I’ve heard it from both sides of the aisle: Grown adults should never fake it. I’ve had female friends explain to me that “I shouldn’t have to fake it just to make my man happy” and have had to bite my tongue at the scores of male friends I’ve encountered who remain convinced that they are the special unicorn with whom no woman has ever engaged in a bedroom acting exercise. The reality is, of course, that faking it happens. I know because I am one of the 60 percent of women who openly admits to faking it from time to time. Yes, yes, yes! Sometimes I fake it, and I’m more than fine with that. Here’s why.
I happen to be a woman who can actually orgasm from intercourse. My vagina is a star player, but that doesn’t mean it bats a hundred. Some nights, an orgasm just isn’t in the cards. This isn’t my boyfriend’s fault. It’s not mine either. It might kind of be our dog’s. No matter how many times I explain to him that we’re not “wrestling,” he still occasionally tries to join in. Just because it’s not going to happen doesn’t mean I want the whole affair to unfold in awkward silence, though. As a stand-up comedian, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of many a courtesy chuckle, and I look at faking orgasms the same way. Sure, you may not actually be making me slap my knee with that joke or have my eyes rolling in the back of my head with that maneuver, but it will be more fun and less awkward for everyone involved if I just kind of pretend like you are.
Just because I am a woman who sometimes fakes it (a.k.a. a woman) doesn’t mean I’m not communicating to my man what I actually want in bed. Trust me. I can give direction that would put Scorsese to shame, and I’ve been known to say things that would make Jenna Jameson blush after a glass of red wine. Faking it and being vocal are not at all mutually exclusive. In fact, even my phony orgasms are a kind of direction. When things feel really good, so does my impression of “girl actually having a real orgasm.”
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“Fake it till you make it” is more than just good business advice. For me, it can be the key to experiencing actual bliss. Like many women, I’m a busy lady with a constantly occupied mind. So sometimes, I think I’m ready for sexy time, only to learn that my brain is more in the mood for another game of “Who do I have to e-mail tomorrow?” Faking it is an immediate and effective way of getting my head in the game. The more I act like I’m in the throes of pleasure, the more quickly my brain realizes that orgasming actually sounds like a lot more fun than figuring out tomorrow’s grocery list. Faking it puts me in the mindset of actually enjoying sex, and before I know it, those theatrical moans are often turning into unscripted screams.
Real talk: There are few things I enjoy less than trying to revive a half-limp penis. If the man I’m with “gets a flat tire” halfway through getting it on, I’m not upset, but I’m also not interested in doing emergency resuscitation. The pit of dread I get when I realize something is going wrong down there is not about worrying that the sex is over—it’s because I know I’m going to have to spend the next 10 minutes pretending to be excited to manhandle some flaccid flesh. When he’s done, I’m done. If there was an equipment error, I just want him to phone in a moan so that I can get to the activity that is always on my one-track mind—sleep.
Tess Barker is a Los Angeles-based writer and stand-up comedian. She is a cohost of the Lady to Lady podcast and wrote the book and lyrics for the musical “Time Between Us.”