As soon as Chelsea walked in, she plopped down on the couch and announced, “I am so frustrated.”
“Hello Chelsea,” I said.
Ignoring my greeting altogether, she continued, “No really, Coach, I am.”
A few months earlier, Chelsea, a successful, attractive and very fit thirty-something lawyer, had been involved in a serious quest for a good, long-term relationship. She was in my office explaining how hard it had been to find a man of similar goals and values given her busy lifestyle. I had encouraged her to try online dating. I pointed out that it would be an effective method of connecting with a large number of men that fit her criteria, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal effort.
“Chelsea, please explain,” I replied, taking to her cue to skip the formalities and get right to the point.
“I really did it,” she continued, “I changed my pattern, followed your steps, went online and approached my search with a new set of guidelines. I can tell you, it worked! I found the right guy.”
“Well, Ben is a wonderful man. He’s everything I could have hoped for. We have fun together and can agree on just about everything. He’s already my best friend. I even waited this time and didn’t rush into sex.”
She hesitated. I waited for her to continue.
”That’s where the problem comes up, Coach. I don’t know what to do. Like I said, I’m frustrated…the sex is not so good. It’s terrible because everything else about our relationship is perfect. I can truly see us building a happy life together.” Then, after a pensive pause, “I’m thinking maybe I should just fake it. The sex should get better, right? Isn’t it ok to fake it for now?”
Chelsea is one of countless women who resort to “faking it” to fool their partners into believing they enjoy lovemaking when they actually do not. Why do so many women feel they have to pretend to enjoy sex instead of actually being able to enjoy it?
Some women simply don’t have orgasms and they feel insecure about it. This is usually the result of growing up with a feeling of shame and guilt about sexuality. From a very young age, girls are sent pretty clear messages that discourage them from expressing and/or fully exploring this aspect of themselves. Consequently, many women have to learn that it is good to get in touch with their bodies on an intimate level and learn how to be turned on. Only then can true sexual enjoyment be experienced.
Men contribute to this problem with their own insecurity and lack of a basic understanding of how women function sexually. Since so many men measure their very degree of “maleness” by their sexual prowess, it has become well established that giving a woman an orgasm is a defining element in what we call manhood. The problem is that when a woman cares enough about a man to become intimate with him, she usually cares enough about his ego to feel incredible pressure to make him believe she thoroughly enjoys sex with him. Some woman experiencing the need to please a man’s ego report faking orgasms “just to end the incessant pounding.”
Men should understand that every sexual encounter will not lead to her having an orgasm, and that it is ok. Not having an orgasm does not mean she did not find the experience pleasurable. Relieving her of this pressure will allow her to become more relaxed and more receptive, thus leading to more orgasms!
I know most men would never admit it publicly, but many could benefit from learning more about how to please women. It is probably a good idea to start by letting go of the notion that the only way a woman can be stimulated to a climax is by way of intercourse. In fact, only about 30% of women can experience orgasm with intercourse alone. That leaves a staggering majority of women who require other forms of stimulation.
I could go on in great detail about this particular issue because it is truly at the heart of so many of these problems. Chelsea’s problems were rooted elsewhere.
Based on her own accounts, Chelsea placed too heavy an importance on creating the “perfect” relationship. She went on and on about what a perfect match she and Ben were. By wanting something so much can create fear and anxiety not allowing you to relax. Nonetheless, Chelsea’s attention became so focused on how perfect their lovemaking should be, that her own natural ability to enjoy the exquisite pleasures of intimacy was severely hampered. To Chelsea, any problem that could taint this otherwise perfect relationship had to be squelched by a quick solution: Fake orgasms. Problem solved. Forgetting that a long-term relationship needs to be built on a solid foundation.
In his 1996 book, Contemporary Interpersonal Theory and Research, Donald Kiesler provided us with a behavior concordance model which explains the Interpersonal Reflex Principle. This basically states that much of our interpersonal behavior is designed to elicit predictable responses from those with whom we interact. These actions put into motion a cycle where one’s behavior is constantly confirming, recognizing, validating and influencing the behavior of others. Sounds complicated but it is not. In essence we are training people what we like and don’t like.
A dog, for example, repeats good behavior rewarded. However, if you reward a dog for unwanted behavior like begging at the table, the dog will repeat that behavior and always beg. To fake an orgasm is to confirm to your partner that what they were doing was good. This creates a positive feeling in your partner and they will do more of the same. Unlike the dog, training your partner to perform this trick will not leave you begging for more.
Trying to break the cycle will confuse your partner creating doubt. Your partner will lose confidence and never know when to trust you, is he pleasing you or not? When this happens sex will only get worse and the relationship strained.
“To answer the question should women fake it? No! Never fake it.”
Problems, as much as we would like them to, do not just go away. The longer you go without confronting and handling them, the bigger they become. Sexual dissatisfaction is one of the leading causes of couples splitting up. The number one reason for sexual dissatisfaction is lack of communication. Forgoing communication and opting to simply fake it will only widen the gap between you two and ultimately ruin the relationship.
It is vital that you develop a level of communication with your partner that allows for frank and honest about sex talk. But, how do you tell your partner what turns you on? First set the ground rules between yourselves that sex talk is healthy, fun and in no way to be taken in an offensive manner, then:
Talk during sex. Don’t be afraid of hurting your partner’s ego by taking the time to teach them what brings you the most pleasure. Men in particular are very eager and happy students in this area. Just relax. It is ok to ask, “Do you like this?” or “How does this feel?” By all means, if you are asked such questions, be honest with your answers: “Yes, that feels good.” or, “I liked it when you did this instead” and, “It really turns me on when you do this.” Never ask after sex, “Was it good?” I can tell you that no one likes to be asked this question. File it under the same category as “Do I look fat in this?”
Talk about sex when you are not having sex. Ask questions and keep learning more about each other. Tell each other your fantasies and be willing to explore them, within reason. Opening and maintaining these communication lines will make you both more comfortable about the subject. Talking can also serve to build excitement as prolonged foreplay.
Buy books and explore together. Here is another peculiar aspect. We want sex, think about sex and are bombarded with it all over television, movies and advertisements. Oddly, very few of us study anything about it. A man will invest an exorbitant amount of time learning the parts of an engine or memorizing sports stats, but spends zero time learning about the female orgasm. Both women and men should take every opportunity to become students of sex together. Not only is it very sexy to learn together, you will both benefit from it greatly in the long run.
If you are in a relationship, starting a new one, or looking to get into one, learn that ultimately communication is the key to building a healthy and enjoyable sex life together. Let us do away with this notion that it is somehow wrong or shameful to talk openly about sex or that you can offend each other. I find it interesting that couples can be intimate with each other, yet feel uncomfortable discussing the intimacy. So, talk, learn, teach and, most importantly, have fun!