Help me be real
June 27, 2006 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I would like to stop faking orgasms. Help me out?

I'm 32 years old and female, and nobody but me has ever been able to bring me to orgasm. I started faking it before I even knew how to have one, and by then I was just used to faking it, I thought that's how sex was done. And I just never stopped.

I have no problem coming on my own, though. It takes about 20 minutes and a very specific body position (legs crossed tightly), but I never have a problem with it alone. It takes me (a lot) longer to masturbate myself to orgasm when there's a man there in the room with me, and I pretty much need to go completely inside myself to get the job done -- if he distracts me by talking too much, touching me too much, I can't get off.

(things I've tried: vibrators, no vibrators, porn, no porn, not masturbating at all for a while, masturbating all the time, just living with it, altering my body position/manner of touch (can't seem to change it one bit), getting drunk, not getting drunk....)

I enjoy sex a lot. A lot a lot. I like all kinds of stuff about it. I just can't come from penetration or his hand or his mouth or anything he does. I can get really really really turned on, but I just can't seem to even get close.

To make matters worse, I'm in a new relationship (3 months) and, in spite of the fact that I really wanted things to be different, I started faking it with him too. I believe that this guy would be willing to work with me to figure something out, but I can't bring myself to tell him that I've essentially been lying to him about this. So do I tell him? Do I just stop faking it? If I do stop faking and don't tell him I was faking, how do I explain that I am suddenly anorgasmic? That seems like a recipe for making him very frustrated.

So what do I do? Do I tell him I've been faking? How do I have an honest sexual relationship with somebody if I can't tell him that I've never come with anybody? If I told him that I've faked it with him, would he freak out completely?

Man, I would love some advice. Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Yes, tell him you've been faking. And stop faking. That's the first step. As you've learned, if you fake, you cheat yourself.

I'm sure others will be able to give you more specific advice, but please don't fake it ever again. It's not worth it.
posted by agregoli at 8:59 AM on June 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

So do I tell him?

Yes, no guy wants to get faked. Just do it. Like you say, it sounds like he'll work with you, so go for it. Just tell him all the stuff you wrote above.
posted by poppo at 9:01 AM on June 27, 2006

I think telling him that you've faked orgasms for the past 3 months will hurt his pride a bit. However, I don't think it will be that bad if what you say is true. If you've never orgasmed with anybody, then he'll feel better about it, at least I would.

Also, your relationship is new. 3 months is nothing. It's not like you've been faking it for 3 years -- that would hurt much more.

I suggest you tell him you like him so much you aren't comfortable faking it with him anymore. You really want it to work and you like him enough that you are willing to expose this deep dark secret to him. If he gets pissed off and is all bruised ego, you probably wouldn't be with him for long anyway. If he is concerned about your pleasure and willing to work with you, then he's someone you want to be with.
posted by milarepa at 9:05 AM on June 27, 2006

Honesty is the only option. The key thing here is to make sure the discussion remains about you. Most men, hearing what you have to say, instinctually make the conversation about them, and approach the topic from the perspective of how they have failed.

The truth is, no one has failed. You're just wired the way you're wired. And although maybe, in a long-term, committed relationship, things may eventually change for you, making the relationship about "fixing" this is the road to ruin, and the danger is, that's what he'll hear.

So you have to do a good job making it clear to him that you're not telling him because something is broken; you're telling him because you love him and you want to be honest with him, and you want his love and support back. And that doesn't mean you want him to spend every waking hour trying to give you an orgasm.

Best of luck...
posted by j-dawg at 9:08 AM on June 27, 2006

Try a psychologist who specializes in sex issues. Work it out. Then let him know.

