Anyone who’s seen that scene in When Harry Met Sally knows about women faking orgasms.
However, it’s not just something women do, as new research by Durex has revealed.
In a survey of 2,000 Brits, 32% of sexually active men admitted to having faked it in the bedroom at some point, compared to 43% of women.
It’s not quite the massive gender split you might expect, especially when you consider those who weren’t comfortable disclosing their faux Os.
If you don’t have a penis yourself, you may also be wondering… how?
Logistically, it seems like a difficult thing to pull off. Even if you perform your knee-trembler like a pro, surely the lack of ejaculate would give the game away?
According to Durex sexpert Alix Fox, a faker’s success relies on sleight of hand and some quick thinking.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If a condom is used, it can be fairly easy for a man to remove and dispose of it after sex, without his partner having chance to notice that it’s empty.
‘Even without barrier contraceptives, anecdotally, multiple men have told me that they’ve subtly spat into their hands then wiped the moisture onto bedsheets or their partners’ bodies in the hope that it will be mistaken for an ejaculation.
‘One reported that on more than one occasion he’d “pulled out and pretended to wipe himself with his underwear or T-shirt”, telling his lover that “he didn’t want to leave a wet patch.”
Alix also highlights that sex positions where a partner can’t clearly see what’s happening can provide an easy way out of the ‘did you finish?’ line of questioning.
When it comes to why men counterfeit their climaxes, avoiding awkward conversations was a major factor.
‘A 2010 University of Kansas study found that the number one reason men gave for feigning orgasm was to avoid upsetting their partners when they weren’t able to reach climax,’ Alix says.
Media representations of male sexuality can put a lot of pressure on men to perform. They’re portrayed as having rampant sex drives and endless energy, which may lead to feelings of inadequacy if they can’t match up.
In reality, though, it’s perfectly normal to experience erectile dysfunction or anorgasmia at times, and unhelpful stereotypes fuel the cycle of stress and secrecy.
Alix explains: ‘There are all sorts of things that can make it harder for a man to ejaculate, or mean that it may take longer for them to hit orgasm if at all, including stress, tiredness, anxiety, drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs, or being on certain prescription medications.
‘None of these factors have anything to do with a man not fancying his partner, or not being sufficiently turned on by them.
‘Yet as a society, the narrative of, “If a man finds you attractive and you’re good in bed, he’ll always cum, and cum promptly”, is so prevalent that some men are driven to faking orgasms to avoid making their lovers feel insecure, hurt or paranoid that there’s a problem with them or the relationship.’
Additionally, they may ‘fauxgasm’ to try and hide a lost erection, finish up if they’re exhausted, or make it seem like they lasted longer than they did by acting out ‘a second, spurious climax’ a while after their real one.
Even if it’s well-meaning, though, if faking becomes a habit it’s worth looking into the root cause – otherwise your partner is left in the dark, and you’re left to contend with the issue alone.
Talk about why you feel the need to pretend, either with your partner or with trusted friends. A problem shared is a problem halved, and hearing others’ stories can dramatically lessen the shame and stigma surrounding the topic.
Alix also recommends moving away from the ‘orgasmic imperative,’ whereby sex is only considered valid if the man ejaculates.
‘Instead, let’s focus more broadly on shared pleasure and intimacy, and widen our definitions of what “great sex” can look like… which sometimes might not involve orgasm being the end goal,’ she says.
‘Ironically, feeling able to say, “Hey, I might not be able to cum tonight, but I’m still having fun and loving getting sexy and being close with you,” without feeling tense about offense, blame or shame, can actually make it easier for orgasms to happen.’
Various therapies and medical treatments are available if there’s an underlying cause for anorgasmia, but the first step is always reaching out for help.
You may also want to try sex toys, both to ease pressure to please your partner and to offer you some new, exciting sensations.
‘Toys don’t replace the intimacy of skin contact and the thrill of human touch, but they can vastly enhance your shared experience,’ adds Alex. ‘They’re complements, not competitors.’
Try starting out with a simple penis ring like the Durex Pleasure Ring. Not only will it prevent blood flowing out of the penis and keep you harder for longer, it can level up orgasms and switch up your usual routine.
If orgasm doesn’t arrive, Alix offers the following advice: ‘Sex is about the journey, not just the destination – so if you don’t always make it to O Town, that might not be such an issue so long as you’re enjoying the ride.’
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