Better and Pleasurable Alternatives to Faking Orgasms

An exploration of why we fake orgasms and what to do about it.

Jackie Badilla
Jan 17 · 9 min read
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Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

I faked orgasms for years because I didn’t think I was capable of achieving an orgasm.

I started having sex when I was 16, and, like most teenagers, my adolescent ideas about what sex was supposed to be was immature and narrow. I was having sex often, but I was never cumming. In fact, I didn’t have my first orgasm until I was 18.

Now in my 20s, I’ve learned that anything beyond a clitoral orgasm is unlikely for me to achieve if I don’t feel a deep connection with someone or if I’m not being stimulated in at least two areas. Of course, I didn’t know this in my teens, so having sex with guys I didn’t care about who rarely ventured toward my clit led me to believe I was incapable of having an orgasm.

Unfortunately, I just accepted that because I didn’t realize it was actually user error.

If a guy did decide to go down on me, it was always just for a minute or two to get me wet enough for penetration. No one stayed down there long enough for me to realize pleasure could be derived from that act. I never asked for oral sex, or ask them to continue, because I was incredibly self-conscious of my vagina.

I got really great at faking orgasms without ever having one (I read some articles about how to successfully fake orgasms, which seems problematic and controversial now). And once someone did take the time and care to make me orgasm, I continued to fake orgasms rather than ask to be pleasured in most of my sexual encounters through my early 20s.

Faking an orgasm may not seem like a big deal to certain people in certain contexts, but why does it have to be an option and why is it so often the preferred solution? Men, I’m looking at you too. As InsideHook points out, “Women don’t have a monopoly on orgasm fraud.”

I unpacked some reasons why we may choose to fake orgasms and some healthier alternatives to unlocking intimacy and pleasure:

Reason #1: We aren’t being properly stimulated.

This is an obvious one, but it’s a good place to start. You may be like me and not know how you are best stimulated as an individual.

A 2015 study discussed in MedicalNewsToday found that only 6% of women always have an orgasm during penetrative intercourse. I eventually learned that I usually need clitoral stimulation to cum. And while I love being touched and pleasured in various ways, my clitoris is best stimulated with direct contact and small, concentrated movements. I’ve also learned that throwing anal play into the mix enhances my orgasms. I can come from penetration, but I have to have a deep connection with my partner and already be well turned on.

Solution: Speak up and familiarize yourself with your pleasure. If you don’t vouch for your pleasure and fake orgasms instead, your partner may think what they’re doing is rocking your world and continue using the same technique every time.

  • Give your partner suggestions. Tell them what you like and don’t like. If you aren’t comfortable with doing that, see #4.
  • Try different stimulation techniques. The key to unlocking your pleasure may be out there, and you just haven’t discovered it yet.
  • Masturbate. Seriously. Get to know yourself and how you like to be touched. It’s hard to vouch for our pleasure if we don’t know what our pleasure is. OMGyes is an excellent website with a vast library of female pleasure where real women teach different pleasure techniques that work for them.
  • Lastly, if your partner is unwilling to explore your pleasure or is defensive towards suggestions and open conversations, those are pretty blaring red flags. Of course, it’s important to remember that people have different preferences for giving and receiving pleasure. No one should feel obligated to do something they don’t want to do sexually because their partner’s pleasure and satisfaction depends on it. But, exploring different ways to give and receive pleasure can open a multitude of doors in your sex life if done safely and consensually.

Reason #2: We feel insecure.

Insecurity can create a lot of obstacles in the bedroom. It can lead us to not ask for the kind of pleasure we want because we’re embarrassed by the types of pleasure we desire and our means of achieving it. It turns out I love anal play, but I was always too ashamed to ever ask for it because I thought it was weird and taboo.

We can also get stuck in our heads and not be fully present with ourselves and our partners. The same 2015 study identifies the recipe for orgasm as being “in the mind and in the relationship.” This rings true for a lot of women. If I feel pressured to orgasm, if I’m distracted, uncomfortable, or don’t feel connected with my partner, I don’t cum.

Excessive rationalism is the biggest enemy of orgasms. Simply put, thinking does alight desire, but orgasms come when thinking ceases.

Prof. Osmo Kontula

Solution: Learn to love and accept your body. I know; easier said than done. But it’s possible. I hated my body and my vagina, so I couldn’t let go and enjoy sex.

  • Spend more time naked, alone or with a partner. Don’t rush to put your clothes on when you get out of the shower. Do something casual like read a book or do yoga naked. Sometimes my partner and I just hang out naked, watching TV, cuddling, or talking, with no sex involved. Get comfortable in your skin.
  • Get a hand mirror and spend time looking at your genitals. Take pictures of it. My vagina and I had a photo shoot, and I fell in love.
  • Touch yourself lovingly. Massage your body. Massage your genitals. It doesn’t have to be inherently sexual. Learn to feel accepting and comfortable in your body. Turn on some music, light some candles, maybe buy yourself some sexy lingerie, and experience yourself.
  • Positive affirmations are essential. If we tell ourselves we’re ugly or inadequate, that’s what we believe. Next time you look in the mirror, find something you love.
  • Side note, if your partner puts you down rather than build you up, no matter how subtle, think long and hard about the dynamic of your relationship. If we don’t love ourselves first, we won’t find a partner that will either.

