Never Fear: Orgasms


“My partner has been putting in all the work [in sex] and I feel guilty about how long I’m taking. Should I fake an orgasm to please my partner?”

Sometimes, no matter how much stimulation and time you spend having sex, an orgasm will elude you. The more you stress about having an orgasm, the further away it seems — I’ve been there. Imagining my partner’s discomfort can spiral into a feeling of guilt. I’ve also been on the other side of this: sometimes I’ve felt tired and impatient, waiting for my partner to finish. This is a dangerous cycle, as faking an orgasm is dishonest and can be toxic to good sex.

Conceptualizing orgasms as the goal or the end of sex is a systemic issue in sex culture. If having an orgasm is the point, then why bother having a partner? I can do it in five minutes flat on my own and I don’t even have to take off my hoodie. Instead of panicking over orgasms, make sex a special and less frequent activity. Sometimes having sex can become a routine in a long-term relationship, leading to repetitive, orgasm-centric sex. Talk with your partner about having sex without either of you “finishing;” finish whenever you decide to watch TV and cuddle instead.

I try to imagine sex with a partner like eating at a fancy new restaurant, which makes masturbation like going to your favorite grilled cheese place. The best part of sex is appreciating the intention and creativity put into it, even if you don’t get the grilled cheese. Orgasms are just one of many ways to show your partner that you appreciate their time and care. Don’t fake an orgasm. Just let your partner know when you are ready to cuddle instead.

“Never Fear” is a sexual health column run by Teagan Webb ’19. If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to