Don’t Fake It ‘Till You Make It

I’m a fairly healthy heterosexual dude, but for whatever reason I have great difficulty achieving orgasm with a sexual partner. It wasn’t always like this and I have no problems getting there when masturbating, but it’s gotten to the point where I haven’t even climaxed once with my last three partners. I actually fake it now, because women I’ve been with in the past lost a good deal of sexual confidence when they couldn’t make me cum. Is there anything I can do to fix this?
—Better Ejaculate Than Never

First of all, stop faking! I know that it can seem like an easy solution in the moment but you’re not doing yourself or your partners any favours. Knowing you can just fake it will eventually make doing so more comfortable and easy. You might even be going into sex no longer expecting or trying to orgasm because you’ve stopped thinking you will. The back-up plan of faking can quickly become the only plan.

It’s understandable that you want to be sensitive to your partners and don’t want them to lose confidence, but a partner not having an orgasm is a perfectly normal sexual experience that many are confronted with at some point. I wonder if you’re faking only to protect your partners, or if you’re also trying to protect yourself a little bit.

You don’t mention anything about how this situation is affecting you, but not being able to orgasm when you want to can be a really frustrating experience. Your partner—or you—will not always have an orgasm, ejaculate, or even stay hard, and these situations shouldn’t be so devastating that a person needs to be protected from them.

A person’s sexual confidence can definitely take a hit and it can be worse if it’s a recurring thing, but it’s important for people to learn to manage those feelings and their confidence levels for themselves.

The good news is you know that you can have an orgasm, since you have no problem when you masturbate and you haven’t always had this issue. This means your problem is most likely situational, so you’ll want to start by considering if anything has changed, emotionally or physically. Reflect on if anything specific happened before or during the first time you had trouble having an orgasm.

You’ll also want to consider what’s different about when you masturbate and when you’re with a partner. Obviously masturbation and sex can be very different situations, but some questions I recommend starting with are if you’re doing anything different, if you’re using porn to masturbate, what you’re looking at and thinking about in each situation, and the differences in pressure, speed and length of time of the stimulation.

There’s nothing wrong with using porn to masturbate, but if the fantasies you’re constantly exposed to and imagining are extremely different from the realities of sex with a partner, that could be part of the problem.

This could also be connected to the way you masturbate. For example, some men use really strong pressure and fast speed when masturbating, then find themselves having trouble with a partner because vaginal or oral sex doesn’t feel the same. Even if your partner is using their hand, they probably aren’t doing it the exact same way you do, so this could be a factor if you’ve gotten used to needing very specific stimulation to reach orgasm.

When people masturbate it’s also often more about getting to the orgasm rather than enjoying the activity itself. If you’re used to reaching orgasm quicker when you masturbate, it’s possible that you’re just losing interest or becoming unaroused when the time between arousal and orgasm is extended.

If any of the masturbation points resonate, you can work on changing the way you masturbate to get used to different kinds of stimulation. Try masturbating sometimes without porn, switching up the speed and pressure and playing around with delaying orgasm.

If you have a regular partner, I’d suggest talking to them about this because you’re more likely to change it by working together. If your partner doesn’t know this is an issue, there’s an extra level of pressure around the whole situation.

Hopefully some of these ideas will help. If you’re still finding you have trouble in this area write back with more information, and I’ll do my best to help or find a health professional that can.

—Melissa Fuller @mel_full

Submit your question anonymously at and check out “Sex & Pancakes” on Facebook. Got a quick health question? Just need a resource? Text SextEd at 514-700-0445 for a confidential answer within 24 hours!

Is there anything you wanted to know about sex, but were too afraid to ask? Sex educator Mel Fuller has the answers on the Sex & Pancakes radio segment, every Thursday at 11 a.m. on CJLO 1690 AM.

Reshaping the Media Landscape »

« Photo of the Week