“Oh Baby, You’re So Fucking Good! Oh My God!” (Can you believe I’m totally faking?)

Orgasm Olympics

Many, if not most, women occasionally practice theatrics in the bedroom. Here’s what they say about it when men aren’t around.

My first lover thought women peed out of their vaginas. Steve was a great-looking 23-year-old college graduate with well over two dozen notches in his bedpost; he was no scruffy backwoods hermit. So his confession surprised me. I set him straight by conducting an anatomy lesson in his bedroom. I pulled down my pants, parted my legs, and clued him in on what exactly he was looking at — and what he had been fucking since losing his virginity years prior. The fleshy folds, bumps, and holes fascinated him in such a way that I wondered if he had ever truly seen a vulva before. He had, of course; he just hadn’t paid enough attention to all of the wonderful details.

Our lesson that day was an easy one, and it helped bring us closer. I appreciated his honesty, and he thanked me for being so open and non-judgmental. I didn’t see the point in giving him a hard time. After all, as a young, inexperienced woman, there were things about anatomy and sex that I also didn’t know about or understand. For example, why couldn’t I orgasm via missionary position? I saw the ubiquitous image in movies and on TV of a man on top of a woman, writhing and thrusting and then — “OH MY GOD!” — they’d. explode in a simultaneous orgasm. How come that never happened to Steve and me? Later I learned that only 30 percent can come from vaginal penetration alone.

It took me six months to figure out how to have an orgasm with Steve. Up until then, sex was fun. We had it a lot and I enjoyed it, but no matter how long it lasted or where we had it, I never climaxed. Normally he’d be on top of me or behind me, so one summer night, after I’d had one too many gin and tonics, I felt confident enough to try something new. I told him to lie on his back. I sat on his lap and eased his penis inside me, then began to move in a way that made me tingle. It wasn’t long before I was on the edge of a powerful orgasm. While I was coming, I squeezed his chest and thought, So this is what it’s like to climax during sex! The only orgasms I’d ever experienced before were through solo masturbation.

I rolled off, went to the bathroom to clean up, and came back to bed wearing an enormous grin. “I just came,” I announced.


“I just had my first orgasm with you.” “What?” he said again, propping himself up on his elbows.

“I came. Just now. With you. It was amazing!”

“You’ve never had an orgasm before?”

“I have, but only alone.”

“You’ve never had one with me before?”

“No,” I said, climbing back into bed. “So were you faking all this time?”

“No, it’s just that I never came before.”



“Well, why didn’t you say something?”

“I don’t know. Why didn’t you ever ask?”

The truth is, I never once considered faking orgasm. And to this day, at 31, I still never have. I always wanted to be truthful with Steve and subsequent lovers, but more than that, I wanted to be honest and fair to myself. So I kept at it until I — and my lovers — got things right.

As it happens, when it comes to faking it, I seem to be an anomaly. According to Dr. David Weiss, a board-certified sex therapist and OB-GYN in Newton, Massachusetts, 20 percent of his clients have admitted to faking orgasm with a partner. “One in five report faking in longer-term relationships at least once,” he says.

To find out why, I interviewed approximately 100 women, most of whom confessed to practicing theatrics in the bedroom. Here’s what some of them had to say about why they do it.

Have you ever faked an orgasm, and, if so, why?

Trina, 30: Yes. I fake with my husband so that his self-esteem doesn’t suffer. He’s a sweet man and a considerate, creative lover, but there are no fireworks.

Louise, 42: I have faked just to get a guy off of me. If you’re not having fun and are not invested enough in the relationship — read: one-nighter — why take the time or experience the vulnerability of honesty to explain what you like or don’t like to someone you’re never going to sleep with again?

Jennifer, 27: Yes. Every time. I can’t climax during intercourse, but men don’t really seem to want to hear or even know that. They want to think they’ve brought you to orgasm. Since I consider this to be my issue and not theirs, I often oblige with a fake. I feel badly that I can’t come during sex. I’d like to, but some women simply cannot. If you don’t fake, some men will just keep going and going and then it gets a bit ridiculous.

Paula, 30: Repeatedly. Initially I was more interested in how my partner was feeling. For example, was I hurting his feelings by taking too long to come? By worrying about him, I kept my mind very much out of my body, which of course made my pleasure that much more impossible, so faking was inevitable.

Shawna, 32: I faked once, and it was a mistake. The relationship wasn’t working. There was so much pressure around the whole mutual-orgasm “prize,” and I thought faking it would alleviate it. It didn’t, and I just became more and more annoyed until I moved across the country to get out of the relationship. I asked some other friends, many of whom are now married, and the consensus seemed to be that once you’re married, you’d just be screwing yourself and setting a bad lifelong precedent to fake it with your spouse.

