Have you ever been served food that makes your taste buds shrivel up but felt the need to go ‘yummm’ in order to save face? What happened the next time? The person probably served you that same decrepit mess, but an even bigger portion this time. Why is it that we pretend to like things we hate for the sake of sparing people’s feelings? It’s not just the small stuff. The same thing happens during sex.
When I was at university and trying to also come to terms with possibly failing philosophy, I started to muse about why people faked orgasms. Really, why do people do it? Is it a matter of social graces? Trying to be polite and encouraging even if the sex is awful because that’s just what nice people do? I came to no real conclusion, except to say that faking orgasms is counterproductive. This however did not stop me doing it years later, but then again everyone knows taking one’s own advice is poor etiquette.
Fast forward the many conversations and wisdom gained and this question has again reared its ugly head. Why do we keep pretending in the sack? Hooting and hollering as if the sex you’re having is the best thing since Empire. This sexual charade is widespread and knows no gender, race or religion. From the blond women on porn screens in the United States to the regions within Uganda that teach women how to ‘make encouraging sounds,’ there has for a long time been a culture of feigning fun.
There are many men who live in fear that the sounds that were made last night were not all together authentic. But then again there are scores more who believe they were.
According to sex psychologists it is not just women who are faking orgasms but men as well, and they are doing this for a whole host of reasons. Research has shown that people fake orgasms because of boredom, out of wanting to please their partner and not hurt their feelings, because an orgasm was not on the horizon, because they wanted to end the sex quickly, or because they felt they were taking too long
According to psychologists, the overarching reason most people fake orgasms is in order to adhere to a certain social script. Say you meet someone and you have a great conversation (or maybe not, sometimes a glance is enough) and jump into bed with them. The socially acceptable thing to do is to feign satisfaction. In the same way you would say ‘compliments to the chef’ after a good meal.
Even if the meal it is not satisfactory you still need to send a nice note to the kitchen saying ‘good eats guys’. We do this because we have convinced ourselves that we must not, especially as women, disrupt the social sexual order of things. Granted not everything can be magical all the time but repeatedly faking it means that we’re condoning bad sex.
According to studies, most faking takes place in relationships. Couples need to ask themselves if this is the meal they’re going to be having every night, so to speak, why does it have to be lukewarm and lacking in flavour? But most couples don’t go there simply because they don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. What happens when 20 years later he still does that thing he thinks you like but you really hate? Think about it. That’s a lot of bad sex.
Now instead of saying ‘that could be my life’ you could simply look you partner dead in the eye and be like ‘that was probably the worst thing that has happened to me lying down. And this includes the time I got my wisdom teeth pulled out.’ Ok, maybe something more subtle and sensitive. But just do it. It could mean the difference between figuring out the number of people coming to the renewal of your vows and the number of a good divorce lawyer.
One would think that none of this would matter with one night stands but alas, it does. I hear you say: ‘Let the couples deal with their sexual shenanigans when they come together.’ But think of it this way: much as any STIs and STDs you carry could affect your future partner, the same goes for bad sex. If you keep pretending, you send the person back out into the world with a false sense of security and a flawed set of skills. You’re not doing anyone any favours. Even though we live in a sexed up world the number of people having orgasms are far lower than they should be. The world needs more real orgasms not fewer.
With social media the courting process has been reduced to swiping left or right or clicking follow/add friend. Even a double tap on Instagram could get you a little something something. No longer do we have to wait an extended period of time to get a little coitus which means that hook ups have gone from ‘slow roast’ to ‘microwave’. There is no time for bad sex and we have to be honest with each other. As one of my friends said about her sexual partner, “I am judging you like a roman emperor.” Don’t let whoever you hook up with go out there and be judged harshly. Think of it as a customer service survey.
If your cell phone provider calls you and asks you how their service is, and you know you haven’t had an internet connection in three days and your phone calls keep getting cut off, what do say? If you do the polite thing and say ‘great’ you will have done all future customers a great wrong. We cannot be a world of people faking customer service surveys and secretly complaining about it to friends. We have to move society forward through innovation and feedback. One can say, to some extent, enjoying sex is our civic duty.