Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email email@example.com.
I am a woman of 68. I have been faking my orgasm with my lover of two and a half years because he does little foreplay, and I am embarrassed to show him. I masturbate to get my pleasure.
He has never brought me to orgasm because he enters me as soon as he gets hard. I wish I could communicate that just because he is erect, that doesn’t mean I am ready. I need more hugging and kissing. Having my nipples stroked and my tummy rubbed turns me on. I need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.
Sex is satisfying in that I love the physical contact and hugs afterward, but I have never come with him. I started faking orgasm the first time we made love. He is tender and loving while we are having sex, and he is very sensitive about my being satisfied. I am worried that if I tell him the truth, he will be shocked and disappointed.
He is a sweet man, and I feel guilty about not being honest with him. I would like your advice on how to tell or show him the kind of attention I need.
You’re far from alone in faking orgasm. The Internet is full of women saying just what you say: “I’ve been faking orgasm – how do I tell him the truth now?” (Google that phrase – you’ll see what I mean.)
Let me first address why it’s a bad idea to fake orgasm – not to make you feel bad, but because other women may need to hear this. Then I’ll try to help you repair the damage.
- Men with sexual experience know that no two women are exactly alike in what kind of sexual stimulation they need to reach orgasm. If your lover is convinced that he knows how to make you come (get hard, get in, get you off), he’ll continue to repeat what he thinks works.
- The way you’re having sex isn’t what you like, but since he thinks it is, he has no incentive to try anything different. You say, “He doesn’t have a clue about foreplay,” but in fact you’ve “trained” him to skip the warm-up.
- Faking orgasm is dishonesty within an intimate part of your relationship. You know that, and that’s why you feel bad about it.
- The longer you fake it, the harder it will be to extricate yourself from this dishonesty.
Your intentions were loving – you wanted to make him feel good. Woman of our age were brought up to “please,” and our sex education rarely included how a woman experiences sexual pleasure or how to communicate that to a partner. How helpful it would have been if we knew how to say early in the relationship, “I know you want to please me. Let me tell/show you what I need to reach orgasm.”
What to do now? First, I applaud you for wanting to change things. You feel dishonest, and you realize that if you don’t tell him, you’ll never reach orgasm with him.
But you’re in a bind; you know he’ll be devastated to learn that he never really did bring you to orgasm. Is there a half-way strategy to get your sex life on track? I’m struggling with advising this, because I’m such a proponent of honest communication in a relationship, but I wonder if it might be a good move to tell him the truth, but not the whole truth – something like this:
“There are some ways I pleasure myself on my own that I’d love to teach you, so that I can enjoy sex with you even more. I respond to a long warm-up with lots of touching and kissing, and I get really aroused when my clitoris is stimulated. Can we try that when we make love, and save intercourse for the final act?”
So yes, you’re skipping the part about faking, but you’re changing everything for the better from now on. Lead him, teach him, and let him know when he’s doing what pleases you.
Realize, though, that if he asks, “How long has this been true?” or “So are you saying that what we’ve been doing hasn’t really pleased you?” you can’t retreat into a lie again – you’ll need to answer honestly. That will be the hardest conversation, and he’ll be hurt. If he asks, explain that you started out wanting to please him, and it snowballed to the point that you didn’t know how to back out and tell the truth, but you love him so much that you needed to come clean.
If you want to tell him the whole truth, you could also consider a suggestion from Debby Herbenick, PhD, research scientist at Indiana University and author of “Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered – For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex.” She suggests that you start by saying something like, “This is so hard for me to say, because it makes me feel embarrassed or inadequate, but also makes me feel ashamed for being dishonest about my sexuality, so I hope you can be gentle with me…,” and then lead into the faking part.
I know this is hard. But consider how delicious it will be if your lover does exactly what you need, and you blast into orgasm with his assistance. Wouldn’t you prefer that? It’s not too late to teach him what he needs to know to make that happen. What a glorious sex life you’ll have together after that!
If this seems like an impossible task, you may want to have a session or two with a therapist who can help you figure out how to tell him, or even facilitate the conversation with both of you and the therapist in the room.
Your needs are perfectly normal. Most women need plenty of foreplay to get aroused before intercourse, and the older we get, the more we need. Even after plenty of warm-up, clitoral stimulation is necessary for most of us. Only about 25 percent of women have orgasms consistently through intercourse alone, and only about 50 percent sometimes do. About 20 percent seldom or never have orgasms during intercourse.
At our age, when it’s harder for women to reach orgasm than it used to be, there may be more women faking orgasm than we imagine – and how would we know, since few come forward and admit it?
I’d love to hear from other readers who had a pattern of faking orgasm and decided to stop. What happened when you told your partner? How did you teach your lover how to please you? How did your relationship change afterward? Let’s learn from each other.
To send Joan your questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is confidential.
Joan Price is the author of the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s blog, “Naked at Our Age.”