Betsy, 23: I’ve faked it a lot of times. My first female partner was not very comfortable with the idea of actually going down on me or even touching me “down there,” as she called it. That relationship was short-lived, thank goodness. The other partner I’ve faked it with more than once or twice was a sweet woman, and when it worked with us, it worked. But she was into the leather scene, and I wasn’t, so if she was doing something that she thought would be awesome and I wasn’t into it, I’d fake it and then tell her later that I wasn’t interested in a repeat performance.

Teresa, 42: I have. It’s always been hard to get me off because I require clitoral stimulation, and very few people have ever mastered the knack. Plus, when I was younger and still trying to figure things out, I wasn’t comfortable masturbating in front of my boyfriends. There were a couple of times that I wanted to orgasm for a guy and I manufactured one to end it all. I haven’t felt the need to fake since I was 24.

Gigi, 34: I’ve faked during sex because it was almost like the guy needed it. There was so much pressure to come on both our parts that having an orgasm became a chore.

Ellie, 29: I have with several men and a few women. Usually I do it when I’m embarrassed because it is taking so long or I’ve lost the mood and don’t want to hurt their feelings. I am hard to bring to an orgasm. Since I was raped, I find that sometimes during sex I hit an emotional wall and cannot let myself go to enjoy the release of an orgasm. Sometimes I want the penetration or fondling a little rougher than what I’m receiving. When my lesbian lover and I first became sexual, she was a newbie and didn’t know what she was doing, so I faked orgasms to keep from hurting her feelings. With some partners I’m embarrassed because I know that the type of stimulation they are giving me will cause me to ejaculate. I had a partner ask me if I’d peed the bed when I ejaculated, so I began faking.

“If they’re inside me and I can feel it, I do Kegal exercises and they can’t usually tell the difference.”

Michelle, 36: No, I never have and never will. What’s the point?

Julia, 25: When I was with my ex-husband, I used to have an orgasm every time we had sex, barring a few exceptions. With my new love, I have an orgasm perhaps one out of every six times we make love. When we first had sex I faked it because I felt that I didn’t want to disappoint him and make him think he was a bad lover. I usually fake them when he says things like, “Come for me, baby,” because I know he would get off on it. Doing it makes me feel like a really big liar.

Beth, 33: I usually never fake, because I don’t want to give the guy the satisfaction of him doing something he didn’t do, but once I did. I really just wanted it to be over and knew it wasn’t happening. I felt like I’d betrayed myself because of my strict no-faking policy.

Caryn, 29: Yes, I’m guilty. Why? I wasn’t in the mood, but the guy kept pushing for sex until I gave in. He didn’t know how to do it right and I kept losing interest. I did it just to get the guy to stop because he was going on and on like the Energizer Bunny. I really liked him, and didn’t want to hurt his ego.

Siobhan, 32: Yes. One-night stands are easy to justify. I wanted sex, they provided it. When I’d had my fill, so to speak, I would fake my orgasm and they would think they’d done a good job. Don’t get me wrong — a lot of them did do a good job. But I find it difficult to achieve orgasm, and so a few oohs and aahs at the right time kept everyone happy. With my long-term partners things were slightly different. For the first few times I’d be honest and not fake it. But after a few times I could see frustration setting in with my partner. He’d begin asking me what he was doing wrong or telling me that he’d never had this problem with his other girlfriends (who were probably faking it too). Thus, in order to stroke his ego and keep the peace, eventually I would fake it. The first fake was one hell of an occasion. Smiles all round. He thought he was the first man to ever make me come, and obviously this made him feel good. More sex followed, and more lies on my part in the form of faked orgasms. This pattern has repeated itself with all my long term partners.

Lori, 28: In the past I have faked it, but that was when I was having one-night stands. More often than not, those people and those experiences were less than stellar, and sex was sub-par. Now that I’m in a real relationship I never fake it, because it makes no sense. My boyfriend is an incredible lover, and he would want to know if it wasn’t working out for me.

Lisa, 37: I’ve faked orgasms throughout my life for various reasons: feelings of inadequacy for not being able to have a real one when I was younger, before I learned my own body and emotionally allowed myself to enjoy sex enough to reach orgasm; wanting to make my partner feel like he had done his “job” well; deciding that this guy’s never going to make it happen, so let’s get it over with; deciding that being so goal-oriented during sex isn’t so important sometimes — but some guys don’t seem to understand that, so faking helps make them happy. I almost never fake anymore because I’m much more comfortable with my body and my own sexuality, and I’m more comfortable with the fact that making love can be about so much more than reaching an orgasm. I’m also more comfortable with talking to my partner about orgasms.

