I was once in three-year charade disguised as a relationship. Three years of pretending that my boyfriend wasn’t the redneck he most definitely was. Three years of faking the best orgasms of my life. As you can imagine, it was quite the waste of time.

Because indeed, he was a Coors Light drinking, Duck Dynasty watching, Oklahoma country boy. Not knocking the cowboy thing, ladies, but it’s not for me.

The hottest part of our relationship was the sex scenes on Game of Thrones come Sunday night. Thanks HBO, for keeping alive the little libido I had left.

About a year into faking my orgasms, I grew tired of the effort. I felt like a cheesy stereotype, and was unfairly hostile towards my partner for not realizing how unsatisfied I was. I didn’t want to fake my orgasms anymore. But it wasn’t that simple.

If I suddenly stopped faking it, he would catch on! I would go from “cumming” every time we sexed to awkward crickets. And then he would know I was pretending the whole time! Nope, I couldn’t do it.

Sound familiar? I continued faking it, hoping that one day I would finally make it. Big shocker, I never did.

Thanks to the research and studies out there, we know the larger truth: 70% of women have faked an orgasm. Some data suggests 80%.  Although we may never know who is faking, and who isn’t, because there are some top tier actors out there.

Men aren’t getting off (literally) the hook either. Nearly a third of men have also faked an orgasm, according to Journal of Sex Research.  

What’s the deal? Why is faking it an acceptable, sometimes encouraged sexual behavior when it only emphasizes the fact that we aren’t getting the pleasure we deserve?

Turns out, it’s a lot more complicated than we thought.

How Do I Know If My Partner Is Faking An Orgasm?

If your partner was faking a climax every time you’re in the sack, you’d probably want to know. Doesn’t matter what your sex is, you’d likely be a little offended to know they were putting on a show.

It’s the golden rule concept: if you would be hurt by your partner faking an orgasm, then you probably shouldn’t fake it either.

But regardless, women and men are pretending to orgasm anyways and typically getting away with it. It’s challenging to decipher whether or not your partner is faking it, but you can try watching out for a few indicators that they’re fibbing you.

Signs That She’s Faking Her Orgasms

Guys, let’s look at the numbers for a second. The statistic changes depending on your source, but about 70% of women have faked an orgasm before.

if you would be hurt by your partner faking an orgasm, then you probably shouldn’t fake it either.

Yet in an ultimate portrayal of denial, only 20% of men think that their female partner would fake it with them. The numbers are indicative of a couple things. One, men underestimate their partner’s dramatic abilities. Two, women are getting too good at pretending.

By far, the best way to find out if she’s faking is to ask her politely. The reason why she is faking may be extremely personal or sensitive, so be cool.

But if she continues with the faux-O’s despite your questioning, you may have to do a little detective work. There are some dead giveaways you can watch out for that’ll tell you she’s probably putting on an act.

She’s moving around a lot — arching her back, grabbing you intensely, moving her hips around, and all the works… Yep, she’s bluffing. When a woman is well on her way to an orgasm, her body tenses up. During the actual climax she may be writhing in passion, but those movements are typically uncontrollable and look a little more spasmodic.

Her breath and heart rate are sort of slow. As a lady starts to get aroused before orgasm, breath and heart rate both increase. Heart rate typically gets faster before the breath. The breath usually speeds up during the actual climax, and it’s not always rhythmic. If her heart rate is nice and steady post-orgasm, it’s a hoax.

The rate of contraction. If she’s really Oscar-worthy, she’ll contract her Kegel muscles during her pretend climax. During a real orgasm, the vagina, uterus, and anus contract at the same time at the moment of climax. But they quiver a lot faster during genuine orasmic contraction than when we fake it. So you may be able to feel that with your finger or penis, but you really gotta pay attention.

What she’s saying. It might sound sexy when she’s screaming for “more, more, more!” and “faster, faster!” but it might actually be a part of her skit. And she might be trying to get you to come quicker because she’s over it, ouch. Besides, if she’s actually coming, she won’t be able to talk coherently if at all. Moaning, yes. But clear, pronounced dirty talk? Don’t buy it.

You often orgasm at the same time. Ha, that’s cute. But highly unlikely, if she’s orgasming for real.

Signs That He’s Faking His Orgasm

Like I said before, guys aren’t exactly in the clear. It’s always a surprise to people, but if one third of men have faked an orgasm before, then it happens more often than we think.

Again, the best way to determine if he’s faking it is to simply ask. And a simple, “Hey, did you come?” will suffice.

Not to state the obvious but guys don’t get off without a trace. If there’s no jizz to be found then it’s probable he has some explanin’ to do. Plus, there are some other clear signs that’ll give him away.

He randomly announces that he’s gonna come, without any build up. It’s pretty clear when a guy is on the brink of coming. He gets harder, his enthusiasm and expression get more intense, and his breathing speeds up. If he comes out of the blue without any collateral indicators — trickery.

He is over-animated about coming. If he’s acting like it was the first time he ever came, that’s a pretty clear hint. A little positive reflection is expected, but if he’s over-the-moon cartwheeling about it then he’s trying to cover up the fact that he didn’t O.

After he “comes,” he runs to the bathroom. For whatever reason, it happens. He’s probably insecure about ejaculating in front of you, so he fakes the orgasm and finishes by himself.

if one third of men have faked an orgasm before, then it happens more often than we think.

Again, it’s pretty black and white when it comes to guys pretending to orgasm. If there’s no semen, he didn’t cross the finish line. Unless he’s mastered orgasming without ejaculation, which is a rare but possible feat.

But Why Is My Girlfriend Pretending To Orgasm?

