Welcome to ‘Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Sexologist’ with Gigi Engle and Vivastreet, a monthly column where certified sex educator Gigi Engle answers all of your sauciest sex questions. Have a question for Gigi? Comment below or ask us on Twitter.
Q: Is it bad to fake an orgasm with my partner, or should I tell them the truth?
A: When you fake an orgasm, you end up playing yourself in the long run because you end up in a fake orgasm loop. Your partner is in the dark. They think they’re doing all the right things due to the faking. Meanwhile, faking an orgasm can lead to resentment, sexual frustration, and other bigger issues in relationships.
Plus, you’re doing a disservice to your partner, as they are not learning the right moves to give pleasure to a future partner. Which means their next partner may fake orgasms… and the cycle will continue.
Q: How many times / how often should I orgasm? Is there such a thing as ‘too many orgasms’?
A: There is no “right” amount of orgasms. There is only the right amount for YOU. Pleasure is not a finite resource. There is not a set number of orgasms one gets in this life and then, POOF! they’re gone.
You can keep on orgasming and orgasming and orgasming until you’re 110 years old and still have orgasms to spare. What you should ask yourself is this: Do I want another orgasm or am I sexually satisfied? If you’d like another one, go for it. If you’re all good, that’s fine, too. Pleasure is a magical thing. Enjoy it in any way you want.
Q: How can I tell my partner what to do to make me orgasm without making them feel useless?
A: Talking about sex with a partner can be an especially touchy, emotional subject. Sex, and most topics surrounding it, are framed as embarrassing or taboo. It’s not weird to feel odd about it, but it is important to communicate your needs. Here’s the thing: Your partner is not a mind reader. This will take boldness. Your partner isn’t useless, they’re learning – just like everyone else. Each person wants something different in bed. Hell, you might want something different on Friday than you did on Monday. It’s all valid. That’s why we need to be able to talk about this stuff. How else are we supposed to get what we want in bed, eh?
Try saying things like: ‘I liked when you did ______, can we do that again?’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to try _______, are you open to giving that a go?’ or ‘Let me show you how I like to be touched.” Be encouraging and empathetic.
And be sure to invite them into the conversation. What do they like in bed? How do they like to be touched? This isn’t about bringing your sex life down with criticism, it’s about elevating it with important information you both need in order to co-create a LOT of orgasms together.
A bigger fix to this societal problem is to be more open with kids about sexuality. This doesn’t mean sexualizing children – it simply means giving them information when they ask questions, using the correct names for body parts, and making it clear that sexuality is a part of the human experience just like everything else. We teach children how to have proper manners and be nice to others, but when it comes to sex we’re blinded. This will help decrease sexual shame and the desire to fake orgasms in the future.
Q: Can I have an orgasm like the ones seen in films?
A: The way you orgasm is entirely subjective. Whatever comes naturally to you comes naturally to you. Erotic movies are movies. They are highly dramatized versions of sex. They are not real life. Asking if you can have orgasms like you see in films is like asking if you can make a soufflé by watching Gordon Ramsey scream at a weary contestant on Master Chef: It just isn’t realistic.
Listen: orgasms are wonderful, amazing things that can be explosive, small, big, incredible, kind of meh, and anything in between. They fall on a spectrum. You may very well be capable of a (very, very) loud, screaming orgasm that sounds like it’s right out of a porn script, but that doesn’t make those orgasms any better. Noise and flare are not the goals of good sex. Pleasure is the goal of good sex.
So, stop trying to be some over-the-top erotic performer and enjoy sex for all its raw, messy glory IRL.
Q: Why is it taking me so long to orgasm?
A: Firstly, let’s define orgasm. Orgasm is the involuntary release of tension at the height of the sexual arousal cycle. The arousal cycle goes like this: Desire, physical arousal, plateau, orgasm, recovery. It isn’t linear. It’s circular, meaning that you can get horny before you’re wet or hard, wet and hard and then turned on and so on. Sexuality is a complicated thing, my friends.
The plateau phase is where all of that juicy stimulation is going on. And the time it takes to experience orgasm? It is entirely dependent on your body, the mood you’re in, and a whole lot of other biopsychosocial factors.
There’s also a ton of subjectivity in the term “so long.” Like, what is so long? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? 2 hours? What is a long time for one person might be a normal day in Sexyland for another.
You know why it’s taking “so long?” Because you’ve convinced yourself it’s taking you too long. When we get into this headspace, it makes the orgasm elusive and out of reach. Isn’t the most ironic thing you’ve ever heard?
My advice? Take orgasm off the table. Good masturbation or partnered sex is not all about orgasms. It’s about pleasure. It’s about experiencing different sensations and enjoying yourself. Don’t even try to orgasm. Just see what feels good for you. Try a new toy, touch a different area of your body (like your labia, balls, nipples, inner thighs etc.) and see if that changes your aroused state in any way.
The point is to have fun with it. You’re not taking “too long” to orgasm because there is no such thing as “too long.” Everyone is different and gets off in different ways, at different intervals. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and enjoy everything that is happening to your body instead. Focus on the sensation, not the end goal.
About Gigi Engle
Gigi Engle, ACS, CSE, CSC, is an award-winning feminist author, certified sex coach, sexologist, and sex educator. As a brand expert with Lifestyle Condoms & Zumio, she promotes and teaches about pleasure-based sex education, masturbation, and safer sex practices. Gigi’s work regularly appears in many publications including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, Glamour and Women’s Health. Her articles have been shared over 50 million times, with her top posts reaching over 150 million shares. In 2019, Gigi was named Journalist of The Year at the Sexual Freedom Awards. Her book, All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life, is available wherever books are sold.