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The Orgasm Gap: Are Women Faking It?

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Remember the famous scene from†When Harry Met Sally? †Harry swears that all his girlfriends are having O-O-Orgasms during sex and Sally questions his bravado. She wonders how heís so sure his girlfriends aren’t just faking it. He insists he would know. Sally then delivers an orgasmic performance that made cinematic history.

Oh – oh- oh yeah, baby.

Turns out Sally knew what she was talking about, and way more women fake it than you may think. A survey of almost 6,000 people published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 85% of dudes said their partners climaxed during their most recent sex act. But psych – only 64% of women reported that they actually got off. Whatís with that?

Why The Orgasm Gap?

Why does this happen? Why are we women giving our partners false encouragement? How many guys do you know who pretend to get off to please a partner? I donít think so. No – if a guy needs more stimulation, heís likely to tell you so (well, and itís likely to be obvious, of course.)

But what about us? Are we so accustomed to pleasing others that weíre not taking responsibility for our own needs? Or is it something else? Are we so tired from doing the dishes, doing the laundry, and doing our lover that weíd just rather get some shut-eye than take the time to get truly turned on?

What’s Up Down There?

When I was on my book tour for†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, I fielded anonymous Q&A for women all over the country, and you wouldnít believe how many of the questions were about orgasm!

Here are some examples:

  • What does an orgasm feel like?
  • How do I know if Iíve had an orgasm?
  • My boyfriend is bummed if I donít look like Iím having fun, but sex hurts me. What should I do?
  • I donít really know what I like in bed. How can I find out?

What this tells me is that many of us honestly donít know what gives us pleasure. Many of us donít even know what an orgasm IS! And yet we feel pressure from our partners who want to please us – perhaps partly because they really care and maybe in part because it boosts their ego. So what do we do? Apparently, many of us do what Sally did. And most guys canít tell the difference.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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9:31PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

I know this is a REALLY OLD thread but here's another tip. I hope it helps a few of you. Frankly I'm appalled at some of the comments in this thread ie." I've never had one and I hope I never do." WOW.

Try this. It may help. The most common note I get these days is along the lines of "Sex used to be just for him. Now it's for me too and I can't get enough."

2:11PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

communication is important. I can't but agree with the author

11:47PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

Thanks for this article. It might just help.

9:48AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

I believe that complete honesty with ones partner is the key.

3:17AM PST on Jan 15, 2012


10:57PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Thanks for the article.

10:34PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011


11:06AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Communicate! Communicate!

9:21PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

I forgot to mention communication is very important. I always wanted to please and have asked guys to tell me if I'm doing it right or if I should do something else. After all I can't get inside someone else's brain and know what they are feeling. Men tend to not really communicate well in my experience. They think I can read their mind. I think if there was more open communication between men and women a lot more problems could be solved including orgasm.
It should be noted that testosterone is the hormone that makes both men and women horny. Men have four times the testosterone that women have, thus explaining why women have headaches more often. ;)

7:18AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

thanks for sharing women secret. its duty of husband to know what his wife like instead of given her orgasm.

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very excellent tips

That was very interesting and informative.

Thanks so much. I'm so looking forward to this fabulous time of year!

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