Plus, depending on whether you have incontrovertable evidence, accept the fact that he may be faking it sometimes too. It happens a lot more than you think.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:13 AM on June 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

I suggest telling him the whole history of the problem from the start, and finishing up with how you've been faking it with him. By providing a bit of context first you'll make it much easier to take. (It's self-centred, but the worst part for him will be the idea that other guys might have been better - you need to frame it in a way that makes it clear that this is not true).
posted by teleskiving at 9:16 AM on June 27, 2006

I would show him your question here at AskMeFi and let him read it, discuss the suggestions and agree to work on a solution. Your background info does a good job of expplaining it and it may be easier than having to repeat it to his face. You can read over his houlder while he reads it.

As for actually providing a suggestion to solve your problem, l am sorry, but I have none.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:21 AM on June 27, 2006

Definitely stop faking it and tell him about it. Explain it from the angle that you've done this for x number of years but now you want him to be the one to do you right. That should appease the potentially bruised ego.
posted by utsutsu at 9:22 AM on June 27, 2006

Write out your post as if you were writing to your partner and let him read it. I can't speak for him personally but if I were in his position and read it I would completely understand.

Orgasm isn't the be-all & end-all of sex. If you and you're partner are satisfied then you'll be doing the right thing. Alternatively, for example, if you learned how to give your man an A-grade BJ I'm sure he'd have no problem rolling over and keeping quiet (or holding you *very* gently) whilst you finish off. Experiment with each other. Have fun.

An ex- of mine was in the same position (hoho!) as you until she was 38 & met me. We had a lot of fun ;-)

Basically, unless you both have tried every possible enjoyable take on sex, don't even think of giving up, or faking.

The other suggestion is a chat with a therapist who may be able to help if you consider it a 'mental block' but bear in mind that there is no normal way when it comes to sex & orgasm.
posted by i_cola at 9:25 AM on June 27, 2006

tell him. from my own experience, there are a fair number of women out there who share your predicament, so there's a good chance he's come across this before. plus, if he's anything like mr. right, you're gonna wanna take care of this before you find yourself three years or more into a relationship with a sizeable elephant in the corner.
posted by andifsohow at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2006

I agree with what utsutsu said. If a woman said that to me, I'd appreciate it.

The best thing is that he might know something you don't -- I've had that happen with a lot of partners. I think I've seen it all and tried it all, and then a new woman will come up with something that makes my goatee (and my toes) curl. And now that you've told him, he might be able to explore with you and try things that you haven't with anyone else.

For instance, I had a partner who I'd discovered had been faking it when she had a real one. On a whim one time when we were spooning after having sex, I slipped inside of her and started nibbling the nape of her neck and stimulating her in a few other ways. The combination of sensations plus the sex we'd just had was enough to tip her completely over the edge, and her response was NOTHING like what I'd normally get. After she came back down to earth, we explored the different sensations and she hasn't had a problem ever since. I still get a christmas card from her every year, even though we broke up six years back. ;)

You *might* want to take the advice of seeing a sex counselor. That depends on how you feel about counseling. (I don't like it, personally, so I tend to avoid it.) There's a lot of reasons for you to be able to get off by yourself and not with someone else, including anxiety issues with body image, gender issues, etc ... a whole gamut of things. But I'd say a good first step is to share this with your partner and tell him how much you trust and love him, and ask for his help. Identify the issue and chip away at it, and you'll get your reward.
posted by SpecialK at 9:33 AM on June 27, 2006

I agree with the other posters who have urged you to come clean with your SO. However, while it will be helpful and less stressful to have a partner that is willing to be patient and "work through" this with you, it's probably you that has to do the most "working through." I had this problem a long time ago through several different partners. I think it was a conglomeration of several issues that were preventing me from orgasming with my partner. I just couldn't seem to relax enough in the situation to be comfortable enough to get there. At the time, I didn't even realize that I wasn't relaxed. I only discovered this after I was able to climax with a partner and noticed the difference. I feel like that's a really physically and emotionally vulnerable place to be in (orgasm mode). I also had some issues being uncomfortable with my body then, and that was a huge part of the problem. Finally, I personally really need to trust the person I'm with, or nada for me. Again, I can't feel comfortable enough to kind of "let go" if I don't totally trust the guy. You don't say if you've been in very long term relationships where this persisted as an issue. Maybe a counselor could help if you think there's emotional issues tied to this. Maybe you can do it just fine on your own with a willing partner. (I did)
posted by theantikitty at 9:37 AM on June 27, 2006

On the other side of the coin, my husband has trouble orgasming with a partner. (No problem on his own, from what he tells me.) He was upfront with me about this from the beginning and I've learned to accept it that just because he doesn't always orgasm doesn't mean that he doesn't always enjoy sex.

