Study reveals real reason why women fake an orgasm

·4-min read

It’s been a thing since before Harry met Sally, but a new study has found that some women are still “faking it” in the bedroom to make their partners feel less fragile.

The academic investigation (interestingly, co-authored by three men) published in the January issue of the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, collected data from over 600 women who admit forsaking their own pleasure in order to placate insecure men.

woman during sex
Women are still “faking it” during sex to make their partners feel less fragile. Photo: Getty

The researchers collected data from 283 women, asking them about the perceived masculinity of their partners.

They found that the more women saw their partner’s masculinity was precarious, the more anxiety they had. This in turn lowered their own sexual pleasure and the rate at which they orgasmed.

Why proper sex education is important

Christine Rafe, We-Vibe sex and relationship expert, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that a lack of vulva-centric anatomical sex education from a pleasure lens means that the belief that penetration is the most pleasurable and effective way to achieve orgasm still exists.


“This is not anatomically accurate, as the majority of nerve endings that support pleasure exist externally via the clitoral glans (the external bulb of the clitoris),” she explains.

“The clitoral bulbs that are internal but directly behind the labia majora and minora, and internally within the first couple of inches of the vaginal canal including the urethral sponge (where g-spot pleasure is thought to come from). Without external stimulation, it can be really difficult for many vulva owners to experience orgasm.”

bad sex
Bad sex ed is bad for everyone. Photo: Getty

Why women fake it

Christine says that pornography portrays orgasm for vulva owners as easy and numerous.

“This perpetuates the belief for many that their body is not working as it ‘should’ if orgasm is more difficult," she tells us.

"Just as the study has found, the perceived ego of a sexual partner impacts likelihood of faking orgasm.

"Sex has traditionally been penis-pleasure centric, and many women* feel the need to protect the masculinity of their partners by exaggerating their experience of pleasure. The macho male* social construct is still very much alive (unfortunately)."

Christine believes women* have still not been socialised to communicate about sexual needs and desires, and therefore many people don’t share with sexual partners what type of stimulation they need to experience pleasure and orgasm.

“In my practice working with heterosexual couples, the gender stereotypes of sexuality and the belief that sex is linear (i.e. kissing, touching, then penetration as ‘real sex’ and the grand finale with ejaculation and orgasm), has meant women are feeling pressure to orgasm to ‘prove’ to their partner that it has been a ‘successful’ sexual experience.”

DON’T 'Fake it ‘til you make it'

"Faking orgasms may feel like the lesser of two evils in the moment, particularly if there is a sense of needing to protect the sexual partner, but this is not an effective strategy long term,” Christine warns.

“The partner will believe they are doing all the right things, meaning unsatisfying sexual relationship(s) for you and any future partners they have sex with. Be honest about what feels good, and remember that you deserve sexual pleasure as much as any penis-owner, and orgasmic penetrative sex is definitely possible.”

Couple Engaged In Kissing And Romantic Activity While Still Wearing Underwear In Bed
Communication is the key to sexual pleasure for both. Photo: Getty

How to communicate your sexual needs

Christine says to avoid faking it by communicating your needs to your partner.

“Learn what your body needs to experience pleasure and orgasm, and communicate this to sexual partner(s). If you don’t know what you need, how the hell is anyone else going to?”

Here she shares her top tips:

  1. “When communicating, be specific about the locations, pressure, pace, consistency etc., and continue communicating throughout the experience. Ask yourself ‘what could make this feel even better for me?’

  2. Make sure you are aroused enough! The vulva and vagina can take an average of 16-minutes to become fully aroused (and up to 40-mins for some vulva owners). Using clitoral, vulval and internal stimulation will increase sensitivity if/when penetration does occur.

  3. Incorporate external stimulation during penetrative activities. This could be you touching your clitoris, your partner touching, or using a sex toy to support clitoral stimulation during penetration. Something like the We-Vibe Melt is great as its slim shape means it is small enough to slip between you and your partner in a number of different positions.

  4. Look at sexual intimacy as a mutual exploration of pleasure, you are as responsible for learning and expressing what you need to orgasm as they are for prioritising your pleasure too.”

*Christine acknowledges that the terms man/male and woman/female relates to the language used in the study of heterosexual sexual partners, and does not account for those who identify outside of traditional gender constructs.

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