh*t for your partner, too, who – if your performance is really great – will be completely oblivious to the reality that you’re not having a great time.
Orgasm-faking also has a more subtle destructive effect, in that it holds up the idea that if you don’t come, you and your partner have ‘failed’.
The truth is that sex can still be super enjoyable without ticking off an end goal of orgasm – but if we use climax as the only acceptable signifier that sex is ‘complete’, it can be difficult to just relax and enjoy all the other great parts of getting intimate.
So, all that is why we shouldn’t fake orgasms. But anyone in the trap will know getting out of it doesn’t feel as simple as just deciding to put down their acting hat.
How can you break the cycle? Do you need to come clean?
It’s down to just how comfortable you feel being entirely honest with your partner.
If you’re the no-holds-barred type, you might want to have one sit-down chat and get it all out of the way.
‘You can go straight for the truth and tell a partner you’ve been faking your orgasms from day one and this is now your ground zero of truth for how you want the intimacy between you to evolve,’ suggests senior therapist Sally Baker. ‘But that might be too tough a call and not constructive for how your partner feels they can trust you.’
If you do go for the abrupt orgasm intervention approach, it’s important you avoid blaming, shaming language.
Open up the conversation by explaining why you’ve felt the need to fake it, rather than going down a ‘you’re rubbish in bed and not getting me off’ route.
If you’re into this direct style of communicating, you can then state that you will no longer be faking orgasms, note that your partner shouldn’t be alarmed, and discuss any changes you’d like to make to your sex life going forward – whether that’s specific techniques you’re not a fan of or making it clear that it’s okay to call an end to a sex session without an orgasm happening.
There’s also the more gradual, subtle approach.
In this case, you stop faking it, but don’t make an official statement about this decision.
You can then wait a little longer for your partner to ask whether you’re enjoying things (at which point you can either pretend there’s been a change and what used to work isn’t doing the trick anymore, or own up to previously faking it) or have some more relaxed chats about what you like in bed.
‘Some people might choose to explain away their previous finger-trigger fake orgasmic state by saying they’re feeling more stressed or preoccupied these days and need their partner to help by changing up their intimacy and doing something different,’ notes Sally.
‘You’ll know how much information you’re willing to share and how detrimental being completely honest could be to your relationship.’
It’s up to you how open you are with your partner. You can have a super-freeing moment where you air previous fakery moments and start fresh, or go for a more gentle path of smaller tweaks.
The key with both approaches, however, is stopping the faking. Don’t delay that bit.
‘The common reason we fake orgasms is that we are not confident to ask for the type of touch, sexual technique or the time we need to come naturally to orgasm,’ says Sally.
‘We have bought the lies of romantic fiction and of pornography that we are supposed to be able to orgasm wholly from penetrative sex and that we all have a hair-trigger clitoris that even when ignored and overlooked is primed to orgasm.
‘Faking holds us back from experiencing genuinely great sex.’
Genuinely brilliant sex depends on honesty – whether you choose to put it all up-front or navigate those in-the-moment discussions of what’s working for you.
‘Some people choose to continue faking their orgasms for years,’ notes Sally. ‘They’d rather do that than trust another person to give them pleasure or have to share any level of sexual vulnerability with them.
‘For authentic connection with a sexual partner, it’s helpful if you are honest with yourself and with them about what you need during sexual intimacy to come to orgasm.’
Once you let go of the pressure to orgasm, you’ll likely find yourself having better sex – if only because you’re finally able to relax and enjoy it, rather than calculating when you should start forcing out some moans and making your breathing heavier.
Sally says: ‘If they don’t make you cum it’s okay that they know the truth. You’re not a failure if you need time and effort to reach orgasm – especially with someone new – so stop selling yourself short and breathe.
‘Nothing makes orgasm less likely than noodling around inside your head.
‘Rewarding sex is sometimes a leap of faith and allowing your strategies for controlling every eventuality to fall away and instead just be there, present in the moment, and see what happens.’