It might seem harmless, but faking the big O can lead to problems in and out of the bedroom. Here are four good reasons to stop, plus tips for climaxing more often.
That classic scene in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan loudly fakes an orgasm? It’s famous for a reason: Besides the funny factor, the concept is something that both women and men can relate to. Indeed, 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men have reported faking an orgasm during sexual activity, according to a study published in November 2010 in the Journal of Sex Research. The reasons? Some fake it when they get frustrated and feel like an orgasm just isn’t going to happen, while others put on a show to avoid offending their partners or to stroke their lovers’ egos.
The problem is, saying “Oh, yes!” when you really want to say “Could you please do this instead?” can keep you from experiencing pleasure in bed and cause communication problems between you and your partner. Read on to discover why you should stop faking it — and how to have better sex tonight.
1. You’ll Have a Harder Time Achieving a Real Orgasm
You might be able to fake it ‘til you make it in other scenarios, like a job interview, but when it comes to achieving an orgasm, that tactic doesn’t work. In fact, faking it can actually make it harder to reach the big O. “Faking leads to a disconnect with your bodily sensations and perceptions,” says Gracie Landes, a sex and family therapist in New York City. “And that disconnect can make orgasm more difficult to achieve since you need to focus and be present in order to climax.”
2. You’ll Feel Disconnected From Your Partner
Having an orgasm doesn’t just feel good physically; it can also help you feel better mentally about your relationship. A study published in 2014 in the journal Communication Monographs found that people who orgasmed opened up more to their partners during pillow talk afterwards. That may be because the big O stimulates the release of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which helps you bond with your partner.
3. Your Partner Will Feel Like He Can’t Trust You
They may not say it, but “many people can sense when their partner is faking it,” says Landes. And this can lead to a lack of trust in your relationship. Remember that your partner wants to please you, not worry about whether or not you’re pretending.
4. Your Partner May Be Faking It, Too
Faking an orgasm is often thought of as something only women do. But a study published in 2016 in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy found that men fake it 25 percent of the time. One reason, researchers suspect, is that men feel pressured to orgasm since that’s how sex traditionally “ends.” But it may also be to please a partner or because they’re not with the right person in the first place.
How to Stop Faking It
Contrary to what you might think, there’s never really a time when faking it is beneficial, says Landes. If you’re not getting enjoyment from sex, “it’s okay to say you want to stop. That gives you the ability to talk about sex, negotiate what you want, and give both of you realistic expectations,” she says.
Whether you’ve been faking it during your entire relationship or only occasionally, Landes suggests making a gradual change. “Slowly start acting more authentically so it doesn’t come out of left field to your partner,” says Landes. Let your loved one know that you’d like to start communicating more and pointing out what you like and don’t like. Chances are your lover will be happy to oblige.