Reason #3: We believe successful or ‘good’ sex has to lead to orgasm.

Orgasm doesn’t have to be the default destination. The notion that it does puts pressure on both parties to perform, and if orgasm isn’t achieved by one or the other, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. It’s a problem when the box we put sex into leads us to fake our own pleasure rather than exploring different avenues.

Solution: Explore non-orgasmic sensual sensations. Sexual intentions can be based on deeper emotional connections, exploration of your body, or your partner’s body, intimacy, and relaxation.

  • Give each other massages. Yoni and penis massages work wonders for exploring intimacy and physical touch without orgasmic intentions.
  • Don’t neglect erogenous zones: the inner wrist, nape of the neck, butt, scalp, behind the knee, earlobes, feet, inner thighs, chest. Pleasure sensations don’t have to be confined to the genitals.
  • Talk dirty to each other. Make noises (not fake orgasm ones). Incorporate aural sex into your sexual experience and let your partner’s sounds stimulate your senses. Words of affirmation are one of my love languages, so when we talk to each other during sex, my heart glows.

Reason #4: We don’t want to offend our partners.

I’m going to cut right to the chase: your partner’s ego is not your responsibility. We all have needs in and out of the bedroom, and affirmation is often one of them. But you shouldn’t compromise your pleasure or lie to protect your partner’s feelings.

We’ve all experience fragile self-esteem at some point in our lives. Pleasuring another person is a learning experience. Every person is different; there is no universal stimulation technique. So why do we beat ourselves up when we don’t hit the bullseye on the first try?

Solution: Practice gracious honesty. You may have heard the quote from Kristen Bell’s therapist: “Honesty without tact is cruelty.” Avoiding faking orgasms requires honesty and openness, but it should be done in a constructive way rather than in a way that places blame and failure on another person.

  • Turn your guidance in the bedroom into positives. If you don’t like what your partner is doing or want them to do it differently, tell them. But instead of using “don’ts,” tell them what you want them to do to you. My partner loves it when I give him direction in the bedroom. When I say things like, “I want you to rub my clit in slow circles,” “I want your face between my legs,” “I want you to flip me over,” it drives him wild. Be specific. He perceives my commands as me taking a more dominant role, not as a rejection. It’s a win-win: I find a position we’re both happy in, and he thinks my empowerment is sexy.
  • Masturbate together. Mutual masturbation is powerful and intimate. It’s also an excellent way to show each other how you like to be touched in a non-confrontational way. My partner has learned a lot about my needs in the bedroom by watching me pleasure myself.
  • If you don’t want to talk about it in the moment, use post-sex pillow talks to talk about what worked and what didn’t. If you need to, emphasize the positives — what you liked and what worked for you — rather than what you didn’t like.

Reason #5: We feel obligated to provide our sexual pleasure.

When I would fake an orgasm, some subconscious was assuming whoever I was with required my pleasure. I not only felt obligated to give them pleasure, but I felt like my role was also for them to experience mine. Maybe I thought it was my job to boost their ego, or perhaps I thought my pleasure was an expectation or necessary to maintain their affections.

PsychologyToday calls this the “mate retention strategy” because women feel that their orgasms are valued by men. In particular, women feel that men need our orgasms to feel sexually satisfied and adequate.

This is an issue because we believe that our partner’s sexual fulfillment is more important than ours. I wanted them to feel satisfied and fulfilled and proud. So I faked orgasms and ultimately put all my needs and wants aside to make sure they were taken care of.

There’s nothing wrong with being a giver or prioritizing your partner’s needs and desires. But there are much healthier ways to do that than faking one of the most intense experiences we have at our disposal and compromising ourselves.

Solution: Find new ways to express your pleasure and enjoyment. A lot of the suggestions I gave above work here, too. We all want to show our partners that they turn us on and make them feel satisfied, but faking an orgasm shouldn’t be the preferred option.

  • Be responsive. Show your partner through your words, body language, and actions how much you are enjoying them. Provide words and actions of affirmation rather than fake orgasms of assurance.
  • Focus on your partner. All sex doesn’t have to be reciprocal. That doesn’t mean that when you’re denied pleasure, you should just be okay with it; speak up when you need to and explore if you aren’t where you want to be. That being said, If I know my headspace isn’t going to allow me to orgasm that day regardless of how he makes love to me, but I still want to participate with my partner, I stop worrying about orgasming (it doesn’t help) and I focus on him. I’ll find pleasure in giving my partner the time of his life without any physically orgasmic expectations for myself.

In conclusion, it’s incredibly important that we create sexual environments that are a safe space to express needs when they aren’t being met, and a creative space to explore intimacy and sex in all of their many forms.

Speak up for what you want. Be responsive and engaging. Experience sexual pleasure beyond orgasms. And enjoy your partner and your own body for everything they have to offer.


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Jackie Badilla

Written by

I write about relationships: with ourselves, with others, and with the planet.


Conversations about sex from all around the world

Jackie Badilla

Written by

I write about relationships: with ourselves, with others, and with the planet.


Conversations about sex from all around the world

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