How exactly do you fake an orgasm?

Trina: I usually moan — “Oh, oh, ohhhhh!” — and give one or two contractions and then pretend to be exhausted. We actually have pretty intense and pleasurable sex play, so most of the time I am exhausted. I have to be careful to time this act close to his own climax or he’ll be “generous” and give me more.

Ellie: When I fake, my moans build to a scream and then I contract my vaginal muscles right before I pretend to collapse.

Caryn: A lot of contracting and trying to work up a good sweat. Most of the men I’ve faked with didn’t know what a good orgasm “looked like,” but they knew having one was important. When it became more important to be orgasmic for them and their ego, the whole process became less possible. So I took the “male” approach by faking it, rolling over, and getting some sleep.

Betsy: It depends. If they’re using a toy — i.e., if they don’t have a hand inside me to feel if I’m contracting or whatever — then I just scream and pant like I do when I’m really having one. If they’re inside me and can feel it, I do Kegel exercises and they can’t usually tell the difference.

Kit, 38: I moan and buck a little harder, and tighten my vaginal muscles.

Have you faked with only certain men, and, if so, why those guys and not some of the others?

Trina: No. But I have dreams in which I have various male and female lovers that are able to make me come easily, sometimes with a single touch. Russell Crowe has been a favorite. I think that I need a certain amount of risk to feel the excitement that arouses me enough to come. I guess I feel too safe with my husband. My most intense orgasms from masturbating come when I do it 20 or so minutes before he’s supposed to get home from work or the gym. That gives me just enough time to get myself cleaned up and composed before he puts his key in the door.

Ellen, 43: I think some lovers have more skill, are willing to take the time to make me feel more comfortable, and the time to bring me to an orgasm without it feeling like a requirement. Some guys didn’t take the time to bring me to orgasm, but acted as if it was required that I have one before they left. Since it takes me a long time to reach an orgasm, the time limits of a quickie were not enough for me to reach one.

Betsy: Of the three sex partners I’ve had, the two I faked it with were so emotionally fragile that if I’d told them that the sex wasn’t spectacular they’d have been devastated. But they were also the two most self-centered people I’ve ever dated. They were so in tune with what they thought I was feeling and wanting that they were actually ignoring my real responses.

Jennifer: I’ve faked with them all. Not that there’s a long list, but no man is immune.

Kit: The only guy I faked with was my ex-boyfriend, for two reasons. One, his actions appeared to be too choreographed. First some clitoral stimulation, then oral sex, then intercourse. Secondly, for some reason he no longer turned me on. The next morning, though I didn’t feel bad about faking, I could not bring myself to have sex with him again.

Lisa: Obviously there are some men who are able to bring me to orgasm every time we have sex. Usually they’re men who are not intent just on making that happen for the sake of it happening, but are interested in making the entire experience pleasurable from beginning to end. They are not goal-oriented, so their techniques are more about the experience than that one outcome. I do not have to fake with those men.

Have you ever told a guy that you’ve faked it with him, and, if so, what was his reaction?

Shawna: No, I’ve never said a word. It seems too mean, too pathetic.

Ester, 28: I told my lover after a while that I faked with her in the beginning, and her feelings were extremely hurt. She thought she was a lousy lover for not being able to please me. To make up for it, I compliment her when she does bring me to orgasm.

Jennifer: I’ve told only one guy, and it was mainly as a mean way to get him to stop trying to get back together with me after I broke up with him. He was mortified. I was a freshman in college then, and I have never, ever revealed the secret to another man again.

Siobhan: I told one partner after four years that I’d been faking, and his reaction was one of pure devastation, as mine would have been had the tables been turned. Needless to say, he left me because he no longer trusted me. Kind of stupid to spend four years pleasing someone for them to leave you because of it. I guess I shouldn’t have told him.

Betsy: I have had two exes in a row that couldn’t get me off if their life depended on it, yet were so emotionally fragile that if I didn’t pretend to have earth-shattering orgasms every time, they’d sulk for weeks. Don’t ask why I stayed with them. I still don’t know. I did finally find a partner that brings me to the real thing. It’s a shame we’re just fuck buddies.

Paula: I’ve never admitted it. I can’t imagine admitting it. I know I’d be devastated if a guy told me he’d faked it. Which should have made me question my own faking long before I did.

Gigi: He was hurt by it because his sensitivity and virility hinged on whether or not he fucked me well. As a result of me telling, we don’t speak anymore.