There are more answers to this question than we know what to do with. But researchers have been on a plight to understand the motives behind orgasm imposters.

For as many women there are faking orgasms, there is a unique, complex reason why.

Based on a study at Temple University, there are four main reasons why women fake orgasms. Here they are, ranked from most prevalent to least:

  1. “Altruistic Deceit:” Or in other words, empathy. Many women fake orgasm out of regard for their partner’s feelings. They want their partner to feel like they are a good lover. It’s a bit of an ego brush if you ask me, but so it goes.
  2. “Fear and Insecurity:” Instead of addressing a negative aspect of a sexual experience, women feign an orgasm.
  3. “Elevated Arousal:” This is the “fake it till you make it” mentality, and sometimes it works. It’s the woman’s attempt to increase her own arousal by pretending to climax.
  4. “Sexual Adjournment:” In this scenario, she fakes it to end the sex sooner because of boredom or discomfort. Maybe she just wants to go to sleep.
  5. Women also might fake an orgasm because they don’t know how use their anatomy to orgasm, or suffer from some form of erotic dysfunction. For as many women there are faking orgasms, there is a unique, complex reason why.

Why Is My Boyfriend Pretending To Orgasm?

Since the spotlight’s on women when it comes to fake orgasms, there’s not a lot of science-based research that lends insight on men that fake it.

But there is one study by Journal of Sex Research that surveyed male and female participants about their reasons for faking an orgasm. As it turns out, the explanations from men were slightly similar to their female counterparts:

  1. To shorten the length of intercourse: Although it takes most guys under ten minutes to ejaculate, some last a lot longer. In that case a man might feel insecure about how long he’s taking, and worry that his partner is worn out or bored. So, he fakes an orgasm for the sake of his partner’s feelings.
  2. To deal with losing an erection: Whether it’s a case of erectile dysfunction or just a normal loss of an erection, a man may fake his orgasm to hide the fact that he’s about to lose his boner. He would rather pretend than have to deal with a conversation.
  3. To end intercourse: It doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then a guy doesn’t want to see things through and fakes an orgasm. Since sex is socially mandated to end upon the guy’s climax (boo), he has the ability to call it quits.

The Harm Of Faking Orgasms

But maybe it’s okay to fake an orgasm here and there, for the sake of my partner. Perhaps I can get away with it on days where an in depth conversation feels too tedious… Right?

Wrong. It’s hard to imagine that up to 80% of women will be swayed from their side careers as actresses, but equally important that we try to stop this trend.

Faking orgasms, woman or man, invites a sense of deceit and dishonesty into the bedroom — the last place where it belongs. The bedroom is an environment of complete vulnerability between two people. Thus, complete honesty and transparency is vital.

Think back to Pavlov’s theory of conditioning for a second (or don’t, if that just made your eyes gloss over). When we reward a behavior, the behavior continues.

So, ladies: if you reward his semi-uncomfortable, jackhammering style of fucking with a screaming orgasm, he’s going to keep doing it. You are going to keep hating it. And before you know it, your sex life will be a vicious cycle instead of the Cloud 9 it should be.

Every time you fake an orgasm the real one gets further out of reach. A space grows between you and your partner, making intimacy a far off fantasy. It doesn’t have to be scary or complicated, it just takes a little face-to-face.

How To Tell Your Partner You’ve Been Faking It

Damn, this is really the conversation no one wants to have. But if you want to stay with your partner, and you also want to start having a pleasurable sex life, this talk is inevitable.

#1 Figure out the “why”

The first step in telling your partner that your orgasms have been staged for the Tony Award is to understand the reason why you were doing it in the first place. Do a little introspection and figure it out prior to starting the conversation.

#2 Find a setting outside of the bedroom

Please don’t have this conversation in the bedroom, or climbing into bed will forever remind your partner of the time you shattered their ego. Find a neutral setting to open the discussion, one where both of you will feel comfortable. Make sure there’s privacy around. And maybe a beer or two.

#3 Approach the topic in a way that shows your “why”

It’s all about your approach. You’ve been made it this far with your acting skills, so hopefully you’re good for one more speech. Tell your partner that you want to open up about something that scares you. Explain the “why” you figured out in step one, then break the news about faking. For example:

Baby, I’d really like to talk to you about something that’s on my mind. I’ve been thinking about our sex life, and I am ready to open about some things. I’ve always had a hard time asking for what I want in the bedroom, because I have an insecurity that my partner will find me needy. Because of that, I haven’t been honest about when I orgasm, because I usually don’t orgasm at all. I did it to protect myself, not to offend you in any way. I’m sorry.”

Express that you want them to be the one that finally gets you to orgasm. It will make them feel special, like you trust them enough to step outside your comfort zone.

Where Did Faking Orgasms Come From?

Unfortunately, faking it comes with the territory. For as long as people have been boinking, orgasms have been faked.

Because as common as sex is, there’s still tons of room for problems. Good sex entails communication. If there’s no talking to ensure both partners are on the same page, then they won’t be. But they’ll act and pretend, as though they are.

As important as communication is the fact that sex isn’t just about the orgasmic grand finale. There’s much more to intimacy than a juicy climax. If we zoom in on just the orgasm, we miss out on the rest of the picture.

Whether or not a person orgasms has nothing to do with their performance or sexual skills. And just because there wasn’t an orgasm involved, doesn’t mean the sex wasn’t insanely pleasurable. We have to shift our perspective on these things.

The bedroom isn’t like the movies. It isn’t photoshopped, airbrushed, or filtered. It’s not a place for actors or memorized lines. Sex is raw and real. Even if it means telling the not-so-pleasant truth sometimes. Once you go off the script, the real fun begins.