My name is Natalie and I used to fake orgasms.
And I'm not alone. In a study of 71 women, a whopping 80% of heterosexual women have admitted to exaggerating vocalizations in order to speed things up, and 25% admit to faking it on the regular.
In my last blog post, I addressed the advice to "fake it till you make it," and what simulating self-confidence actually does to our emotional wellbeing. Turns out, it's a quick fix for a deeper problem, and is directly at odds with our natural drive to lead an authentic life.
In this post, I'd like to address where this compulsory need to fake our feelings comes from. More specifically, why do some women find it preferable to suppress their own needs in favor of another's? After all, faking an orgasm isn't even "faking it till you make it." It's faking it till he makes it.*
For a lot of women, faking orgasms is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. "Faking it" is a habit conditioned over years of emotional repression and poor boundaries. I know, I know. I hate the b-word too. But just hear me out.
Think of your boundaries as a bullshit detector. How great would it be to have a device that alerts you each time you were being fed a load of bullshit? It would allow you to more readily stick up for yourself when you're being treated unfairly. You could say "no" without giving an excuse or feeling bad. You'd be able to walk away from situations that are no longer serving you. You wouldn't have to waste your time on people who manipulate your feelings to get what they want.
But in order for your bullshit detector to be functional, you need to first calibrate it with your truth. Sometimes, the truth is uncomfortable and painful to face; e.g., "I fake orgasms because I fear rejection. What if my partner doesn't think my needs are worth the patience and hard work?" But facing this smaller truth with kindness and self-love gives way to a bigger truth: "I am worth the patience and hard work, and if my partner doesn't like it then maybe I need to find a different partner."
Sure, that sounds all well and good, but what if we don't make it past the smaller truth to the bigger truth? The discomfort associated with the raw truth is why a lot of us just keep on faking it: Change is scary. And old habits die hard.
So let's watch the situation play out, shall we? You continue faking it and ignoring your own needs. This can be in whatever situation resonates with you--faking orgasms, faking happiness in an estranged relationship, faking the peace in a volatile friendship, faking fulfillment in a demanding job where you get little to no recognition for your efforts. Without a properly calibrated bullshit detector, your needs continuously go unmet. You start to resent the person or situation for treating you unfairly. You start to feel responsible for other people's feelings or situations that are out of your control. You start to feel like all of this is just happening to you, and you're not even sure how you got here.
I know how you got here. You're faking it. You're moaning and panting, but nothing is happening south of your waist. (Or north of it, for that matter).
Stop, and check in with your bullshit detector. What is the truth? Perhaps you're faking your relationship because you'd rather be with someone who bores you to tears than be alone. Perhaps you're faking your friendship because you're afraid of standing up for yourself. Perhaps you're faking your job because a career change terrifies you.
Whatever it is, get in touch with your Bigger Truth: No matter what it is, you're worth it. And you're going to be okay.
I repeat: No matter what, you're going to be okay.
In case you're wondering, I don't fake orgasms anymore. I also stopped faking a lot of other things. It didn't happen all at once; rather, I stopped faking it in one area of my life and started seeing all the ways I was faking it in other areas.
It took years to calibrate my bullshit detector. I had to build up a lot of self-trust, but once I did, I was able to begin the journey of digging myself out. And a funny thing happens when you rid your life of the bullshit--you can smell it coming from a mile away.
* I am unaware of any research on the frequency of faking it in same-sex couples, but here's a non-empirical article on the topic of faking orgasms in lesbian sex.
Want to start living a more authentic life? Ready to stop FAKING IT? Visit nataliebphd.com so we can begin our work together.