This week, on her podcast, Broad IdeasRachel Bilson revealed that she’s never faked an orgasm. 

Despite classifying herself as a people pleaser, she explains never pretending to climax just to make a sexual partner feel good.

“Am I an asshole?” she asked. “I start to go into that people-pleasing thing. Like, am I just a dick because I never gave [my partners] that? It goes against my whole nature of being a people pleaser and putting the dude first.”


It’s a valid question to ask, considering a 2019 study showed nearly 60% of survey respondents, most of whom identified as heterosexual women living in the U.S., admitted to faking an orgasm during sex. The top three reasons were wanting their partner to feel successful, wanting sex to end due to fatigue, and not wanting their partner to ‘feel bad’.

Just a few months ago, Rachel admitted to having her first orgasm from penetration in her 30s. So that could absolutely have something to do with not being dishonest in the bedroom – it’s hard to fake something she only admits to having for the first time from ‘touching’ in her 20s. In addition to that factor, when you’re young, advocating for yourself and asserting your sexual preferences can be difficult to do. But according to the study, the tides are changing, and women are no longer faking orgasms to the extent highlighted in the study.

According to the same 2019 study, 46.6% of women say they’re more comfortable with sex now, whether they climax or not. Just over 35% of women say they feel more confident in themselves, and 34% say their partner accepts and is happy with them whether or not they climax. So the pressure to fake orgasms is lessening.


It’s unfortunate to think that one of the top three reasons cited for women no longer faking orgasms is the idea of being accepted by a partner whether they climax or not. But that notion really does align with how male satisfaction has been the focal point of sex throughout history. 

Guilt is also a huge factor in why women fake it. I can recall several occasions where, as the survey respondents suggested, sex was still enjoyable whether an orgasm occurred or not. But my male partners would feel as if they had failed me, and more often than not, it became my job to comfort, console and reaffirm them and their ability to ‘perform’. It wasn’t not climaxing that wasn’t enjoyable, it was the emotional labour that followed. 

Though the tide seems to be changing, the reaction to Rachel’s podcast comments actually illustrate that just as women are proclaiming to feel more comfortable with sex, and talking about it, society at large is still proving to be unprepared to receive that comfort – and to hear about it. Whether it’s the discussion of their enjoyment of it or what they like, the appetite is often shortlived and in her case, riddled with consequences.


In May, Rachel was a guest on the Women on Top podcast – and revealed her favourite sexual position.

“I like missionary,” she said while on the podcast, chatting with hosts. “I’ve learned that if you want to have an orgasm during sex, you have to be on top.”

Then, she added in some colour about her preferred treatment during sex, saying: 

“Missionary is my favorite. I want to be f–king manhandled.”

She revealed that that confession about wanting to be manhandled led her to lose a job that she had already secured. 

"A job got taken away from me because I was speaking candidly and openly about sex in a humorous way on our friend’s podcast,” she said during a May episode of her podcast. “I basically got a job, that I already had, pulled from me because I was speaking openly about sex.”


I’ve written before about how wonderful and validating it is for so many women that the conversation about women’s sexual preferences is finally opening up on the scale that it is. From being asexual, in the case of someone like Julia Fox, to enjoying being manhandled in Rachel’s case – it is so refreshing to have women’s voices finally leading conversations about sex and women’s enjoyment of it in mainstream spaces. 

But these conversations are proving to come at a cost for women, in a way that it hasn’t for men. And yet for decades, well-known and well-protected Hollywood predators have been able to flow through the industry abusing power, women, and subordinates, with not only the freedom to talk about their abuse, but to repeatedly engage in this predatory behaviour. Yet the minute a woman opens her mouth to talk about the type of consensual sex she enjoys, she loses an opportunity to make money? It's dangerous and it imposes silence on women.

With podcasts being so popular among celebrities, this kind of threat to livelihood will absolutely remain a top consideration for podcast hosts, women hosts, especially, who may want to have candid conversations but feel the pressure to withhold their truth. That is so incredibly sad. 

There’s a certain cohort of the population that would absolutely support a boycott of any given production if they knew that a woman was penalized and fired for speaking openly about her sex life. So production companies that go to the extent of disciplining their talent and promoting censorship in this way should tread carefully. 


But celebrities also need to ensure they are holding these production teams accountable. And social media followings and podcasts are great tools to do just that. Sure, Rachel chose not to name and shame the production she lost out on due to speaking openly about her sexual preferences. And it could have been due to an NDA or some other legality. With an Instagram following of 1.5 million and a highly rated podcast, she did the production a favour by not leveraging either of these to air them and their imposed censorship out.

As much as we may joke about every celebrity having a podcast these days, depending on the host and the success of the podcast, these can have a lot more power than your average audio show. These are forms of direct communication between any given person and an audience of listeners who range from being long-time fans to potential new ones. So it’s time celebrities moved beyond just using these podcast platforms to shoot the sh-t and communicate their innermost thoughts, desires and preferences. They have to remember they can also use these platforms to fight for much-needed change.