Published in the Toronto Sun and Sun Media papers May, 2009.
Part 3 in a 3-part series
This is a public service announcement for all you women out there who have thrown back your heads, feigned guttural screams of pleasure and thrown in an extra epileptic seizure spasm for good measure during a romp — you know who you are.
According to a Sun Media/Leger Marketing poll that surveyed 1,003 women across the country, 49% of you admit to having faked an orgasm, either to protect your partner's ego or to expedite the transaction and get the sex over with.
But experts agree unanimously faking it is the wrong move to have in one's boudoir repertoire.
"Never fake it because you're not going to get what you want," says Calgary-based sex therapist Cheryl Swan, echoing an oft-repeated refrain among experts.
Faking an orgasm is a huge disservice to your own pleasure, they say, and could be construed as a betrayal by your partner. Talk your partner through what feels good, experts say, and take your pleasure by the horns, so to speak.
The results of our survey seemed low for Pega Ren, a sexologist from Vancouver who said the propensity to fake orgasms depends on a woman's comfort level.
"We fake orgasms depending on the level of safety. The safer we feel with the lover in asking for what we want and talking honestly about how we like sex, the less we have to fake," she says. "When we're in a trusting, open relationship we're able to communicate openly and don't have to fake anymore."
Respondents in the poll also said they average about two orgasms a week.
Should we be unable to achieve the Big-O, 67% of women said it's no one's fault, that "these things happen."
"Sex isn't always an orgasmic delight," emphasizes Canada's preeminent sexpert, Sue Johanson. "But women still find pleasure in the intimacy, cuddling and appreciate a good partner."
It's a concept men can't get their head around, agrees Robin Milhausen, sexologist at the University of Guelph, as they define their sexual prowess on the ability to move the earth for their woman.? "Orgasms are not central to women for great sex," she said. "Women know it's trickier to get an orgasm but most still find sex satisfying, physically and emotionally."
Meanwhile, though our female respondents told us much about their sex lives, what they refused to tell us also said volumes about their sexual attitudes.
When asked how they climax — be it with a partner or through masturbation — 40% of women balked at the question and refused to answer. Of those respondents who did, survey results showed that women orgasm about once a week through sessions of solo self-love, with more masters of their own domain likely to be found in Western Canada than elsewhere in the country.
While masturbation is a generally accepted release method for men — described by one expert as the anatomical equivalent of "flushing out the pipes" — self-pleasure for women remains the final frontier for society, a relic of our puritanical hangover, Swan said.
"Every single human is responsible for their own orgasm," Swan said. "To put that weight on someone else is a lot of pressure. Only you know what feels good."
To explain this double standard, Milhausen challenges us to step into the boxer-briefs of a man.? "Men have their genitalia hanging outside their body. They have to hold their penises to go to the bathroom. They're used to seeing their genitalia and are encouraged to explore their sexuality," she explains.
Women's genitalia, on the other hand, is internal, tucked beneath folds of skin as though it were a hidden secret.
"We don't get those messages. We're told our bodies are dirty, smelly and shameful."
It's the final taboo, the one bedroom activity that women do in secret and won't admit to. Kind of like stashing our latest dress purchase in the back of the closet away from prying hubby eyes or devouring a whole pint of ice cream alone in a moment of weak indulgence.
"Nice girls don't do that," Johanson said. "But smart girls do."