The Vagenda

Faking Orgasms: The big ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh…nah. It’s not happening’

One evening, my friends and I were getting ready to go to a party. We were throwing glitter over our heads and listening to Pixie Lott when I felt the sudden urge to relieve myself. And by that I mean I wanted to share what was becoming an intense psychological burden, not wee on the bed. 
“I can’t come,” I told them.
“But the taxi’s booked and you’ve already had four cans of cider,” they replied.
“NO. I mean I can’t COME!” I cried desperately, pointing southwards.
After many years of wondering if my vagina had been cryogenically frozen, I chose that moment to share my story, otherwise known as The Curious Incident Of The Struggle To Have An Orgasm In The Night-Time. Because you can tell anything to your gals, right?
Of course, they had no idea, because not being able to come during sex is creepy, weird and embarrassing and not something anyone would ever want to admit, EVER. If you don’t sound like Julie Andrews singing The Lonely Goatherd when you’re straddling a man, you’re a FREAK!!!!
(Obviously this is untrue, but it was certainly how I felt at the time.)
Before that I faked orgasms constantly because that seemed the polite thing to do. It was a bit like when you tell the hairdresser they’ve done a good job when actually it’s horrendous and you want your money back. And besides, you’re supposed to pretend like you’re auditioning for the Royal Opera when you have sex, because that’s what they do in all the films and on the telly.
HOW. EVER. I was now in a relationship with a boy that I loved more than David Dimbleby, cats and eating food (pretty serious), and experiencing this with him, for real, became incredibly important to me.
After a pep talk from my friends that included ‘try rubbing your fanny on his nose’, I decided it was TIME. TO FACE. THE MUSIC.
If you want something doing properly, you’ve just got to do it yourself, right? So I emailed my seminar teacher to say First World War literature would have to wait because I had to stay in with my vagina, and decided I wasn’t leaving the house that day until we had quite literally thrashed it out.
After I finally discovered the Hooooohh-ly Grail myself, I told Da Best Boyf Eva the truth: that I had never had an orgasm during sex with him or anyone, and all the times before I’d been faking. Why did I fake it? Because I wanted to make him feel good about himself, I wanted to feel like I was part of a shared experience, I wanted to seem more sexually desirable, and I was embarrassed and thought there must be something wrong with me. I assured him that the fact that I was able to admit it to him at last was a sign of how comfortable I felt with him.
But yet, instead of putting Tom Jones on and promising to take me to Pleasure Town, he was more outraged than the whole of Twitter after Downton Abbey killed off Matthew Crawley. He couldn’t understand why I would lie to him, and he now felt like all the times we’d had sex before had been invalidated. Perhaps the worst crime committed by my deceitful killjoy of a vagina, though, was to make him feel EMASCULATED.
Needless to say, this pretty much had the effect of making my nether regions eat themselves with guilt and shame. Forget the fact that my lady bits were not waving but drowning – I was being sent to sit on the naughty step to think about what I’d done. And that was just reality, not kinky role play.
The truth is, I didn’t even necessarily know I was lying. Because I thought I was supposed to always give the impression of having an amazing time, if people asked me if I’d come, I would often reply, ‘Erm, I think so’, like I was trying to remember if I’d shut the front door properly when I left the house. It was only when the big mama showed up properly for the first time that I realized that, oh vagina, I never really knew you at all.
It wasn’t like I didn’t enjoy it before – I just always had the sense that there was something missing. I got invited to party in people’s pants, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that they were more like staid drink’s receptions than ecstasy-fuelled all-night raves.
Anyway, we got there in the end, and the BF was A Man once again. But I will never forget the way that, when I had finally summoned up the courage to confide in him about something I found sad and humiliating, he made me feel as though I had done the equivalent of a massive poo on his face. Which, while I’m in a sharing mood, I must say is not something I am into.
And sometimes I wonder if the reason for his anger went further than the reasons he gave – I wonder if, having shattered his porn-fuelled illusions, he resented me for showing that sex wasn’t always exactly like the movies. Suddenly women were no longer panting insatiable animals with heaving bosoms desperate to have their faces covered in jizz. They were just… well, quite normal actually.
I still marvel at the fact that neither he nor any of the other people I’d had sex with (if you’re reading – surprise!) were able to suss out my faux-moaning. One male friend recently told me he could always tell if a girl was faking it – in his profound words, ‘liquid doesn’t lie’. Unfortunately, a wet vagina does not an orgasm make. How do we stem this flow of misinformation? It’s sending our vaginas into comas.
I’d warrant an educated guess that most of the men I know have spent far more time watching RedTube than they have watching When Harry Met Sally. Which is a shame really, because if they took a lesson from Meg Ryan and her cracking perm, they might realize that the hour long orgasmic moan fests women enjoy – or should I say endure – in porn are about as genuine as George Osborne’s soul.
It really is time we all sat down and had a big grown-up chat about all this. As we get older, there are lot of things that you learn just aren’t really true – like the existence of the tooth fairy or the idea that GCSE Maths is something you will use in adult life. Porn is another one of those, and it’s sucking (obviously) all the joy out of sexy time.
Because that woman next door who screams all night is probably not having a good time. I know, because she used to be me. Actually, I was in a living nightmare where my naughty bits were being rubbed so hard they were in danger of catching fire. But yet I was too afraid to say I didn’t like it, too afraid to ask for what I really wanted – too afraid that I was a repugnant aberration. Really though, my anti-orgasmic caterwauling was the silence of the defeated. Desperate to be what I thought men wanted me to be, I flailed around, sighing and moaning, following all the stage directions – and in the process, propping up the mistruth that women in porn actually resemble anything near women in real life.


