Dear Dr. Faizal,

I enjoy having sex with my wife of six years, but I’m not sure she enjoys it with me. She’s never complained that she hasn’t had an orgasm. I really want her to enjoy this time with me. How can I tell if my wife is having an orgasm?

– Unsure Husband

Dear Unsure Husband,

It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoy sexual intimacies with your wife. Your sexual needs are being met.

Clinically, when women (and men) typically experience orgasm, they have genital ‘convulsions,’ anywhere from 3 to 5, lasting approximately 0.8 seconds in duration followed by a period of ‘rest’ (or resolution). You may be able to feel your partner climaxing during intercourse or while you are manually penetrating her.

Aside from this, as a couples counsellor, I’m wondering why knowing when your wife has an orgasm is important to you? Do you believe that she is climaxing and not telling you, or perhaps that she is ‘faking it’? If your wife is pretending to have an orgasm, her sexual needs are not being met. Women sometimes fake their orgasms to please or appease their partner. They are thinking more about their partner’s perception than their own enjoyment and believe that by faking their orgasm, they are strengthening their relationship.

Over time, however, the resentment these women feel for not having their sexual needs met is detrimental to this very relationship. Faking orgasm validates the partner’s sexual behaviour. In other words, the male partner starts believing that whatever he is doing during sex is enough or ‘correct’ for his partner to climax. He then becomes conditioned to behave in the same way – each time – much to the disappointment of his female partner.

Despite the common saying regarding sexual behavior, “People would rather do it than talk about it,” I encourage you to talk to your partner about what she would like during sex, in which positions, for how long, etc. Give her what she wants and needs, and for most women, orgasm would not be a concern.

Keep in mind also that achieving orgasm is not a concern for those women who don’t need to climax to feel fulfilled. Some women just enjoy the physical and emotional closeness that making love allows for, and that’s what they want. Their needs are met.

Either way, the only way you’re going to find out what your wife’s needs are is by having an open, honest and non-judgmental talk with her.

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