Is It Ever A Good Idea To Fake Sexual Enjoyment In A Relationship?

Although the percentage ranges based on the demographic, research has found that 50 to 75% of people with vulvas have faked an orgasm at one point. On the other hand, 25% of those with penises have reported faking an orgasm (via Psychology Today). What this tells us is, yes, the orgasm gap persists, and yes, all genders are guilty of faking it.

While there are many reasons why a person with a vulva might fake an orgasm, like not wanting to disappoint a partner, it's a turn-on to do so, insecurity, or even just wanting to get the sex over with, why those with penises fake orgasms isn't exactly the same. According to a 2015 study, some chose to fake an orgasm because the experience or their partner wasn't satisfying, because they wanted to make their partner feel good, or because they were drunk. Although all legitimate excuses, but if you're in a relationship, shouldn't communication trump faking it? It's one thing to fake it during a one-night stand or a casual fling that clearly has an expiration date, but if a relationship is built on communication, honesty, and trust, and you can't admit to your partner you're just not feeling it, is that ok? Depends on who you ask. 

Why it's not a good idea to fake an orgasm

The problem with faking orgasms goes beyond the fact that it's a lie. When you fake it, you're doing both you and your partner a disservice. You're not being sexually satisfied, and they think you're having the time of your life while you're actually going over your to-do list in your head. If you talked to your partner about what you do and don't like, what feels good and what doesn't, you can rid your bedroom of the disservice. 

"I don't think that faking does anybody any good," sexuality expert Dr. Ian Kerner tells Self. "Most guys would tell you their partners never fake it." Oh, dare to dream!

In faking it, there's also the issue that, eventually, your partner will find out. If the orgasm gap teaches us anything, it's that most of those with vulvas absolutely do not orgasm every time. And, although unrelated to the gap, but still having been found via research, people with penises don't necessarily orgasm all the time, either. So, at some point, the jig is up. When that happens, you have to explain why you fake it, how long you've been faking it, and how often. It's a chat no one really wants to have because honesty comes into play.

"Let your partner know that you will be honest from this point on and that you are really hopeful that the two of you can have wonderful sex and wonderful orgasms together," clinical sexologist Kat van Kirk, Ph.D., tells Women's Health

But will your partner ever trust your orgasms again?

Why it's a good idea to fake an orgasm

Contrary to the thinking that faking an orgasm is bad for a relationship, there's something to be said about faking it. We tend to think that sex should always end in the climax, but sex — intercourse or otherwise — doesn't need an explosive finish. For some, the journey is the most pleasurable part, and therefore the faking is actually the good stuff.

"Some people report faking orgasms because they get personal enjoyment or pleasure from it," social psychologist Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., tells Well + Good.

Although this concept might be foreign to some, it happens. Sexual enjoyment is on a spectrum, and what someone might love, another person might not understand at all. That doesn't negate the fact that the former is having a pleasurable experience. But there are times when it's not about pleasure; sometimes it's about saving your partner from any sort of feelings of inadequacy because you're just not feeling it, and it's better to let out a few moans instead of getting involved in an emotional rollercoaster with them. Granted, if you're doing this all the time, that's something you should talk about with your partner, but if it's occasionally to make them feel good, then that's not a bad thing. If you've ever been exhausted, realized you're not in the mood, or had other things on your mind, it's probably been worth the fake.