It’s a common stereotype that for men, sex is like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s good. In the case study that inspired the book, one man came to Morgentaler complaining that he didn’t know how to stop faking orgasms with his girlfriend. He hadn’t been able to climax during intercourse for most of his life, but since he really cared about his new girlfriend, he’d resorted to faking it so that she wouldn’t get offended. Shocked? He’s not the only one.
“As this book was being written and I was talking to people about it, it was astonishing to me how many men said they’ve faked it in their lives,” says Morgentaler. So what about the matter of, um, evidence? If you’re using a condom, you probably wouldn’t know if he disposed of it pretty quickly. “If you’re not using a condom, it’s often a question of how much fluid is down there and how aware is the woman,” says Morgentaler.
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In some cases, men can actually orgasm without ejaculating, says Morgentaler. In some men with diabetes, the opening to the bladder doesn’t close well, and the fluid can go back into the bladder (it’s released when they urinate after sex). Another slightly more common example is older men who have had a radical prostatectomy. And although Morgentaler isn’t totally sure about this one, people who practice tantric sex often believe that men can experience an orgasm without ejaculating.
According to most of the men Morgentaler has treated, the primary reason for faking it was because it just wasn’t going to happen for them during sex (which is also one of the reasons women fake orgasms). Maybe he’s had too much drink, he’s feeling anxious, or he’s on medications for anxiety or depression that make it harder to orgasm. “It’s almost the same as what happens with women,” says Morgentaler. “It’s a way of saying to their partner that they still did a good job, everything’s fine, and it’s enough for now.”
It’s not just the over 40 crowd that’s seeking sex therapy and little blue pills. “Men—including young men—have a lot of sexual issues,” says Morgentaler. “This is not rare by any means.” And it’s not just erectile problems that they’re suffering with—premature ejaculation affects about 20 percent of men, says Morgentaler. Check out three big reasons he might be having trouble down there.
There’s a myth that guys can be a little selfish in the bedroom. But from the cases Morgentaler has seen in his practice, it’s quite the opposite. Men, like women, are often more concerned with pleasing their partner. One of Morgentaler’s favorite examples of this is a patient who is a paraplegic and was finally able to have sex with his wife with the help of penile injections. He was thrilled and told Morgentaler he felt like a man again—but remember, he couldn’t feel any of this sensation himself.
Morgentaler has had patients whose sexual dysfunction traced all the way back to a single negative comment or bad experience. From buff, tough men breaking down in his office to guys who are devastated when they find out their wife faked an orgasm, these cases have shown him that some men’s confidence and masculinity is deeply rooted in how they see themselves through the eyes of their sexual partners.
According to Morgentaler, we’re in the midst of a major sexual shift. Women today are more sexually liberated and more comfortable asking for exactly what they want in bed, which is an overwhelmingly positive thing. But interestingly, it’s resulting in way more business for physicians like Morgentaler. See, guys are just as familiar with the stereotype that they should have the higher libidos, though that doesn’t make it true.