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When Sheryl* discovered that her hubby faked his orgasm one night, she was both hurt and shocked. “Of course I was personally offended because I thought he wasn’t attracted to me anymore,” says the 40-year-old business development manager. “But I was also surprised and confused, because I always thought that men have no trouble achieving orgasm. I mean, isn’t climaxing the whole point of sex for a guy?”
Sheryl’s problem is not uncommon. According to San Francisco-based sex therapist Vanessa Marin, women aren’t the only ones who fake sexual satisfaction. More men have difficulty reaching orgasm than you think, and they may lie to their partner out of embarrassment.
Some men also experience something called “delayed” orgasm, where they may take at least half an hour to ejaculate (so if you’re used to your man climaxing within just a few minutes, his delayed orgasm can also be hurtful and puzzling). Men may also fake it if they feel themselves starting to get soft for whatever reason and just want the sexual encounter to be over.
He faked it – but it’s not your fault
Vanessa says there aren’t any foolproof methods to determine if your man is faking it, but one way to tell is if you don’t see any semen in the condom or feel any semen leaking out of you after sex. “If you made love earlier that day, your man will not have much ejaculate, but otherwise there should be a noticeable amount,” she points out.
When your man has trouble reaching the finish line, it’s normal to feel that it’s your fault – like you’re not doing enough to keep him sexually interested, for instance. This is possible but, more often than not, your man’s faking has nothing to do with you.
One cause of his non-orgasm or delayed orgasm could be medication. Certain antidepressants, such as Prozac and Lexapro, and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and Valium, are known to interfere with a person’s sex drive. Medications used to manage high cholesterol and blood pressure can also affect one’s ability to climax.
And then there are emotional and mental issues such as anxiety, grief, stress and depression, all of which can get in the way of a man’s sexual pleasure. Or the problem could be related to his self-image – if Hubby has put on some weight or doesn’t feel his best, he may feel unattractive and ashamed. These negative feelings can certainly mess with his ability to “let go” with you in bed.
Alcohol is another culprit. It can affect the way blood moves in and out of the penis, so if your man drinks a lot, this can impact his sexual function.
How you can help him
Faking an orgasm is never a good idea for either partner. According to Vanessa, faking is a sign that you don’t trust your partner enough to be honest, or that you’re too embarrassed to be honest.
First off, if you know that your husband has been faking it, you’ll want to ensure that he isn’t on any medication that may be preventing him from ejaculating. You should also make sure that he’s not experiencing any work, financial or personal problems that may be affecting his sexual performance. Then, depending on the severity of the problem, you can talk to him about it.
“If it’s a one-off incident, I wouldn’t confront him,” says Vanessa, “but you can ask if there’s anything else you can do to make him feel good.” If he’s been extra tired or stressed lately, for example, help him wind down with a relaxing massage. If he’s too focused on his problems at work, try to shift his attention away from his job for a while.
But what if it happens a lot and is starting to put a strain on your relationship? The worst thing you can do is interrogate your man. “Think about how you’d want to be treated in a similar scenario,” Vanessa advises. “Bring it up to your man, but use a gentle tone. Say something like, “I want to make sure that we’re both doing everything we can to make each other feel good when we’re being intimate. Is there anything else I can do for you?”.
If Hubby refuses to discuss the issue with you or you can’t work through it together, then it might help to see a professional counsellor or sex therapist.
*Name has been changed