The Orgasm Gap: Are Women Faking It?

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.

How Can We Close The Orgasm Gap?

We gals deserve to experience as much pleasure as the guys do, donít we? So if youíre one of those women faking it, what can you do to get off for real?

A few tips:

  1. Discover what gives you pleasure by yourself. Try touching yourself and figuring out what feels good. Is it sex toys? Soft fingers? Do you like having your clitoris rubbed in circles? Or does vaginal stimulation do it for you? How can you expect anyone else to get you off if you donít know how to do it yourself? Go on a mission and find your own O-O-O!
  2. Donít feel shy about teaching your partner what you like. After youíve figured it out, demonstrate! Youíd be amazed how your lover will get turned on by seeing you touch yourself.
  3. Stop faking it! Every time you do, youíre giving your partner positive feedback for behavior thatís not doing it for you. And youíre missing the opportunity to express your needs and get them met. Be gentle and loving, but be authentic and truthful. If it feels good but just isnít getting you all the way off, say so! You have every right to the pursuit of pleasure.
  4. Schedule sex dates. If youíre faking it because youíre tired, in a hurry, and it takes some time to get your juices flowing, schedule time for slow, sensuous sex.
  5. Donít be afraid to just BE YOU. Remember, YOU are enough. You donít have to live up to some media image of what a woman in bed looks like, feels like, or behaves like. Your lover wants to be with you. Be authentic in bed.

What do you think about all this?

Do you ever fake it? What makes you do it when you do? Do you feel like your needs are met in bed? What one step might you take to make sure you get off when you want to? Is the intimacy of sex enough for you even if you donít orgasm? Tell us how you feel!

Oh-oh-oh so happy to be talking about this!

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.


Dave Youngman
Dave Youngman4 years ago

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."

Masha Lutova
Masha Lutova5 years ago

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

Brittany Rosas
Brittany Rosas6 years ago

Thanks for this article. It might just help.

Michele Wilkinson

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

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago


Linda E.
Linda E6 years ago

Communicate! Communicate!

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

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. ;)

Rajnish Singh
Rajnish Singh6 years ago

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