"to continue with this notion of guilt in the bedroom," I began, "I'm wondering if you think your girlfriend ever faked an orgasm."
Matt looked uncomfortable. We'd been walking through the Presidio and were marching around Land's End, discussing my favorite stand-up comic, Ross Perot, when I threw this out. I was curious, after all, if the more politically correct of my male friends would cop to it.
"Because I have some sad news for you," I continued, as he took a misstep and nearly fell off the cliff. "Every woman does it at one time or another."
He took a deep breath as he adjusted the tongue of his shoe. "Let me be perfectly honest. I think women do it a lot. Or rather, a lot more than you boys think," I said.
I'd chosen my interlocutor carefully. Matt was one of the few men I knew who would actually consider this verboten subject without getting defensive or accusatory. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he frowned.
"I mean, your girlfriend could be one of those 4 out 5 women that don't," I said. "According to Kinsey, I think."
He scratched his head. "I don't -- "
"The reason I ask, is that I took a little informal poll. And it seems that Harriet, Sarah, Isobel, and I all seem to fall into that one in five who has faked an orgasm. Not one of us had ever admitted that to a guy. And we all thought, who would be an evolved enough male to hear this?"
Matt took off a shoe and peered into it, considering a small pebble that tumbled out. "Thanks, I guess -- "
"We all had good reasons," I jumped in. "Sarah said that she gets sore really fast, and sometimes she just needs to stop without having to deal with whole 'but-why?' discussion. Linea thinks that women are more pan-sexual and don't necessarily need to have a big old patriarchal orgasm, but she didn't want her boyfriend to know that and stop trying. Isobel said that, at one time, this guy she was seeing just didn't turn her on but he'd confessed to having sexual problems with his ex-wife and she didn't want him to get more neurotic about it. And I, well -- "
Matt sat down on a rock and waited.
"I just get tired sometimes," I said. "You don't want to hurt his feelings. Of course, once you start lying, and doing it, you can't really go back. You start thinking, will I this time? Will I? Will I?
"Of course, it really says something about the relationship, doesn't it? If you can't ask for what you want? Weren't you the one who was telling me that it's all in the anatomy, anyway?"
"I might have -- " he started.
"Yes, you were," I insisted. "You said that your girlfriend's clit was higher up on her pubic bone, so she could come without being manually stimulated. Which flies in the face of all the statistics, by the way."
He lay down on the lawn next to the trail. "How did we get -- " "I know, I know," I said, savagely grabbing a handful of grass. "Whether your pubic bone hits her in just the right place. Of course, that's no comfort when you're doing it doggy style. Hi, there," I greeted a couple who'd suddenly rounded the curve of the trail. I watched as they moved quickly down the hill. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think women fake orgasms a lot more than guys realize."
"I don't necessarily -- "
"But I'm not sure it's such a big deal as everyone makes it out to be. I also heard that the newest fad in plastic surgery is genital liposuction. Listen to this! Women are getting their labia shrunk so they can look 'prettier' and have orgasms more readily. How disgusting. What do you think about all this?"
Matt paused. "I think I'm going to go home and take a nap." He stood up and brushed some grass off his jeans. "Either that or kill myself."
We started down the trail as he continued over his shoulder, "How 'bout those Giants? What a losing streak! Do you think we're heading into another Gulf war? What's going to happen to those Serbian death camp leaders? And, jeez, that welfare reform!" He fairly ran ahead of me. "Go ahead," he called. "Enlighten me!"