Ready for a statistic that’ll blow your mind and likely make you feel less alone?
A 2019 survey of 1,232 Kinkly.com readers found that 87 percent of females and 69 percent of males have faked an O at least once in their lifetime.
That’s a lot of performing!
But why do people fake it? And what do you do if you’ve been fudging your climax and are ready to quit? Keep reading to find out.
Why do people fake it?
So, so many reasons!
But really, it all boils down to the crappy sex education most of us are getting — if we’re even getting it at all.
As certified sex coach Gigi Engle, Womanizer sexpert and author of “All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life,” puts it, “The only thing we get from most schools’ sex education curriculums is how to put a condom on.”
Because of this, many people turn to porn for sex education.
The problem? Porn is a performance — not sex ed. (Just FYI, this isn’t the porn industry’s fault. Most creators don’t pretend that their product is educational!)
The result? “People think that jack-hammering penetrative sex is how everyone orgasms,” Engle says.
To be clear, some research suggests that less than 19 percent of vulva owners can climax this way. And it should go without saying that many penis owners enjoy other types of strokes, rhythms, and patterns, too.
“People end up thinking that their body is broken if they’re not climaxing this way, and so they fake it,” Engle says.
PSA: If that sounds familiar, please know that your body isn’t broken!
Another reason people fake it? To stroke their partner’s ego or avoid hurting their feelings.
Does it really matter?
Is it the end of the world if you do it once in a blue moon? No.
But, truthfully, no good comes from fauxgasms making a regular appearance in your sex life.
Long-term faking it can often:
- lead to resentment because your partner isn’t helping you orgasm for real
- widen the disconnect between you and your partner
- keep you from exploring things in the bedroom that actually help you orgasm
Is it easy to tell when someone’s faking?
No. There aren’t any tenor or tone giveaways, nor are there certain words that indicate that “yep, that’s a person faking their orgasm.”
As Engle says, “Everybody’s orgasm looks, sounds, feels, and is experienced differently.”
But here’s the thing: You shouldn’t be trying to suss out whether the person in your bed is fake-orgasming or not.
Instead, you should help foster an environment where your partner feels comfortable communicating if they want to orgasm — and, if they do, what they need to get there.
What do you do if you think your partner might be faking it?
Talk to them! But don’t ask them if they’ve been orgasming for real or faking it in the past.
“Coming at it from this accusatory place is going to put your partner on the defensive,” Engle says.
“It’s not about whether or not they faked it in the past,” she adds. “It’s about what the two of you can do to ramp up their pleasure in the future.”
Some lines to try:
- “I really want to learn how to pleasure you. Are there things you especially like in bed that you wish we did more of?”
- “I think it’d be really hot to use a toy together. Are there any toys you use when you masturbate that you might want to bring into the bedroom?”
- “I read an article online about the benefits of orgasming. Is there a certain touch or technique that helps you get there?”
“Do yourself a favor and be enthusiastic when you approach this topic,” Engle says. “Enthusiasm about your partner’s pleasure goes a long way!”
What if you’ve been faking it and don’t want to anymore?
According to Engle, you’ve got two options here.
Option 1: Have an open and honest conversation
“This is the best option, but it requires that you have a trusting, honest, and communication-driven relationship with whoever you’re having it with,” Engle says.
This conversation will look similar to a compliment sandwich. She recommends including the five parts below:
- Reassure your partner that you enjoy having sex with them (if you do).
- Tell them that you’ve been faking it.
- Explain why.
- Offer a solution or suggestion.
- Reassure your partner that you enjoy — or could enjoy — having sex with them.
Figuring out why, exactly, you’ve been faking it may take a little self-reflection.
For instance, have you been faking it because you’re self-conscious about taking too long? Because you don’t actually know what brings you pleasure?
Is it because you need a clitoral vibrator but haven’t yet introduced one into the bedroom with your partner? Or because you didn’t know until you read this article that you don’t have to fake it?
Whatever the reason, do a deep-think to figure out what it is before talking to your partner.
Here’s what that conversation might look like:
“There’s something that I’d like to share with you.
I really love having sex with you, and especially enjoy when we have marathon romps on Sundays. But sometimes I get self-conscious that it’s taking me too long to finish, so I fake it.
I know it’s usually easier for me to orgasm when you go down on me for a while. Do you think we could try that tonight?”
“There’s nothing I love more than having sex with you. But sometimes I feel embarrassed that a certain position doesn’t make me orgasm, and I fake it.
Positions where it’s easier for me to touch my clit tend to work best for me. And I think it could be really hot to try rider or top or standing doggy. What do you think?”
“Many people worry having this conversation will make their partner not want to sleep with them anymore,” Engle says, “but they shouldn’t!”
“If your partner stops wanting to sleep with you because you want to make the sex better, they’re displaying bad behavior, anyway,” she adds.
And remember those stats. It’s very possible your partner has faked it, too!
Option 2: Ease off faking it and guide your partner
“Instead of owning up to the fact that you’ve been faking it in the past, just commit to not faking it anymore,” says Searah Deysach, longtime sex educator and owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago that ships worldwide.
Verbally let them know that what you used to do isn’t working for you anymore, and suggest new moves, grooves, or toys to explore.
Or nonverbally guide your partner’s hands, mouth, or member where you want them.
“This is also a good time to suggest introducing vibrators into the mix if you haven’t before,” Engle says.
Especially if you use vibrators to climax when you masturbate!
Great couples vibrators all available online include:
Important: Both Engle and Deysach recommend the first option over this more passive approach.
But as Engle says, “If someone is too afraid to have that conversation with their partner, I’d rather they do [this] than continue faking it.” Fair.
What if safety is a concern?
“If you need to fake orgasms for your safety or to get out of a problematic situation, then do it,” Deysach says.
“But please consider what that relationship really is, and look for a way to get out of it,” she says.
If you think your safety is at risk, know that help is available.
If you can, leave any location or situation that doesn’t feel safe. Call 911 or your local emergency services if you believe you’re in direct danger.
You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to seek shelter and assistance.
This 24/7 confidential hotline connects you with trained advocates who can provide resources and tools to get you to safety.
Is there anything else to consider?
Sure, orgasms are great! But remember: They’re not the point of sex. Pleasure is.
“Most of us put a lot of emphasis and pressure on orgasms, which is ultimately why people fake them to begin with,” says Caitlin V, MPH, clinical sexologist for Royal, a vegan-friendly condom and lubricant company.
“In reality, orgasms aren’t a great indicator of the quality of sex you’re having,” she says. “Replacing the goal of orgasm with the goal of pleasure will radically transform your sex life.”Bottom Line:
Fauxgasms are common. But 99.99 percent of the time they’re a pointless performance and prevent you from experiencing real pleasure. So, let’s all make a pledge to stop fudging our O’s and start communicating with our partners about what will bring us the most pleasure, shall we?References:
Caitlin V. (2020). Personal interview.
Deysach S. (2020). Personal interview.
Dingfelder S. (2011). Understanding orgasm.
Engle G. (2020). Personal interview.
Faking it: Our readers' survey reveals some of the reasons behind why we do it. (2019).
Herbenick D et al. (2017). Women's experiences with genital touching, sexual pleasure, and orgasm: Results from a U.S. probability sample of women ages 18 to 94. DOI:
Muehlenhard CL, et al. (2009). Men's and women's reports of pretending orgasm. DOI:
Photo Credit: Serge Kutuzov