By Alexa Day
My mind has been on the orgasm this week, and not for the usual reasons. I blame Slate, in a good-natured, shoulder-slapping way. This week’s article about the faked orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally started me thinking.
Are we women still faking orgasms? And, presuming the answer is yes, why are we doing that?
Considering that the faked orgasm is itself an act of deception, and a sexual one at that, it’s not altogether surprising that its proponents are less than forthcoming about their motivations. What might make it easier to pretend to have an orgasm than to actually have one? Fatigue? Boredom? How many women who are faking orgasms have never experienced one?
If our partners aren’t getting us to climax, isn’t it better for the relationship if we’re all honest about it? I might be looking at the world through romance-novel-colored glasses, but I think our partners genuinely want to give us … well … genuine pleasure. If they’re not hitting the mark, so to speak, aren’t we better served if we help out? If they’re not open to advice, aren’t we better served if we find partners who are? If we’ve never experienced pleasure in this way, why not begin to pursue it with a partner who’s also invested in it?
Are we really so inhibited about even the discussion of sex that we can’t find a way around the faked orgasm?
I think there might be an answer or two to all these questions in another Slate article. As I write this, I feel better about having orgasm on the brain this week. Not that I’m ashamed of that sort of thing – it is my line of work, in a way – but I’ve only written one orgasm-themed article this week. So there.
Slate interviewed Dr. Debby Herbenick about studies that revealed an “orgasm gap” between the genders. The study shows that 40 percent of women achieve orgasm during casual sexual experiences, compared to 80 percent of men.
Before we go even a second farther, you should know that the study only includes college students. It still makes a valid point or two about orgasm, but still, you should just know.
It’s easy to be discouraged by the lower number for women, but consider these factors. As we women get older – you know, older than college age – I think we become more sexually aware. When we learn more about ourselves, orgasm becomes a little easier to reach. Hookups leave so little space for communication, far less than a growing, developing relationship does. In addition, the study only covers hooking up with intercourse, which results in orgasm far less frequently than we often give it credit for. (As a romance writer, I will take some responsibility for that.)
But isn’t it possible that the young women in this study have figured out something that often eludes their more experienced counterparts? Maybe they realize that the orgasm isn’t the point of every sexual encounter. If that’s the case, we might just be looking at a future without faked orgasms, better real ones, and a richer spectrum of experiences in between. That’s a future worth exploring both in reality and in fiction.
I’d love to hear what you think about faking it while making it. Want to have what we’re having? All you have to do is follow us.