Be upfront with your partner and mention that you've always faked it and you want to stop, and yes, to soothe his ego tell him that you want HIM to be the one to make you climax.

Beyond that, I only have two pieces of advice: Relax, relax, relax and experiment, experiment, experiment. It's much harder to get off when you're focused on it, just have sex thinking of it as a joyful enterprise and not necessarily resulting in orgasm.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:39 AM on June 27, 2006

It seems to me that the first step on the way to breaking out of this kind of stuckness is, paradoxically, to stop pushing yourself to do so. Coming is just one of the flavours on the sexual menu. It's not a requirement. Good sex is conversation not performance, the journey not the destination, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The first time I ever had sex, I was completely taken aback by how utterly different it felt from doing it myself - and I was utterly unable to come. And the first time I did come during sex, it was an absolute surprise - both that it had happened at all, and that it felt quite different from the self-induced kind.

If you're completely used to coming only one certain way, I'm betting that at least some of what's going through your head when your beloved is doing what he does goes like this: "No, that's all wrong, that's not the way I come!"... which is about as effective a dampener as you'll ever find. It works even better than thinking about Margaret Thatcher or the Ceiling Cat or tomorrow's shopping list.

It seems to me that the skill you probably need to build is the skill of letting go of what's supposed to be happening, in favour of being right here right now experiencing whatever is happening. Put aside any expectation of coming, and just immerse yourself in what's actually going on. It's a meditative thing.

If you want to find ways out of your standard routine, make small changes. Maybe a good place to start would be to work on the coming-in-somebody-else's-presence thing. Coming is so personal, and somebody who is coming is so intensely vulnerable, that being unused to be seen coming - as opposed to faking it - is a really big deal.

If your guy is a good guy, and you tell him there's something that's been bothering you that you need to talk about, and then you spill your beans, he won't freak - he'll be honoured that you trust him enough to confide, and then he'll help.

Put yourself into your special position, get him to just lie next to you, without moving, without talking, without trying to help, and do your thing. Let go of him and his needs, take as long as you need, go as deep into your own head as you need to be. If he's any kind of gentleman, he will totally get off on this.

Cuddle up afterward and just hold each other through the afterglow. Get used to being that vulnerable. Get used to getting off on being that vulnerable.

Get him to show you his own special ways, too, and don't be surprised if he actually turns out to be quite shy about it.

By the way, you really don't need to be thinking about faking it as some kind of lying; it's more of a technique thing, no different in kind from any of the many other lovely things you've been doing to turn him on. But it's a technique that will stop working for you once you fess up and start getting serious about learning to let somebody else make you come for real.

If he ever asks you whether what he just saw happen for you was fake, the Right Thing is to refuse to say, and just tickle him mercilessly :)
posted by flabdablet at 10:05 AM on June 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Be honest with the guy. He can take it—you may not be the first woman he's been with who had trouble reaching orgasm.

I agree with many others here that you've done a good job setting the stage in this post, and you could basically just read it to him. I wish I knew something that would make it easier to reach orgasm—and come to think of it, being upfront with him might be a step in the right direction. If there's a psychological component to it, I have to imagine that bad feelings over faking it play into it.
posted by adamrice at 10:10 AM on June 27, 2006

First of all, I nth the suggestion to share the issue with your partner. Frankly, if your guy is experienced, you may not be telling him something new - despite what women think, most guys that aren't cretins get the difference, but he may be trying to be a gentleman, and accept your act in this, the most intimate of circumstances, as a gift to his ego that you intend. Personally, when a woman cares enough to fake it for me, especially if she's doing it to increase my pleasure, it can be "porn star" fun - just don't make me pretend indefinitely, as that level of dishonesty carries over, subtly, into other areas of a relationship.

