We all remember the iconic scene from When Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan as Sally explains to Harry (Billy Crystal) how frequently women fake it. “Most women at one time or another have faked it,” she says. “All men are sure it never happened to them and all women at one time or other have done it so you do the math.” (Cue Ryan’s very convincing performance over a turkey sandwich—and the “I’ll have what she’s having” classic quote that follows.) Sure, we know people fake it from time to time, but just how often is your partner putting on a show? According to a September survey conducted by OnePoll, the sad truth is, sexually-active Americans are faking it 17 percent of the time. Read on to find out more and for the people who are getting it on the most, find out why Men With These 3 Personality Traits Have the Most Sex.
The survey found that, on average, people fake it about four times a month. There is a slight disparity in terms of sex, with men reporting they fake it 16 percent of the time and women reporting they fake it 18 percent of the time, but that’s still pretty close. When all is said and done, women fake an average of 39 orgasms a year, according to the survey.
“Faking orgasms is a trial many women deal with. It feels almost universal,” says certified sex coach, sexologist, and author Gigi Engle. “Once you start faking it, it’s hard to stop. The depressing reality is that sex isn’t taught in an egalitarian way.”
She explains that historically, pleasure is based around cisgender heterosexual males, while “female pleasure is seen as a ‘bonus’ but definitely not a requirement.”
What’s interesting is that the OnePoll survey found that both men and women seem to be oblivious to their partner’s false performance, as Sally observed onscreen back in 1989. According to the research, 38 percent of men think their partners never fake it with them, and 56 percent of women think the same.
The survey also found that 44 percent of participants admit that they don’t know enough about their partner’s needs to give them an orgasm, which contributes to the fact that 40 percent of respondents reported they’ve never experienced a true orgasm.
But, according to Engle, “when you fake orgasms, you wind up playing [yourself] in the end because you end up in a fake orgasm loop. Your partner is in the dark—they think they’re doing all the right things due to the faking.”
“My clients admit to faking orgasms for a range of reasons. Some do so to please their partners and others fake it to turn them on,” says Jess O’Reilly, PhD, Astroglide’s resident sexologist. “Others claim they pretend to climax to get the sex over and done with, while many women do it to stroke their partner’s ego. Some even say they fake orgasms to show their love.”
According to Engle and O’Reilly, communication is the key to completion. The only way to ensure your needs and your partner’s needs are met is by talking about them.
“Talk, talk, talk. Then talk some more,” suggests O’Reilly. “Communication is at the core of a great sex life and though sometimes a little well-intentioned ego-stroking can have its place, ongoing deception will not produce positive results and can be detrimental not only to your sex life but to your relationship as a whole.” For tips on how to communicate effectively with your partner in this vulnerable situation, check out The Worst Thing You Could Say to Someone in Bed.