Much of our world is obsessed with splitting sexual behaviors down gender lines. Without going into the details of gender identities, socially constructed exaggerated dichotomies, and homologous biology I will say that there are far more differences between individuals of any gender than between people of different genders, generally speaking. That is, a man who hates anal stimulation but loves a slow sensual touch, will have more in common with a woman with those same preferences rather than with another man who hates cuddling and loves anal stimulation.
For purposes of this article, I'm discussing "fake orgasms." A practice primarily attributed to women probably due to popular culture, loud theatrical orgasms in porn, and the obvious assumption that men can't fake orgasm because how do you fake an ejaculation? Well, as usual, I'm here to bust some myths.
In a 2012 AskMen and AskWomen survey of 49,000 men and 1,000 women 54 percent of women had pretended to have an orgasm (26 percent every time!), while 34 percent of men said they faked it at least once. Again, surveys like these are not peer-reviewed and may use questionable methodology. The point, however, is that men fake orgasms, too!
While I can't verify the particular gender identity of every respondent, I can verify from personal experience that transgender men and transgender women also can and have faked orgasms. The point is, people with all sorts of genitalia and upbringings are fully capable of, and therefore may have faked, orgasms.
Other than the performative aspects of faking orgasms—moaning, spasms, post orgasmic shudders, the final energetic collapse—the only distinction between those with vulvas and penises is the actual ejaculation. This is barely a restrictive aspect—particularly if condoms are worn. The trick is to unceremoniously take off and dispose of the condom. Not having direct face-to-face contact helps those who may not have Oscar-winning acting skills. Burying ones face in their partner's neck or doggy style sex solves this problem.
It seems that the motivations behind faking orgasms are largely universal across the gender spectrums: being nice, an efficient drama-free way to wrap up sex; helping one's partner orgasm by building up climactic energy alongside them; and not wanting to deal with the psychic work of comforting their partner's insecurities, etc. In order to illustrate this point, I talked to three men about why and how they have "faked" their orgasms. I have changed their names for sake of anonymity.
"Jack Hoffman" (yes, I know) identifies as a cisgendered gay man who has spent time working as a sex worker. He has simulated orgasms in both recreational and professional contexts. He mostly achieves this while engaging in doggy style sex and starts breathing like he's hyperventilating "because that's how I usually sound when I'm orgasming." When the moment is right, he squeezes them and shudders a little bit. Then he sighs and pants like "god I'm so exhausted. That took everything out of me!" He then slips the condom off pretty quickly. If they are having unprotected sex, they don't notice (or don't admit to noticing) that he did not ejaculate inside of them. He jokes that they wouldn't know the difference between that and all the Santorum that was churned up. (I apologize for the graphic detail ... but it's pretty fun to write.)
For Jack, he sometimes felt the need to pretend when he was with people he really liked but knew he wasn't going to be able to orgasm. He wanted to prevent them from feeling like it was their fault. It seemed like a graceful way to make things still feel all "hunky dory" so that they could go straight to the cuddling. Other situations involved clients expecting him to orgasm—especially if their orgasms depended on his orgasm. He would fake it to wrap things up.
"D" had similar stories. He identifies as a cisgendered guy with genderqueer overtones and he also has sex-worker experience. Sometimes he faked orgasms after losing an emotional or sexual connection mid-intercourse and consequently didn't want to have sex anymore. In some situations he sensed that being forthright about it would ruin the momentum and positive vibe. He felt it was more expeditious to fake it.
He points out that if a particular relationship hinges on developing productive sexual honesty, he would not fake it, but if that's not the particular crux of the relationship, he doesn't perceive it as deception, but rather as a way of being nice. As a matter of fact, he believes that orgasm can be a kind of spectrum. If his partner is nearing an intense orgasm, he may get emotionally and vocally caught up in it as if he has had an orgasm. He has one partner who sometimes fakes it for him in a comical Meg Ryan way, and although they both know she is faking, it really contributes to his orgasm.
He recalls one incident with a client who was "blind drunk" and was obsessed with D having an orgasm. He ordinarily doesn't include his own orgasm in the services he provides, but in this situation, he felt that he was contributing to a collective delirious fantasy. He squirted lube onto his clients back to complete the experience!
Another gentlemen, "George," during his less sexually experienced early 20s, would have difficulty experiencing orgasms while wearing a condom and was uncomfortable telling his partners he can't finish because often that'd upset them. Even now that he tells partners, he often has to comfort them that "it's totally fine and not their fault and not a problem!" Once, a partner called him out and she even looked in his condom and said "hey!" He still tried to play it off like he masturbated earlier so didn't produce much semen. After that, he felt more comfortable just explaining the situation.
Ally Booker is a pleasure activist, passionate about educating herself and others on cool sexuality-related things like communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination and safety and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her at her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St. You can reach her at 777-9434.