I was fourteen the first time I faked an orgasm.
We slipped into an old camp museum after dark, hidden from the rest of the kids. He was tall and strong and incredibly lanky, and as he pushed his fingers into me, I gasped. All I could think was how badly I had to pee. He was a pianist, his fingers long and bony, and it goddamn hurt.
He kept going, faster and deeper, as my groans got louder and more intense. Soon I realized that the best way to make it stop was to sound like how those women acted in the movies I watched with my parents, in the scenes I pretended not to notice. I let out a final groan, not sure how long it had taken. He smiled his signature Cheshire grin. I smiled back, weakly.
In the months following, I got good at “faking it.” My noises got louder, more diverse, I fully committed to the role – and I would see how happy they made him each time, how proud he felt after making me finish just so quickly! He’d always offer a “second round,” and get confused when I explained in my typical flustered and rushed manner that I was just so satisfied from the first time that I needed a break for now.
Soon it was my normal reaction. It wasn’t like the boys I were with weren’t trying: they would spend hours between my legs on the few occasions I let them, but I simply wasn’t interested.
In high school, my long-term boyfriend nearly broke up with me when I told him the truth. I had just started birth control, and sex felt different. Less pleasurable, if it was ever good in the first place. When I told him, he just looked at me as if I had shattered his entire perception of reality, of himself, of me.
It quickly became a joke, because we didn’t know how else to handle it. He made a group chat with our closest guys friends, the “Support Group” to try to figure out how to give me an orgasm. “Have you tried sitting on a washing machine? I heard that works.” As a group of 14 year old boys who had never had their first kiss tried to teach me how to pleasure myself, I was slowly giving up.
Soon, I was referred to simply as “Broken,” leading to years of me questioning if I was asexual, or actually just defective. It was ironic, because I always was the one who had the most sex. I had a reputation of hooking up with new people on a constant basis, with no resistance to putting out nearly immediately.
I have no issue with strong women having sex because they liked it, but that’s not what I was doing. I wasn’t strong. I saw sex as a way for boys to stick around, thinking that maybe if I was there and I was easy, then they’d just become habituated and get too lazy to leave – maybe they would even get attached and decided they truly liked me, with time. And I would continue to fake it, because I saw the look in their eyes, the happiness that it gave them to hear those moans escape from my clenched jaw – a relief for them that was on occasion more satisfying than getting off themselves.
I remember when a friend told me that boys had sex with me because they could – and I was so offended. They liked me because I was cute and sweet, not because I gave them attention, because I was always there, because I offered my everything and asked for nothing in return. That is, until I asked for love and attention back and they got confused and so did I, because how could someone who held my hand and kiss me on the forehead, someone who gave me their hoodie so I wasn’t cold in the night, someone who told me that I was special – how could they not want me.
It was a cycle – I would sleep with boys to make them happy and keep them around, until they left, and I would find a new boy and they’d think I was easy and leave even quicker than the last one. They would try to be honest – tell me that they didn’t want a relationship. But there was always still a difference of expectations, with me idealizing a middle ground between a relationship and an emotionless one night stand.
I began to seek out the inexperienced ones who had never received this kind of attention before, who drooled over every hint of love, comfort, acceptance, sex. No longer was I able to put up with the men who whispered sweet nothings just to disappear soon after, who held me down and left me with bruises and confusion to piece together in the morning, who ignored me in the light of day, who begged for “just a kiss?” “just touch it,” “just one more time,” just, just, just –
We always hear about people “using” others for sex, but is being used for love any better? Is it acceptable to give attention just in order to get it right back?
I ask because I soon became the one to ruin those wide-eyed boys, destroying their sense of self as I got distracted by the next challenge to look my way, craving that next rush of approval that I knew I could attain through physical means. Simply put, I became my own type of fuck-girl, bouncing body to body in search of a hit of love that would keep me satisfied for the long haul, yet also running away from any good thing before they could run away first.
My friends tell me “you just haven’t had good sex yet.” I tell them that’s not the problem. It’s me, that much I know. It’s my complete lack of understanding of what sex should be, and who it is for.
Sex is not a mechanism to please men into making them like you – sex does not equal relationships. The lives of women cannot revolve around making men happy. I always wanted to flatter their ego and make them feel wanted, but not so wanted that they left. I became that which I so deeply despised, making the relationship between sex and love even more complicated for myself and those I involved myself with. Hurt does not warrant more hurt. Sex is complicated, sex is messy, and truly, sex is overrated.