Welcome to Sex Qs, a weekly column where The Globe's Amberly McAteer seeks answers to your sex questions, talking to sexperts and regular Canadians alike. Have a question? Fire away: firstname.lastname@example.org (All questions will be published anonymously.)
The question: I'm convinced my wife is faking it in bed. She says she's not. How can I be sure?
The answer: First, let me applaud you for caring. Really, standing ovation. You're among a rare and special group of men who concern themselves with female pleasure: Girlfriends tell me horror stories about their men taking an "I got mine" mentality, rolling over and snoring within mere moments.
Second, I have no idea. It's hard to gauge from this vantage point. But only two scenarios are possible here: This is either all in your head – and we'll get to that – or your lady lover is a liar, liar, pants on fire. Let's go with that scenario first.
"Imagine someone who makes it their goal in life to get you to sneeze – that's all they want is that sneeze," says Nicole Daedone, author of Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm. "You'll want to sneeze, because they want you to sneeze, and that sneeze is never, ever happening."
Daedone has dedicated her life to "orgasmic meditation:" A "sex practitioner" for 18 years, she gives Ted Talks, radio interviews, writes books, holds conferences. Her life's work centred on the the connection between the male hand and female clitoris, the point of contact she calls the "true facilitator of the human connection."
If your wife is faking it, there's no question you'd both benefit by taking a page from Daedone. Google her, watch the video: Just talking to her makes me question my entire sexual history.
"I train men to organically feel a woman," she tells me in a phone interview from New York. "You touch velvet to make your hand feel good, not because you are focused on how the velvet feels – touch like that from a man is what most facilities female orgasm."
She tells me, in details that we can't publish, how a woman can be played like an instrument. (Teaser: Apparently there are 10 separate points on the clitoris, each one invoking a separate sensation.) "What you currently deem as an orgasm – that's where we start," she says. "You go on this entire ride, it becomes a symphony, with peaks and valleys, varied and subtle – it can just keep going and going and going."
Mind blown, I haven't said anything in 10 minutes.
This conversation becomes very "not safe for work" very quickly – I thank her for her time and hang up the phone with sweaty palms. My discomfort speaks to a point she made early on: She says females have a "vigilant cortex centre" – How do I look? How do I sound? What are other people thinking? – which keeps us from truly "sinking in to our natural bodies."
Your wife, if she is faking it, needs to change her mindset: Simply telling herself, "this is healthy, this is good," will bring about all kinds of excitement, according to the vagina guru.
But if she isn't acting, you've got a bigger problem – one that can't be fixed by watching an instructional video (seriously, I hope you've Googled that by now).
"He's insecure, for sure," says Maverick Wilson, my personal trainer at the gym, where I'm at my least sexiest. I thought I'd consult the man who makes my muscles spasm and my eyes bulge in completely unenjoyable ways.
"If he's always thinking, 'Is she there yet? Is she there? How am I doing?' that's not confidence, buddy – that's not sexy, at all," he declares, in between squats. "Dude has to forget the details and focus on the experience, rather than worry so much. Have a good time!"
That is the solution, regardless of the problem: Whether she's faking or you're overthinking, you've got to stop with the questions and enjoy the ride. Ah-choo, my friend. Ah-choo.
Have a sex question? Email email@example.com (All questions will be published anonymously.)