Have you ever noticed that articles condemning “fakers” are often written by women who have no trouble orgasming? The formula is pretty basic. They start off by assuming one of three things: a) that you’re not enjoying yourself; b) that you’re appeasing your partner; or c) that you just want to get sex over with. They might tell you that faking orgasms is morally wrong or that you’re letting down other women. Then they proudly announce they’ve never faked it and wave it around like a badge of honor. And finally, to really hit it home, they offer up a litany of solutions. Communicate more. Take your time. Get to know yourself. Get a vibrator. Masturbate alone. Masturbate with a partner. If you can have an orgasm alone, you can have one with your partner. Work harder!
But what every one of these articles fails to address is women with orgasmic dysfunctions, women with a history of sexual violence, or both. I fall in the latter category. Eight and a half years ago I was raped. One of the effects I now live with is what doctors call anorgasmia, a sexual dysfunction that affects about 10 to 15 percent of women. There are three types: Primary anorgasmia is when a person has never had an orgasm, secondary anorgasmia is when a person has lost the ability to orgasm, and situational anorgasmia, which is what I have, is the ability to orgasm in some situations but not others. In short, I can orgasm on my own but not in front of or with my partner.
Early on in my healing process, I made the decision to fake my orgasms when I was having sex with someone. Sure, it was easier, and there were fewer questions. But most of all, it made me feel less broken, and closer to the woman I used to be. As time went on, I fell in love with a wonderful human being. He was there for me through the panic attacks and the nightmares, the mood swings and the overwhelming bouts of depression. It took me five years to tell him I’d been faking my orgasms. Our sex wasn’t the problem, I said. In fact, it was the best I’d ever had. And that was the truth. It was me.
He was understanding. And for a while, I stopped faking it when we had sex. We tried everything: porn, costumes, role play, mutual masturbation, toys, therapy, you name it. But nothing worked and the guilt, frustration and sadness of not being able to climax with my partner was too much for me. Finally, I threw up my hands and said screw it. If faking an orgasm made me feel better, then so be it.
So, here we are after seven years together. I’m still faking it during sex, and he knows it. But guess what? It’s OK. Faking an orgasm doesn’t hurt him or me. And it certainly doesn’t hurt America, as one writer at Jezebel so wrongly stated. It’s not unethical and it doesn’t “let down” other women. Nor does it make me a bad feminist. You know what it does do? It helps me get by.