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It's true that women can be fakers: Sixty percent have fibbed about having an orgasm at some point. I myself faked it once early in my sexual life; my boyfriend at the time was sweetly into my pleasure and wasn't going to stop until I "finished." But it wasn't happening, so... I made the sounds, conjured the breath, pressed my hands into his back and ahhh, the chafing ended. Afterward, though, I felt icky, like I had just falsely told him my grandmother had died. My lie impeded the flow of love a little bit. I never did it again.

The Rumor: Faking an orgasm is not only OK, it might even bring the two of you closer together. 

Chafing is hardly the only reason some women (and some men) fake it. Sometimes their partners don't know how to, um, rub them the right way. Sometimes sleep beckons so strongly they just want to "get it over with" so they can get some shuteye. Sometimes their body-image issues preclude them from being orgasmic in the first place -- but they don't want to hurt their partner's feelings. Whatever the reason, some people insist that faking orgasm can be a good thing -- that the boost of confidence their partner receives from their false cries of pleasure will strengthen their relationship in the long run.

The Verdict: Faking it isn't only dishonest, it's bad for your sexual health. 

The main, immediate consequence of those faked O's is a pretty big deal. "You're not getting to have an orgasm," says sexologist Jill McDevitt, Ph.D., who teaches a class on the female orgasm. "And orgasms are pretty friggin' awesome." It's a physiological cul-de-sac: Tell your partner you're satisfied when you're not, and you'll never know how he or she could satisfy you. Similarly, if you also happen to be non-orgasmic when you're alone, you might miss out on one of life's greatest pleasures and stress-reducers.

Also, faking it is dishonest. "If you're making a partner think you're orgasming and you're not, that's a level of betrayal," McDevitt says bluntly.

So what's a former faker to do? If you're going to start fresh with the same partner, you could confess that you've been fudging things. But that may be a bit harsh -- especially without some ego-cushioning orgasms behind you both. McDevitt suggests using the "guiding hand" technique and asking to explore. "Say, 'Hey, can we try something new, different? I read about this; I heard about this,'" she says. "Then try and teach your partner what you've been doing yourself if you're already orgasmic. If not, you can say, 'Let's explore and see what works.'"

With a new partner, you can model open communication from the beginning. "I find that asking questions can help," says McDevitt. "You can say, 'Do you like that? Or, 'How about this?' You're opening up the idea that you are responsive to criticism. It sets the scene, so later you can say, 'This is what I like,' 'Can you try this and this?' or even, 'Let me tell you what I like better.' Then he might be more willing to respond."

Of course, it's possible to have a perfectly lovely sexual experience in which you don't hit the high note. "Just because you're not orgasming doesn't mean you're not enjoying it," McDevitt points out. If you want to change that, talk about it in the post-game replay. You can say what you did enjoy -- which very well may lead to a conversation about what will satisfy you.

To have great orgasms, you need to own yourself. This means learning about your body and being brave enough to communicate constructively to get what you want. "You are a sexual person first, and you share it second," says McDevitt. "Your partner needs to know how you work, and you choose to share that. You don't owe him your sexuality. And he doesn't owe you an orgasm -- it's not his responsibility." (But it's really nice when it happens.)


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