The former Erotic Review magazine editor answers your sex questions…
QUESTION: I’ve just discovered that my partner of six years has been faking orgasms throughout our relationship.
I’m in shock that she could have lied to me for this long. She says she has experienced a climax only once, during sex with one of her former boyfriends, and can’t explain why that was, but she insists she enjoys having sex with me.
However, I feel devastated and am not sure I can carry on seeing her.
ANSWER: I understand why you feel shocked and hurt. The natural first reaction is to feel as if your love life has been a charade.
Modern romance has become distressingly target-orientated, with great emphasis in magazines and the media about how to achieve an orgasm, multiple orgasms or even the nearmythical ‘continuous orgasm’ (no, I’ve never had one nor have I met anyone who has).
TV dramas and films perpetuate the ludicrous notion that couples find it easy to climax together in photogenic, breathy ecstasy.
The inevitable result of all this talk of ‘red hot sex’ is that many people beat themselves up about falling short of orgasmic perfection.
You clearly felt that part of your role as a lover was to deliver a plentiful supply of orgasms to your girlfriend and she clearly felt under equal pressure to achieve them- or why would she fake it for so long?
What you see as lies, she probably viewed as vital measures to reassure you as a lover.
If you can stop focusing on your wounded feelings, you will realise that clearly she has long been terrified about revealing what she sees as a fatal sexual flaw.
I would bet my bottom dollar she was scared you would ditch her if she revealed her secret and now the cat’s out of the bag you are threatening to do exactly that. Please don’t!
In other words, you may be feeling vulnerable and inadequate, but is it a patch on what she’s felt for six years?
Surely she’s the most exposed person in this scenario. She has no complaint with you as a lover and says she’s always enjoyed the sex you have together.
If it were a matter of tactfully suggesting you change your technique, clearly she would have told you what buttons to push.
You’ve both enjoyed your physical and emotional connection enough to last six years together, which is an endorsement of your mutual attraction and understanding.
It would be ridiculous if you thought all that was invalidated because your girlfriend hasn’t experienced an orgasm.
After all, most of the women I know cite kissing and foreplay as the most erotic aspect of lovemaking.
The truth is the female orgasm tends to be far more elusive and complex than the male variety.
I watched a TV documentary on this subject a few years ago that featured a woman who could orgasm at will, just by thinking sexy thoughts, and another who’d never had a climax – no amount of sex therapy or practical advice seemed to rectify the problem.
Though stimulation of the clitoris is central to most women’s experience of orgasm, I know those for whom a large element of fantasy is key. For some, it may be attainable only in certain positions, such as on top, where the woman controls the pace.
It’s not unusual for a woman to experience problems reaching a climax. Your girlfriend’s difficulties admittedly sounds more entrenched than most, but that’s surely because she’s tried to conceal the problem, rather than talking to you or a qualified
I’d recommend that she seeks professional advice on the matter -try the British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy website, basrt.org.uk
The very fact, however, that she has experienced an orgasm during sex – albeit only once some years ago – gives grounds for optimism.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your partner had a mental block caused by excessive anxiety over the issue.
This kind of anorgasmia can happen to anyone. A raunchy friend recently started a
relationship with a lovely, sexy man who was so mustard keen to make her come the first few times they slept together that she said she seized up for the first time in her life.
She told me: ‘I could see it was a big deal for him, which made it a huge stress for me. The more stressed I became, the more difficult it was to come.’
If you and your girlfriend could only remove the terrible libido-throttling performance anxiety from your lovemaking, there’s a good chance that she’ll feel relaxed enough to let go, and that you won’t mind if she reaches an erotic plateau instead.
It’s entirely possible she derives quite enough pleasure and satisfaction from sex with the man she loves (yes, you) without needing to orgasm.
As the Taoist proverb says: The journey is the reward.