Dear Alice,

I have been in a good relationship for almost four years. My boyfriend is loving and generous and I have good reason to believe this will lead to marriage. (I hope!) The problem is that I have faked orgasm with him since we first started dating. At first I just thought it would be a fling and wanted to be "good in bed." As time went on, I realized this could be the real thing, but by then, it was too late to tell him the truth. It's not his fault — I have never been able to orgasm through intercourse no matter whom I was with or what I tried. I feel sad all the time for lying to him (sometimes he suspects I've faked it, but I still deny it). It just seemed easier to let him believe it because I didn't want to be a frustration to him and he seems so happy when he thinks he has satisfied me. My question is: should I tell him now after almost four years? I think he would be crushed! Maybe he'd be angry that I've lied so much. Maybe I don't want the pressure of having to really come. But I really don't think I can keep this bottled up inside anymore.


advice please!

Dear advice please!,

What you seem most sure about is that you don't want things to continue as they are. Because you no longer wish to mislead your boyfriend, or, it sounds like, yourself, telling him the truth begins to change the situation.

Breaking any sensitive news to your partner involves selecting an appropriate time, place, and approach. Saying "just kidding" while he's congratulating himself on a particularly spectacular performance from you probably isn't the best way to bring up the issue. Perhaps you can set aside a time when the two of you can talk privately.

Plan what you will say. You can mention your own hesitations about telling him and your reasons for exaggerating your own response in the first place. Adapting what you wrote here might help you get a start. Many women in your situation have learned to orgasm with partners; telling him the truth is an important first step, both in terms of clearing the air and in terms of being able to openly discuss sex, pleasure, and what each of you enjoys. It may be comforting to remind him of all the things you enjoy and love, both in your relationship and in your bed. People have varying definitons of "sex," but having an orgasm isn't the be-all-end-all indicator that you've had a good time. You can talk about all of the sexual experiences the two of you have shared that you have enjoyed. You may also consider telling him that because you care for him so deeply you want to be honest are ready to be more real.

It's not quite clear from your question whether or not you're able to orgasm by yourself. If you've never masturbated, you might do a bit of practice volleying against a wall before you head into the doubles match. This way, you can learn about yourself and understand the moves that feel good. If you orgasm by masturbating, then consider incorporating techniques from your solo-sex sessions when you're having sexual intercourse with your boyfriend. You can also learn to arouse and pleasure yourself in ways that reflect the touching or sensations you receive from your boyfriend during intercourse.

Finally, you may want to consider the possible reactions from your boyfriend. Will he be upset about being lied to, about not being able to please you, or about something else? Will he be able to talk about it right away, or will he need space and time to think? When you've said what you need to say, be prepared to listen or to postpone the conversation until he has formulated his reaction. Coming clean about not orgasming may cause some turmoil in your relationship as you both go through the process of expressing your needs and feelings, but is a sure way to an open, honest, pleasure-filled future.


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