Admit it. You’ve done it. On your way to what sounds like the oh-Oh-OPRAH of orgasms, you’ve faked it – at least once. Don’t feel guilty. Lots of people fake orgasm. Polls and research I’ve seen have reported that anywhere between 48 percent and 72 percent of women admit to such dishonesty while doing the deed.

And while we typically go after women for being frauds, it turns out that men are quite the bluffers too.

Up to 18 percent of guys admit to having faked orgasm. My hunch is that there are even more. Guys have told me that all they need to do is give a grunt and throw on a good porn star face and they’re money as far as fooling their unsuspecting partner. And if a guy is wearing a condom, any “evidence” that he may not have peaked can be simply thrown away.

So why are people faking climax? Such theatrics are pursued for a whole host of reasons, among them:

— Fatigue. You’re tired. You need sleep, not sex!

— You don’t want your lover to feel like a loser. You want to please your partner and are afraid of offending.

— You just want to get it over with. Your lover isn’t rocking your boat and you’re sick of going through the motions in trying to make things work.

— Factors out of your control are affecting your arousal quotient, such as sex-inhibiting antidepressants.

— For men, your body isn’t responding like it did in its rock star days and you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to perform like Mick Jagger.

— You feel disconnected from your partner and know that it just ain’t gonna happen.

— You’ve just realized that that person you brought home looked better at the bar. Game over.

The question I get asked a lot is whether or not it’s saintly or sinful to put on a show in the sack. People want to know if it’s okay to fake it and if they should keep doing it.

Early on in my sex education career, I was a lot like Switzerland on the matter — fairly neutral. I certainly understand the reasons why people fake it, and it may not be so bad when done on occasion.

Some reasons are quite functional and serve a purpose, like the crucial need for zzzz’s. Yet over the years, I’ve taken more of a hard-line “don’t do it” stance. This act of charity isn’t doing anybody any good.

First, you’re training your lover to be bad one, or at least one who is unable to respond to your needs. Sure, you might feel some satisfaction in being selfless and compassionate, but, in the end, you're hurting both yourself and your spouse.

In not coming clean, you’re betraying your needs. You’re denying the opportunity for both of you to explore each other’s needs, techniques for improvement, and greater intimacy.

Second, you’re giving your lover a false sense of security, which isn’t fair. Remember, most people would rather know that they’re ineffective than be lied to. They’d rather ride the ups and downs of genuine sex than find out that they’ve been made a fool with fibs.

Lastly, it’s lame. I always think that chronic faking speaks volumes as far the relationship goes. What do you have if you can’t be honest with each other? What’s going on that there’s a lack of communication? What business do you have taking care of business if it requires deceit?

My advice: If you’re a faker, come clean. You need to communicate with your lover. Let him or her know that you’re not totally fulfilled — that you need more, and what’s affecting your game.

Play a few rounds of show ‘n' tell, giving your partner a private tour of all of your hot spots. Take the time for foreplay, realizing that sex is a journey and not a destination. Finally, incorporate oral pleasures and sexual enhancement products, both of which can be key.

With a little bit of time, effort, communication, patience and honesty, you will find that you can work your way to mind-blowing ecstasy.

In the Know Sex News …

— Safer sex gets even sexier. Seattle nonprofit PATH (formerly the Program for the Introduction and Adaptation of Contraceptive Technology) has designed a female condom that heats up a tad during intercourse, due to its softer, thinner polyurethane body. Couples who tested the product preferred it to the older female condom. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve it, however, citing the need for clinical trials, which boils down to cost. Clinical trials for Class 3 devices like the female condom often cost $3 million to $6 million.

— Women are sex tourists too. While men from modernized countries have been known to travel the world for sex with underage prostitutes, it seems that women are doing the same. Kenya is now discouraging older, female tourists from having consensual sex with young men at its beach resorts. Women have admitted to purchasing drinks, clothes and other items for young lads in exchange for company and sex. Equally alarming, with the prevalence of HIV/AIDS sitting at 6.9 percent in Kenya (compared to less than 1 percent in the U.S.), sex tourists are definitely taking health risks.

— Passionless prose. The Bad Sex in Fiction Award has been announced for 2007. The Literary Review of London has honored Christopher Rush, author of “Will,” as one of its winners. His winning words: “She responded with those cries that men long to hear, the sweet deep moaning sounds that echo the sigh of oceans, the ebb and flow of fields, the sough of stars.” Ugh.

Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."