I’m about to shatter a lot of bubbles right now: I fake it. A lot. Like, 90 percent of the time, actually. In fact...most women fake orgasm at least sometimes, according to recent research from Canada. Sorry. No, but actually I am sorry. This is a horrible habit that some women have gotten into and it’s something we need to break. Immediately. I’ll tell you a little story:
I thought I was a master of the fake orgasm. My performances were Meryl Streep level. Or so I thought. A most recent encounter with someone I genuinely care about left me feeling horrible when he looked at me and asked, “Did you just fake it?” I couldn’t lie to him. And the look of defeat and shame on his face is one that I will never forget. Then, of course, it made me wonder how many other guys knew I was faking it...and perhaps didn’t really care about me or my experience to say anything. Basically it was a terrible day for my self-esteem, and one I’d like to avoid. Which is why women everywhere need to put away their trusty scripts of moaning and exaggerated gyrating and just tell the darntruth.
First of all, when she’s faking an orgasm, who is that helping? Nobody. It’s stroking a man’s ego, making him think he is doing everything right, and giving him a false sense of security and confidence. And it’s leaving us unsatisfied. What we really should be doing is being honest about what exactly we like. But easier said than done. Truth be told, some of us don’t really know. The reality is that many women cannot get off from intercourse alone. Finding the elusive G-spot may be just as difficult for us, so while we’d love to tell our partners just how to find it, the truth is maybe we haven’t discovered it ourselves. (For a comprehensive guide to her anatomy, plus step-by-step instructions on how to give her an orgasm, check out this Men's Health sex manual.)
So why do we fake orgasm? A variety of reasons. And believe it or not, not all of it has to do with your performance. Sometimes it’s just not going to happen, and we want to spare your feelings.
“I would have to say anytime I’ve faked it was because I knew it just wasn’t going to happen, and he was REALLY trying and I felt like it was easier to fake it and preserve his feelings.” - Lauren, 31
“You need to play with my little button to do the trick. Sex is never going to make me come.” - Susan, 30 (She's talking about her clitoris. Here are 13 things you can do to it.)
“Sometimes you just don’t want to explain, or change positions to make it happen. Could it be laziness? Maybe. Sometimes you just want to get it over with and give the man a good feeling,” - Rachel, 29
“I think I’ve faked it so many times that I’m surprised if a guy actually takes his time to treat me, and I don’t have to play along. They usually don’t know how to do it,” - Greta, 30
“I’m either too nervous and like you too much and therefore can’t relax, OR you just straight up don’t know what you’re doing,” - Sally, 31
“I have a lot of trouble getting off when I’m drinking. But that’s when I have no inhibitions and want to be theatrical and turn the guy on with hot moves, sexy moans, and an all out ‘orgasm,’ even though I’m too drunk to get off. It’s kind of just fun for everyone.” - Brooke, 30
“There was the ONE time he was going down on me and I had really bad gas, so I faked it so that I could stop holding it in.” - Elizabeth, 31
“I have faked it for a variety of reasons. First, I know you’re trying really hard and I want you to know that I’m having fun, too. But usually I’m not going to come from sex, but you don’t understand that unless I orgasm. You aren’t doing a bad job at all and I am having fun. I just wish that you’d get me off with your mouth or hands first.” - Meagan, 29 (But...you know...a different Meagan who also spells her name the same way as me.)
For those of you wondering how to tell if your girlfriend is faking an orgasm, there are a few tell-tale signs: Overly exaggerated moans, screaming, carrying on for upwards of 15 minutes...basically anything you have seen in a porn is most likely fake. When a woman orgasms for real her mind goes completely blank. It’s a body convulsion and a wave of muscles tensing and relaxing all over her body. While some women are fantastic at the fake orgasm, if you are truly paying attention you’ll probably be able to tell.
For those of you out there who know she’s faking an orgasm, what should you do? Call it out. Yep, that’s right. Bite the bullet and address the situation. Obviously, you should be nice about it—the ultimate goal is for both of us to have better sex, right?
If you do call us out on it, the best thing you can do is ask us what you could do differently, or ask us what we might need in order to get off. We want you to take the time. We WANT to come. Addressing the problem is going to make us respect you that much more. And your expressed interest in the well-being of our vaginas is going to make you that much sexier.
The bottom line here? There are a lot of reasons why we aren’t going to come. Sometimes it is simply beyond your control. And for the times when it is entirely within your power, we are just as much to blame if we aren’t saying anything. So we really are sorry—for all of our sakes. That said, it’s now on you to get better. But don’t lose heart—we doubt you’re going to mind doing the research.
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com.