Julia: My boyfriend asked if I have ever faked, and of course I said no. I never thought I would ever fake. I suppose I feel the pressure because he told me his ex-girlfriend never had an orgasm with him unless he went down on her. Maybe if he spent more time on foreplay — priming the canvas, so to speak — he wouldn’t have had that problem with her and I wouldn’t have to fake it half as much.

Sue, 30: I told my boyfriend I faked once, and he was devastated. He had been proud that he could always please me and couldn’t understand why I faked. I never mentioned it again.

Rachel, 41: Only one, and he laughed. We then had another couple years of great sex, until I needed to move south.

Do you feel the need to orgasm every time you have intercourse?

Trina: No. I know that it isn’t going to happen. I used to be hopeful with my husband, which is sort of what got me into this situation in the first place. If I had been honest with him when we first started sleeping together, maybe he would have understood.

Betsy: Isn’t that usually the goal? The act of fucking is separate from the act of cuddling, of touching and stroking and being near your beloved. If I’m having sex, it’s to have an orgasm.

Ester: My lover gets upset now if I don’t come with her, but I figure as long as we are enjoying ourselves and each other that it isn’t necessary. Since we have gotten more serious, I have refused to lie to her by faking orgasms, so I accept it when I don’t have one every time. I just enjoy the closeness of making love with her.

Gigi: Not really, but it depends on the point of the sex. My first lesbian lover told me, “The point in pleasure is to enjoy it and relax. If you come, great; if not, don’t let it worry your pretty little head.” This was the best advice, and it helped a lot.

Jennifer: The sex itself is often so intense that I feel satisfied without having had an orgasm. And in foreplay I don’t always feel the need to orgasm. I sometimes want and need that release, but other times I want the closeness, the sweatiness, the hard breathing and touching — all the sensual things that often provide me with a release and satisfaction of a different sort. I am definitely not orgasm-obsessed, not in the way men are obsessed with making a woman have one during sex.

What are the best things your lovers do to bring you to orgasm?

Ellie: The lovers that brought me to orgasms easily either did the fast, rough penetration I enjoy or they took their time with slow lovemaking until I relaxed enough to enjoy that and didn’t feel pressured.

Gigi: The one time I climaxed with a man, it was something like love. Spontaneous, fun, and safe. It was not something he did, but something in the air. It was not formulaic, like some porn movie on a continuous loop. There was no pressure in that moment, and thus I was able to let go, which, with all the stigma attached to women’s bodies, is often pretty hard.

Kit: Those who know me well know the positions and acts that can make me scream when I orgasm, and they know how to bring me to that point. They let me “do my own thing” for a while. There have been three men in my life who know that when we get together we will pretty much both come, intensely, in the first five or ten minutes. There is always erotic talk going on in the background. They each take on different dialogues and different tones and sometimes it does border on, I guess you could say, smutty. But the three of them all make me feel sexy. And allow me to be sexy. Whether I am dressed in my favorite lingerie, or feeling like absolute shit because of PMS, they still let me know I am sexy, even when I don’t feel like it. Perhaps that is part of it.

Lisa: Yes, I have been able to climax with many men. Sometimes it’s what they do, sometimes it’s what I do, and most times it’s a combination. Again, being more open to the stimulation, to new experiences during sex, has allowed me to learn my own body, what turns me on and what gets me there. A man who is less goal-oriented and more intent on just enjoying my body and our bodies together is much more likely to help me climax, even multiple times. A man who is adept at performing oral sex will nearly always bring me off. A man who is more sensual, and less forceful, less “manly” in his approach, is much more likely to get me off. What makes me come is letting myself go, allowing myself to enjoy the entire experience. Finding a man who is on the same wavelength obviously is much more pleasurable.

Despite what you might have thought about our title (although we sincerely hope not) prestidigitation does not involve bringing someone to orgams using just your fingers. … Well, it usually does not, and should you be able to do that your partner might indeed consider you magic, but the word does simply mean magic, not really talented fingers. We bring this up because we tried to use our magic fingers (on a keyboard for those of you with dirty minds) in order to find you a handy link for the Dr. David Weiss referenced in this Legacy article from 2003. Sadly, we could not find him, but oddly we did find a psychologist in Newton Massachusetts named David Weiss who practices sex thereapy, but does not list OB-GYN as a certification. What a coinky-dink. If you’re around those Newton, MA parts and think he could help, give him a call, and tell him we say hello. … Honestly couples could probably skip all the expensive doctors if they would just learn to talk to each other. We all have sex parts. Stop panicking.

Have Something to Add?