Next, scratch the whole "he should be the one to make you come" schtick (apologies to the upthread recommenders, but my experience differs sharply). Men, surprisingly, don't make women come. If we could, half the human race would be in orgasm most of the time -- we'd really like to, but unfortunately, that's not actually how women and men are wired. Sigh...

Men can be good lovers, and if you are with a good lover, who is giving you stimulation and support, and are sharing your pleasure and fun with him, you are in the game where orgasms happen (you've got to play to win, dontcha know). But sex is supposed to be fun, so if you go right at the orgasmic problem every time, in about 3 times, sex is definitely not going to be fun. For anybody.

So, what to do? First, see your ob, and have a frank discussion, and a thorough physical exam. If there is any reason why your anatomy or physiology is holding you back, you need to know about it. If lubrication or sensation is an issue, your doctor may be able to give you some medical help or advice, and yes, some women are helped by the little blue pill they take themselves. If there is a medical issue, you may get other suggestions or help -- but be warned, you may have to be pretty proactive in seeking help. Not every ob/gyn is equally good at this, so if you get the feeling that your ob/gyn isn't so well versed, don't be afraid to ask for referrals. Diagnosing and solving sexual problems is almost a sub-specialty, and your perfectly competent ob/gyn may be focused on other areas of the field. Don't give up too early, but don't become a hypochondriac either. If you are in good medical and physical shape, be glad, and proud of yourself for seeking advice on this basic level, and get on with life.

Next, you're going to have to do some experimenting. Insanity is the practice of doing the same thing repetitively and expecting a different result. So, you're going to have to do some different things. Here's where faking it really comes into its own!

What you're gonna try is "fake it 'til you make it." With this strategy, you have no pressure at all to come, he has no pressure at all to try to "make you come," but you are going to fake it, so big, so great, so porn queen terrific, he's going to enjoy the ride, and you're going to have fun anyway. And then, with license to play, play together!

You don't have to fake it every time, but do fake it a lot. Fake it like you'd like to make it. Make some noise, call him pet names, try out different positions, times of the day, settings, durations, etc. Have some mad quickies. Do full evening seductions, with hours of dancing, foreplay, etc. Over time, you'll get plenty of experience with getting "near" the "goal," and you won't be building up guilt. Your guy is going to be having the time of his life, if you're doing this right, and I bet he's going to be super appreciative of what you're doing. Give it a few months, keep playing, and I bet, one of those times, bang, without quite knowing where or why it happened, you will "make it."

Doesn't mean you'll "make it" every time, or will need to. Because sometimes, faking it could still be fun...
posted by paulsc at 11:19 AM on June 27, 2006

I'm sure someone's brought this up but...


I had an ex that COULD climax but it took an hour of solid work on my part and a lot of focus on hers. And even then it was one out of two chances on a good night.

So I got creative and got some books on hypnosis.

Admittedly she was, at first, skeptical, tentative and even reluctant. But it was still worth a shot if it meant me not developing carpal tunnel and her getting to bed before 1AM. At first the progressive relaxation of hypnosis was just, for her a nice way to relax. The first two times it really just made a minimal impact.

But lord almighty that third time was a thong volcano.

I gave some pretty strong suggestions in previous sessions but I wasn't a qualified hypnotist in any way. So on the third time I loaded them all together: every touch will be wonderful shocks of electricity, saying my name will make her more excited, each orgasm will make the next one come twice as fast and twice as powerfully.

She topped out at over 20 that third night.

And her right leg went numb for most of the following day.

The point here isn't to brag or say this is a definite cure-all but man, it's worth a shot. It worked for her and she was sure NOTHING would.
posted by rileyray3000 at 2:10 PM on June 27, 2006

thong volcano?
posted by nonmyopicdave at 6:41 PM on June 28, 2006

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