Context is all; if you take away the fact that I’m letting someone throw me around the room by my nipples with a willy shoved in my ear and a dildo up my bum, I just sound like a dying animal in lots of pain. Which, funnily enough, I basically am.
- JC

21 thoughts on “Faking Orgasms: The big ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh…nah. It’s not happening’

  1. I use GCSE maths in adult life every day. :P

    Seriously though, I did enjoy the article. One thing I’ve been coming across a bit is it’s like my orgasm isn’t really mine. It’s expected of me as a performance target for me and a trophy for the guy. And god forbid you fail to reach it, in case the guy feels inadequate as a result.

    I can understand that a lot of people, myself very much included, feel vulnerable about sexual performance, and I am grateful that a lot of guys nowadays aren’t selfish jerks who care only for their own enjoyment. It’s just a bit frustrating that even my bloody orgasm has to be about whether a guy feels validated by it or not.

  2. This is going to sound weird, I suspect, but: I don’t get it. No-one taught me to be assertive about my sexual needs and desires and yet I am, and am honest and forthright about it to boot. (It’s not that I haven’t had bad sex, it’s just that it hasn’t ever been for want of trying.)

    So my question is: where does this pressure to lie about orgasms come from, do you think?

  3. Geekity, I think that’s a deliberately obtuse view – it doesn’t solely come down to male validation; it’s a combination of factors, as most things are. The dominant factor is the enjoyment of the woman, which, to a man, is inseparable from his performance, even if that’s reductive on his part. If the male orgasm wasn’t such a stroll in the park this perspective might be a little clearer for you.

  4. I’m not sure I’ve really thought of the male orgasm as a stroll in the park, at least not in a long time. I do certainly understand where you are coming from in your comments about dominant factors. I guess what my note was about was more that on reflection I have been getting the impression about any time I failed to hit the big o I was more worried about my partner’s disappointment rather than any disappointment of mine due to not getting there.

    I mean I don’t think it’s million miles away from male performance anxiety, it’s just that it’s a level of being apologetic that I don’t think should be required of either gender.

  5. See, I’m pretty much the same – I never come during sex, although I have come on occasion with my current boyfriend in other contexts. Now, I know that this is in no small part down to me: as a teenager I squirted, but due to lack of understanding thought I’d wet myself and for the best part of 5 years always stopped myself before I came.

    Now I’m more than capable of coming on my own, but coming with someone else usually eludes me. Now, I love sex and really really enjoy it – I don’t need to come to feel satisfied – but I know that my boyfriend feels like I’m getting some kind of substandard service from him. I can make him come, why can’t he make me come? Slowly we’ve talked this through, and he now understands that it’s not a reflection on him at all.

    I’m perfectly happy with my – very good – sex life, and coming is one aspect that, when it happens, just makes the experience extra awesome.

  6. Thanks for this. I have never had an orgasm, either during sex, on my own, oral, by touching, nothing. I’ve only had sex with two guys, and I just get bored masturbating, I mean, sex is enjoyable but I feel, like you did, that there is something “missing”.
    Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me… but this gives me hope that one day I will “get there”.

  7. How long will we keep going on as a species before everybody just accepts that MOST (yes, that’s ‘most’, not ‘some’) women can’t have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation? Why do men act so surprised when I tell them how to get me there when this is the case for most of us? And why, oh why, do so many of my sexual encounters have to end with, ‘could you touch my clit a little more gently … ? No? … Ok, I’ll do it myself’?

  8. This was a great read – thanks so much JC!

    My sister and are both just starting things up with different people and as a consequence have spent hours on the phone over the past few days concluding that the main main MAIN thing in any relationship is communication!! If you can talk and discuss things openly and frankly then all is well. It won’t guarantee that you’re able to come but its not a bad start. As for the unknown poster above, I’m the same. It isn’t weird, don’t see it as anything wrong. My philosophy about the whole thing is that it’s a journey. No pressure :)

  9. Can you give some more info on how you got your bf to give you an orgasm? I feel like you’re telling my life story, but I’m stuck at the part where I’ve told my boyfriend and he hasn’t put Tom Jones on yet. Pls halp.

  10. GREAT article and website. Way to get it out there girls! Only thing was, I don’t really think it’s fair to say that a woman who likes to scream during sex, getting jizzed on or thrown around by her nipples isn’t enjoying sex and doesn’t understand what she wants because she’s been too influenced by porn. It’s not like all men like ‘masculine’ sex and all women like ‘feminine’ sex. For some women screaming their guts off is the best way of reaching an orgasm, so if you’re trying to encourage sexual exploration don’t write something off just because it didn’t work for you. :) But of course a lot of young women do need to recognize the sexual birdcage that porn can put them in, so again great work.

  11. “…they might realize that the hour long orgasmic moan fests women enjoy – or should I say endure – in porn are about as genuine as George Osborne’s soul.”


  12. I think he was upset because you lied to him about and during something intimate, and allowed him to build a self-congratulatory illusion. You may have had understandable reasons for lying, but I think getting upset was completely reasonable on his part. Blaming porn for his reaction seems cowardly. It seems to me that you, rather than he, were the one letting patriarchal stereotypes rule you.