Requiem for a scream
I'm a 28-year-old woman in a relationship with a really great guy. The problem is, it started as a hookup, and I faked my orgasm. I didn't announce I was having one, but I, um, made certain noises. I was enjoying myself, but I just didn't feel one coming, and I didn't want him to feel bad. Now that we're "a thing," I can't keep faking, but I'm not sure how to tell him. — Unsatisfied
There are a number of reasons women fake orgasms, like that the guy is taking FOREVER. The woman's thinking, "What is this, the slow train to Siberia? No, the bus. The slow bus. Over the back roads. With a day trip to Latvia. Hey, driver! This is my stop. Stop the bus, please! I know ... maybe this'll work": "Aahhhh-aaaaah-AAAAAAAH!"
Movies — and not just the dirty ones — also lead to orgasm fakery, giving us distorted expectations of how orgasms look and sound and how quickly they happen for a woman, even in casual sex with a stranger.
(Welcome to the toilet stall or car hood insta-gasm!)
Back here in real life, research by sociologist Elizabeth A. Armstrong finds that, on average, in a first or second hookup involving intercourse, a woman has only a 35 percent chance of getting to the big finish (compared with a 75 percent chance if she's having sex in a relationship).
A woman's chances do increase the more she hooks up with a particular bedfella. But often, until a hookup becomes a regular thing, a man will have his cake, and, yes, a woman will have hers, too, but somebody clears the plate before she gets to the frosting.
The value of practice isn't exactly surprising, considering that even for a guy trying his bestest, hooking up with a new girl can be like driving a rental car: You hit what you think is the turn signal, and — oops! — there go the windshield wipers and the car alarm. Of course, it doesn't help that a woman tends to feel awkward detailing her sexual needs to a man she barely knows: "Hold on — let me pull out the 41-page manual."
As you've discovered, the problem comes when Hookup Guy becomes Boyfriend Guy and is under the impression that he's providing happy endings and not the never-ending middle.
The right time to correct this is as soon as possible (though not while you're in bed). Explain why you love sex with him and then confess: You faked it the first time and didn't quite know how to roll back from that.
Pledge that in the future you'll only cheer when your team is winning, and tell him that the next time you're in bed, you'll show him what works for you. (Basically, guide him like you would a fireman: "This way! No, over here! HURRY!!!") After a few test runs, he should feel secure that if you're screaming during sex it's because he's truly showing you a good time — or because you rolled over on a Hot Wheels truck his nephew left in his bed.
Flee market capitalism
You recently printed a letter from a woman who had decided to stop dating so she could make better choices about men. I also decided to do this, though I haven't had her trouble in sticking to my plan. The thing is, since I stopped dating, I have been deluged with suitors. Coincidence? Or do men sense when you've packed away your desperation? — Crowded
Men, like all of us, are most attracted to what's somewhat out of reach. Had Rapunzel been sitting behind an unlocked window on the first floor, she would have been just another chick with a hairbrush.
Value is actually a relative thing. A lack of supply — something being (or seeming) rare and hard to get — tends to increase demand (as in, desirability). Consider the pricing of different sorts of rocks, and why you see Jared ads for expensive diamond rings and not expensive princess-cut gray speckled pebbles: "Just $5,901.76, for this lovely bit of roadside gravel!"
Understanding the value of scarcity can help you transform how you act with men — and, in turn, how they treat you. There's this mistaken notion that you have to feel secure before you can act that way. Actually, you can simply act more secure — though it won't feel "natural" at first — and you should find that men respond to you as if you are more secure. Combine that with a mindset of "I hope I like them" instead of "I hope they like me" and you should find yourself coolly considering prospective suitors — as opposed to answering the door to a confused pizza delivery guy with "I cleared a drawer for you. Pick a toothbrush."