In defense of faking it

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Not all orgasms are created equally. Or rather, not all orgasms are truly orgasms. Like far too many others, I’m guilty of faking a climax during sex. If lying about orgasms was a crime, I’d be serving life in prison. 

Nearly all of my sexual endeavors build to a similar scene. A bout of lust may inspire giggles, clumsy cuddles or passionately getting right to business. With clothes sprawled around the room, we toss through different positions and moan just enough to keep the neighbors at bay. A lot of energy hones in on one moment, and then the time finally feels right; it’s time for me to heighten everything we’ve worked toward. My rise to fame begins.

As if scripted, I staggeringly clutch my partner’s arm, digging my fingers in as if the feeling is just so overwhelming that I must brace for impact. I stammer over the words “I, I’m about to come. I’m so close.” Then all goes silent. My jaw drops, eyes roll back and the rest is to be assumed. 

The curtain falls and I receive an onslaught of Oscar nominations. 

There’s probably a congregation of people like me somewhere, equally tainted with lies of utmost pleasure. That quintessential zenith of sexual satisfaction doesn’t come easily to everyone, so sometimes, we need to put on a little performance. It feels like a harmless white lie in the moment, wrapped up with nothing short of good intentions. 

Of the sexual partners I’ve had, there was only one with whom I was truly honest. In our “friends with benefits” situation, it was a perfect sexual relationship, but far from a romantic one. I had fewer emotions on the line, so I admitted that I had never orgasmed with a partner. I was honest about my pleasure. I told him that I really didn’t know what I needed in order to orgasm, so we communicated and experimented with what we each thought might work. 

Even if the orgasms were quite nice in that relationship, other aspects of it didn’t equate. I may have been happy in the bedroom, but I wasn’t elsewhere. As I’ve entered new relationships, I’m hesitant to mimic aspects of what sexually worked in that one and to bring the same manner of open communication.

I’m not proud of my little performances. I would love to have equal and honest channels of pleasure in the bedroom, but communication at times is just as hard as reaching an orgasm. By no fault of my partner or myself, I just can’t always reach a full body orgasm experience. 

Faking it is incredibly controversial. Some say doing so sacrifices your own pleasure or creates a foundation of dishonesty. But I think it’s more complicated than that. From personal experience, I can say there are typically three reasons why I fake it:

  • To please my partner. Of all of the sexual and romantic partners I’ve had, each of them mattered to me deeply. Even in a hookup, we shared energy and I loved them in that moment, so I wanted to please them. I wanted them to feel good about themselves and their performance, both physically and emotionally. If that meant lying to them about the extent of my pleasure, so be it. The pleasure that it gives my partner gives me pleasure. 
  • To wrap things up. Even when the sex is great, I sometimes reach a point where I’m approaching exhaustion and become as satisfied as I can be. I’ve found that my little climatic performances bring my partner to completion, and thus, wrap things up. If I genuinely want to stop, I will verbalize it, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. But sometimes, I don’t want to cut my partner short from reaching their climax, so I just give them a little boost toward the finish line. 
  • To get as close to a climax as possible. The reason people sometimes fake orgasms is not because their partner is unsatisfactory. I may be having a great time, but nothing that my partner or I do can bring me to an orgasm. I find that by faking an orgasm, the excitement it instills in my partner brings them to put in a bit more effort. This doesn’t exactly bring me to an orgasm, but rather toward whatever climax point I’m able to reach that day. 

I have had unforgettable orgasms. But I still feel valid in my reasons for faking it. Sex isn’t just about orgasms and to reduce it to only that removes so much of the other pleasures. I’m not there to check a climax off my to-do list. I’m there for the passion and connection. If I need to fake it for my partner to feel validated, I’ll do it. 

Contact Natalie Gott at [email protected].