What I Learnt About Faking Orgasms When Anti-Depressants Stole My Sex Drive
The Debrief: 'At the time it didn’t occur to me to question this gamification of my sexdrive and so I let him try every trick, tip, flick, lick and cheat code that he could think of'
I’ve have had, on average, six orgasms a day since I was 16 which, over 10 years later, means that not only have I disproved the urban myth that women only get 10,000 orgasms before they “run out”, but I am also very, very good at wanking. It started off as a cross-pollination of too many Cosmo lists on 'how to please your man,' and a lot of second-hand feminist theory about loving my body. I was going to teach myself how to come and then I was going to teach my boyfriend’s how to make me come and then I was going to rule the world.
The only time I broke my commitment to coming in triplicate, morning and night, was the 18 months I spent popping antidepressants in my early 20s. One of the side effects of my new medication was that my sex drive disappeared, pretty much overnight. At the time this seemed likely a fairly minor inconvenience, I just didn’t want to come and so I didn’t. It wasn’t until I got a new boyfriend that I realized that without a sex drive I was going to have to develop some new skills in the sack.
Damien was ten years older than me and we had a fairly unspectacular meet-cute (hey, you like alcohol! I like alcohol!) before dating for about 8 months, during which I had the first of many fake orgasms. In the back of my mind I’d always thought that faking was a cop-out. Yes it was awkward to look a new guy in the eye and explain that I was unlikely to come until he’d done ABC through to XYZ but at least I was being honest. Antidepressants altered my ideas about sexual honesty. Having lost the ability to come sex became less goal-oriented and more about just making each other feel good. And it turned out that Damien didn’t feel good about my lack of sex drive.
He understood that I was still enjoying sex without 10 decibel orgasms but he had decided long ago that he was a sex god and sex gods, surely, always make their girlfriends come. At the time it didn’t occur to me to question this gamification of my sexdrive and so I let him try every trick, tip, flick, lick and cheat code that he could think of. Now I look back and wonder why he couldn’t just accept that I was on medication that meant I couldn’t come? Why was he so keen to take my lack of orgasms as his personal challenge? Eventually I let the pressure get to me and one day I gave in and faked a small orgasm. Just a tiny one. Which was followed by three hours of Damien strutting around the flat on his own victory parade.
This eagerness to believe that he’d somehow “fixed” my sex drive began to rankle and after a few months of this I was seething. Damien said he was only concerned with my pleasure but he clearly knew I was faking. Or was he just refusing to question the fact that I’d gone from being medically unable to come to having immaculate, ego-stroking orgasms within the space of 24 hours?
Part of it was ego on both sides: to admit I’d been faking would force us both to acknowledge that I’d been lying to him throughout our entire relationship. And that he’d let me, to soothe his ego and make him feel like a great lay. By now it was clear that neither one of us was willing to put the effort into dismantling our fake relationship and building something real. I was working 3 jobs, he’d just had a promotion, we slowly let the sex side of our relationship die without quite breaking up.
The first time I came after coming off the antidepressants I expected to cry with happiness or something. I thought it would be a moment to reclaim myself, to love myself again. To be honest? It was average. I was out of practise and it was a fairly tepid orgasm. Coming went back to being a part of my regular routine, I dumped Damien pretty quickly and started trying to work out why I’d let myself be pressured into faking for all those months.
The desire to have an amazing, braggable, sex life was part of it. And after 5 years of constant coming it shouldn’t have been a surprise that my sexual self-esteem was so tied up with my ability to orgasm. But in the end, it was the constant faking that alerted me to the fact that I probably didn’t care enough about Damien to be honest with him. And that he didn’t care enough about me to call me on it. Faking for all those months taught me that there’s a thin line between maintaining your partner's self-esteem and allowing your own to be decimated in the process.
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