Women fake orgasms because they feel insecure about being seen as ‘abnormal or dysfunctional’ for not actually reaching climax, study finds

  • 360 heterosexual, cisgender women completed an anonymous questionnaire
  • Revealed that those who struggled to orgasm were much more likely to fake it
  • Primary motive was insecurity about being perceived as deficient or abnormal

It’s often assumed that women fake orgasms because they’re tired or want to put a swift end to bad sex, but a new study suggests the reasons may be far more complex.

According to researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, many women pretend to orgasm because they feel insecure about being seen as ‘abnormal or dysfunctional’ if they don’t reach the ‘big O’.

In a study of 360 women, the researchers found that those who struggled to orgasm were much more likely to put on a show to convince their partner that they had climaxed.

They also found that women who were less satisfied in their relationships were more likely to fake it.

‘The associations between orgasmic difficulty and faking orgasm, and between relationship satisfaction and faking orgasm, are both direct and indirect,’ the researchers wrote.

‘The primary motive… was the insecurity about being perceived as deficient or abnormal.’

The researchers found that women who struggled to orgasm were much more likely to put on a show to convince their partner that they had climaxed

WHAT IS THE FEMALE ORGASM?  

An orgasm is a feeling of intense sexual pleasure that happens during sexual activity.

According to the NHS, it can also be called ‘coming’ or ‘climaxing’. 

Both men and women have orgasms.

For females, there is no biological advantage to an orgasm as it is not believed to play a role in conception. 

It is, it is thought a purely pleasurable experience with no other advantage.  

Female orgasm is a complex neuroendocrine process that is unlikely to have evolved by chance. 

Previous studies suggest that between 30 per cent and 75 per cent of women have faked an orgasm over their lifetime, and this rate may be increasing among younger generations.

In some cases, women fake orgasms due to external or situational factors – such as fatigue, boredom, intoxication or wanting to end sex. 

In others, the reasons are more internally-driven, such as avoiding shame or embarrassment, maintaining their partner’s arousal, or avoiding conflict or unwanted conversation.

The nature of the woman’s relationship can also affect how likely she is to fake an orgasm.  

For example, casual relationships tend to be motivated more by the woman’s own sexual pleasure and self-esteem, so she is unlikely to fake an orgasm for the sake of her partner.

Meanwhile, a woman in a steady relationship might be tempted to fake an orgasm to boost her partner’s self-esteem or stimulate their interest, but may also feel that faking it is counterproductive, if her aim is to achieve long-term sexual satisfaction.

For the study, 360 heterosexual, cisgender women from Hungary, with an average age of 33, completed an anonymous online questionnaire about their sexual response and orgasmic functioning, and their frequency of and motives for faking orgasm. 

Women who were less satisfied in their relationships were more likely to fake orgasms. However, the type of relationship also plays an important role

Men fake orgasms too

In 2016, Canadian researchers found up to a quarter of men may have faked orgasm at some point.

In a study, the researchers quizzed a sample of 230 men aged 18 to 29, who identified as feigning orgasm in their current relationship on at least one occasion. 

The main reasons for the pretense was due to poor sexual experience or not making the best choice of partner, both of which resulted lower levels of desire and sexual satisfaction.

Some respondents reported feigning on grounds of making their partner feel better about themselves.

But overall, the study found that the more a man faked it, the higher his reported levels of satisfaction were. 

All of the women were in a current ongoing relationship with a sexual partner, said they had masturbated at least once in their lifetime, and had faked an orgasm during a sexual act with the partner at least once.

They found that women who had difficulty reaching orgasm during sex were more likely to suffer from insecurity, and were therefore more likely to fake it.

‘Although orgasmic difficulty in women is related to both higher levels of insecurity and concern about their partner’s self-esteem, it was the former motive – derived from their own feelings of insecurity – that was most strongly associated with their greater likelihood of faking orgasm,’ the researchers wrote.

‘In other words, they faked orgasm because they were more concerned about being perceived as abnormal or deficient than they were about their partner’s sense of satisfaction and/or esteem. 

‘This conclusion – demonstrated empirically in this analysis – is supported by a number of other studies that have argued that women may fake orgasm as a way of concealing their orgasmic difficulty, as well as avoiding the associated feelings of shame, embarrassment, and failure during partnered sex.’

While this pattern of faking orgasms to conceal orgasmic difficulty might be expected in short-term or early-stage relationships, the researchers were surprised to find that it often persists in ongoing relationships.

‘We had assumed that issues regarding women’s orgasmic difficulty would have become part of the sexual communication that typically emerges in couples as the relationship matures,’ they wrote.

‘Despite such assumptions, in our sample of women who faked orgasm, motivations were more self-focused than partner-focused.’

A woman in a steady relationship might by tempted to fake an orgasm to boost her partner’s self-esteem or stimulate their interest

 While this pattern of faking orgasms to conceal orgasmic difficulty might be expected in short-term or early-stage relationships, the researchers were surprised to find that it often persists in ongoing relationships

The study also found that lower relationship satisfaction was directly associated with a higher frequency of faking orgasm.

However, while lower relationship satisfaction was strongly linked to desireless sex, and women feeling distant or uncomfortable with their partner, this in itself did not lead to greater frequency of faking orgasms.

‘Women reporting lower relationship satisfaction may have been so minimally invested in their sexual and/or overall relationship that that they felt no need to pretend to be sexually satisfied – whether for their own self-esteem or out of concern for their partner,’ the researchers explained.

Rather, it was the context of the woman’s relationship that was most likely to influence her perceived pressure to fake orgasm.

For example, women in longer-term committed relationships may be more likely to fake orgasms in order to protect their partner’s self-esteem, avoid partner disappointment, maintain partner interest, and avoiding conflict.

Conversely, the researchers found that, in some long-term relationships, the opposite may occur, such that as the relationship settles in, the desire or pressure to please the partner diminishes.

The study was published in the journal Science Direct.

Moaning is NOT a good measure of the female orgasm, study claims 

They’re often considered the peak of pleasure, yet until now, there hasn’t been an official definition of the female orgasm.

While males usually ejaculate when reaching orgasm, females have very different bodily sensations when they climax.

Now, scientists from the University of Ottawa have set out to measure the female orgasm for the first time.

Their findings suggest that female orgasms should be defined as ‘pleasurable satisfaction’ – while moaning should be removed as a measure entirely.

They hope the findings could be used to improve interventions for women who are unsatisfied with their orgasm experiences. 

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