Who are we really protecting when we "fake it" - and what will it do to our chances for real love?
Admit it: have you ever acted more turned on than you really felt — even pretended to have an orgasm? Don't worry, you're not alone. Most lesbians (along with our straight sisters) have done that from time to time — and some of us have done it a lot.
A new study shows there's no point in faking it — because, contrary to popular belief, partners of both sexes can tell!
Why would a lesbian fake it, anyway? Of course, there are many reasons, but from my conversations with many women – and from my own personal experience – the most common include:
- "I don't want to hurt her feelings."
- "I don't really like what she's doing, but I don't know how (or am to shy) to tell her or show her what I do like."
- "I'm ready to stop having sex, but she'll feel bad if she knows I didn't come."
- "I want her to like me and think I'm hot."
- "She's doing all the right things, so I should be turned on. There must be something wrong with me (and I don't want her to find out)"
- "She's been working so hard down there, I think she must be tired. I need to fake it to take care of her."
- "I feel insecure about how long it takes me to come."
- "I really didn't feel like having sex right now in the first place."
- "I'm not really attracted to her, but I thought maybe it would feel different once we got into bed!"
All of these reasons are understandable. As women, we're often way too concerned with other peoples' feelings — so much so that we can tend to "leave our bodies" and inhabit our partners' experience instead!
But are we really inhabiting her experience — or just our own imagining or projection of what she's experiencing?
Think about it. If you found out that your girlfriend — or even the woman you just met — was faking it with you, how would you feel? Personally, I've never met a woman who would feel good about that! So we fake it to "protect" our partners in ways we ourselves would never want to be "protected." Huh? How much sense does that make?
Here's the truth. Even when we think we're protecting our partners, we're mostly protecting ourselves. It's scary to get vulnerable enough to tell someone else what's really going on for us — and for many of us, it's even scarier when we're naked in bed with that someone.
But it's also the only way to create real intimacy — to actually be seen, heard, and understood.
When we "fake it," there's not a snowball's chance in hell that that can happen. I remember many years ago, a couple of months after Michelle and I met. I really, really liked her — and I was definitely attracted to her. She was cute, she was brilliant, she was kind, we had endless things to talk about… and yet…
Something was just not working for me in the bedroom.
I tried to show her non-verbally what I wanted. But it still wasn't happening.
Then I felt myself leaving. No, not physically leaving — but vacating my body as she touched me.
I knew I could fake it. After all, I'd done it many times before, with other partners.
And yet there was something about Michelle, and the connection we'd begun to establish — as well as the healing work I'd done on myself over the previous few years — that made me want to take the risk to do something different. So I did. I stopped her from doing what she was doing, and very gently said, "You know, this just isn't working for me. I don't know if it's me, or if it's you, or if it's us. But maybe we can learn something here."
And so instead of writhing and moaning in fake pleasure, I lay naked in Michelle's arms, and we talked, really talked. I learned a lot about her that night — not only from what she said, but from how she listened to me. I still felt a little sad that sex hadn't worked, but the opportunity to grow together felt even more important to me — and I was overjoyed when she told me she felt the same way.
And somewhere in those hours of conversation, something happened — though I didn't realize it until the next day, when she was sitting at my kitchen table, and I went to embrace her. And — what?! Something moved. Something opened between us, like a bolt of lightning.
Whoa... what was that?
The sexual energy we hadn't been able to tap into the night before was suddenly fully alive and crackling between us! Since that day, nearly eight years ago now, we have accessed that same electricity many times, and had many joyful, powerful, amazing times in bed.
And yet there have also been numerous times when we couldn't get there — and one or both of us had to say, "You know, I'm just not feeling it right now." Some of that has to do with the fact that we are both sexual abuse survivors. I learned to perform, both to try to please my abuser and, later, to hide my "brokenness" from other lovers. Michelle learned to "leave her body," and also to steer away from the power of her own desire for fear it would lead her to become an abuser, too.
Fortunately, we have gotten some amazing help from a wonderful somatic sex coach who specializes in working with queer people. And our deep love for each other, plus our commitment to working through our triggers, has helped too.
What would have happened if I had kept on "faking it," rather than opening up and steering us both toward that deeper conversation? I can't know for sure, but I am almost positive I wouldn't be where I am are today, in a joyful, deeply connected, truly intimate — and yes, hot! — partnership with the love of my life.
Would you be scared to get this honest? If so, you're not alone — and we can help. Michelle and I founded Conscious Girlfriend to assist lesbians and queer women in finding, creating and sustaining the relationship of your dreams — and that definitely means in the bedroom, as well as outside it. Whatever your fears or challenges may be, our coaching, membership programs and classes can guide you forward into real intimacy. Sign up today!