Learning to orgasm after faking it

Dear Alice,

I've been with my current boyfriend for almost three years. A few months ago I came clean and told him I have been faking orgasm the entire time we've been together. I also told him that I've never had an orgasm from sex even with my previous partners. Now that he knows my secret, I can't even begin to think about how to approach sex. I feel like every moan would be a lie!

He was very understanding and even said it made him feel more confident because he was a virgin before me so now it's like we can start from the beginning. Except now it's like I have this mental block that prevents me from getting aroused. I don't have the slightest idea of where to start to fix this situation. I almost feel like I shouldn't have told him...

Please, any words of wisdom?

Dear Reader,

First, it’s awesome that you opened up to your boyfriend. That’s a difficult discussion to initiate. Not only is clear and honest communication the foundation of a healthy relationship, but for many folks, it can also be integral to a satisfying and fulfilling sex life. Second, it sounds like your boyfriend is being supportive and receptive, which can be helpful for moving towards a sex life that meets both of your needs. When it comes to reaching an orgasm, you may find it useful to think about how you previously achieved them and use that information to help both you and your boyfriend with the next steps in your partnership. 

You mentioned that you feel like you shouldn’t have told him. However, not telling him may have led to more of the same thing in the bedroom. In other words, by faking orgasms, your boyfriend was under the impression that whatever you two were doing was satisfying to you. And maybe it was pleasurable, but from your question, it appears that maybe it hasn’t been as satisfying as you would like. You are both on the same page now and, as your boyfriend said, can “start from the beginning.” Now, let’s talk about this mental block you’re having.

You say you're having problems with becoming aroused. What made you aroused before you told him? It may just be that you need a little time to get back there. Be patient with yourself. Many people with vaginas find it hard to orgasm, whether on their own or with a partner. Some people can orgasm through oral sex or masturbation, but not penetrative vaginal sex. Others can orgasm when working solo, but not with a partner. When you say you’ve never had an orgasm “from sex,” are you referring to penetrative sex only or oral sex, too? If this is specific to penetrative sex, you should know that people assigned female at birth (AFAB) have relatively few nerve endings in their vaginal walls, making it more difficult to come without at least some stimulation of the clitoris. In fact, for most AFAB individuals, sexual pleasure comes from direct or indirect stimulation of the clitoris.

Can you get yourself off through masturbation? If so, it may be worth showing your boyfriend how you do it. Every person is different in terms of what brings them to orgasm, so giving your boyfriend a “how-to” lesson may help. Many women find that a vibrator can help them reach orgasm, so it could be useful to introduce one into sex play with your boyfriend. You could also try adding lube during sex to reduce friction, which may ease the stress you feel to get aroused naturally. 

It sounds like you’ve felt a lot of pressure to climax lately and perhaps fear that you won’t be able to. This pressure could be distracting you from getting aroused which may be causing your mental block. Try to relax and concentrate on what you’re doing with your boyfriend — the excitement, the sensations, the atmosphere — instead of what you expect to happen at the end. If you like something, don’t be afraid to tell him and ask for more. You might find that staying “in the moment” relieves some of your anxiety and allows you to have an extremely pleasurable experience, regardless of whether you end up having an orgasm or not. Climaxing doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all of sex — because sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination! 

The Go Ask Alice! Orgasms archives contain a wealth of information and suggestions on how to achieve an orgasm, and ask your boyfriend if he would be willing to help you test out some new strategies. Just remember to have fun trying!

Last updated Oct 26, 2022
Originally published Sep 06, 2013

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