Why I've always faked an orgasm during sex.* (*Except with you, of course.)

Why I've always faked an orgasm during sex.* (*Except with you, of course.)
Advertising

"Mom, what's an orgasm?"

//cdn.someecards.com/posts/thinkstockphotos-177804331-29O3as.jpg

Even nearly a decade later, I cringe thinking about driving in the car with my mom and how I, after gathering courage during a period of silence, asked about the word I had heard the seventh grade boys joking about at the lunch table next to mine. I had attempted to look it up in the classroom dictionary but, thinking the word was spelled "O-R-C-A-S-M," I had studied the page from ORCA to ORDER and back again with no luck. 

My mom was clearly taken aback. "Where did you hear that word?"

I knew at that moment it was something inappropriate. "Just from some boys in my class."

She stiffened. "It's a sex word. They were just being immature." We said nothing else on the subject, that car ride or since. 

I learned about sex from reading Memoirs of a Geisha. As Mameha detailed what was going to happen the night Sayuri lost her virginity, she was teaching Sayuri and she was teaching me. Mameha described "the eel"—I knew that was a penis—entering the cavern, which seemed straightforward enough, but then she went on to talk about the way the eel would "mark his territory" when the act was complete. With no other clues to go from, I came to the conclusion that the man pees inside the woman, and then sex is complete. 

Advertising

Luckily, my terrible, terrible misconception was eventually corrected. At my liberal public high school, sex ed was taught clinically and pragmatically. We saw pictures of dripping STDs, and a video so off-putting that it seemed to be titled "The Miracle of Birth!" ironically. When they taught us about the orgasm, it was through the male perspective: the man ejaculates X number of sperm at X velocity which can then travel up the vaginal canal and fertilize an egg that dropped through the fallopian tube. The clitoris was just a fancy word in the textbook that sounded like it could be a Pokemon. They focused so much on the mechanics of sex that we never learned about how it could something to enjoy.

Advertising

Maybe all that has something to do with why, at 22, I've never had an orgasm with a partner. 

//cdn.someecards.com/posts/noorgasms1-Lrn7Wm.jpeg

At this point, allow me to state quite emphatically that if I've been lucky enough to have a horizontal relationship with you, and you happen to be reading this, you (yes, you) are the exception. But with everyone else, it's been faked: a When Harry Met Sally impression in conjunction with some strategic clenching and a sigh of contentment for good measure.

Feminist-and-booty-icon Nicki Minaj revealed in an interview just a few weeks ago that she demands an orgasm every time she has sex—and she challenged all women to do the same. Statistics indisputably show that men have more orgasms than women—about twice as often—and when women fake it, we tacitly maintain the status quo: that notion that sex is for the man, for his pleasure and for his ego. 

Advertising

So why do women fake it? The simple answer, one that I presume most girls will agree with if given the promise of anonymity, is that we kind of want it to end. Whatever you're doing isn't working and isn't going to work, but in an effort to protect your ego and save some time, a few well-pitched moans can easily stand in for an awkward conversation, in which you must stoically insist that you are still enjoying yourself, really, it's not him, he's doing everything right, this is all great, you promise. 

But when I think about it, with me I think it comes down to insecurity. Maybe girls with perfect noses who have been skinny and tan all of their life can be effortlessly objective in their interpretation of a partner's skill. But I have never seen myself as a Pretty Girl. To me, middle school insecurities still whisper reminders that I should be grateful for every partner I can get, that I should do a Good Job, that I should make sure he enjoys himself. Cosmo has created a celluloid Uber-Wench for all sex-positive twenty-somethings to aspire to be: outgoing, flirtatious, and orgasmic. If a boy goes through any effort at all for my pleasure, it would be rude not to reward his efforts. If I can't be a perfect 10, I can at least be the girl Cosmo wants me to be.

Advertising

Of course, I'm an individual, but I operate within a system that defines sex from an entirely male perspective. In the most basic heteronormal tradition, sex begins with his arousal and ends with his climax. The female orgasm (if it even exists, amirite?) is a garnish to the experience, something to pepper in if possible but which doesn't ultimately change the nature of the act. 

In thinking about the 1950s sensibility that still exists when it comes to sex-positivity for women, I remembered a particularly distasteful bit of advice I heard repeated throughout my childhood: "No one will buy the cow if the milk is free." Unflattered animal comparison aside, the advice reveals a fundamental truth about how sex has been apprached: that it's something for women to gift and men to recieve. 

Advertising

Schools, parents, and older siblings have a responsibility to begin teaching sex as a mutually gratifying experience. But, in the meantime, it's up to us, the individuals. So, from now on, I'll save faking it for pretending I'm happy to see someone I hated in high school. It's my responsbility, for feminism and for myself and for Nicki Minaj, to make sure my orgasm is the real deal. 

Advertising