Orgasms are ________.
Go for it. Insert whatever descriptors you like in the blank. If you said blissful, powerful, pleasurable, or mind-blowing, you’re not alone. Then again, if you said fleeting, confusing, unpredictable, or I wish I knew! you’re in good company there too. As a 2017 study revealed, 5 percent of heterosexual men, roughly 12 percent of gay and bisexual men, 14 percent of lesbian women, and approximately 35 percent of heterosexual and bisexual women do not frequently experience an orgasm.
Does this mean that you must be defective in some way if you don’t climax regularly, find it troublesome to get there, or have never experienced one? Of course not, but as the saying goes, perception is reality. All we humans have to do is buy into the notion that we’re broken in some way, and the self-doubt piles on.
People can place enormous pressure on themselves when it comes to sex and orgasms. It’s easy for the Big O to become a Big Pain when climaxing turns into a must-have goal…or else.
Or else what?
Well, that depends. For some folks, an orgasm is a sign they’re functioning normally. The implication is that if it doesn’t happen, then something must be amiss with them. Others view climaxing as a reassuring message to their partner, such as “You’re a talented lover who’s turning me on!” Still, others treat an orgasm as an indication that they’ve done their part as a lover; if their partner didn’t climax, they assume it means they’ve failed. And when we treat orgasms as a way of showing that we’re normal, as a means to safeguard our partner’s feelings, or as a marker of our own sexual skill, we raise the stakes of an orgasm tremendously.
What is a person to do if an orgasm isn’t happening? For many folks, their answer is to fake it. According to a 2010 study, 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women have faked orgasms. Why did they do it? Popular reasons include:
Although faking an orgasm may seem like the smoothest way forward in an uneasy situation, the downside is that this strategy takes away discomfort in the moment without fostering honest communication or enhancing sex for a couple in the long run. So what can you do if, along with many others, you feel the weight of orgasmic expectations?