By Rebecca VanderMeulen
Here's a scene from Seinfeld, the '90s' hilarious take on everyday minutiae:
Jerry: "You faked it?"
Elaine: "I faked it."
Jerry: "That whole thing, the whole production, it was all an act?"
Elaine: "Not bad, huh?"
Jerry: "What about the breathing, the panting, the moaning, the screaming?"
Elaine: "Fake, fake, fake, fake."
Many women pride themselves on their ability to convincingly fake an orgasm, thereby putting an end to less-than-satisfying sex. One researcher at Temple University found recently that about 60 percent of women have feigned climax at least once.
But if you're part of this majority, sex counselor Ian Kerner says your acting skills are nothing to be proud of. Convincingly faking the big O just makes you a good liar.
There are plenty of reasons women pretend to be satisfied. Maybe it's not happening for real because they're tired, distracted, anxious or stressed out. Some women have pain during intercourse or have never experienced a climax, so they fake to put an end to an act that just isn't that enjoyable. (Guys fake it too, by the way, and for the same reasons as women.)
Some experts say it's OK to fake, but only on very rare occasions. Sexologist Isadora Alman compares it to throwing a frozen lasagna in the oven because you don't feel like making dinner, or wearing the same clothes you did yesterday because you don't have time to shower. Those time savers are forgivable every so often but certainly not every day.
Kerner adds that he can think of a few times when pretending is permissible. If you're sleeping with someone you never plan on seeing again, faking is OK to get the act over with. It might also be all right if you're with a new partner. "Many women do not orgasm the first few times they sleep with a guy," he says. "If it's your first time having sex with a guy, maybe, just maybe, I'd cut the woman some slack."
But isn't faking good for a relationship sometimes, if only to preserve your man's ego? Absolutely not, Kerner and Alman say.
"Guys are not going to freak out at getting some sexual feedback," Kerner says. "They're a lot more likely to freak out if they find out you've been faking it."
Alman says the only path toward a real orgasm is to talk to your partner about it – especially if you find yourself faking regularly. Wait until you're not in bed, she says, and express what you need to climax.
"A lot of men will see this as an indictment," she says. So she suggests reassuring your guy by saying something like, "It's not that I don't love you. It's not that you're not a good lover or I'm not satisfied with the size of your equipment."
If you know what satisfies you, Alman says, gently suggest that your partner try it – whether you need a vibrator, a bit more foreplay, whatever. Once your partner sees the difference in how you respond, he should take the hint. And if you've never had an orgasm, be honest. An attentive partner will be happy to help you figure out what does work.
After all, you're not going to get what you want unless you ask for it.
Or as Kerner says: "Anytime you're going to fake, you're depriving yourself and your relationship of a teachable moment."
What's your take on 'the fake'? We want to hear from you!!