This article was last updated on June 18, 2022
In the latest issue of the Journal of Sex Research, volume 47, issue 6, we find a reprint of a paper by Charlene L. Muehlenhard and Sheena K. Shippee first presented in November 2006 entitled Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm. This study looked at 180 male college and 101 female college students and discovered the following numbers:
- almost 100% of the participants had experienced some form of sex
- 85% of men had experienced intercourse
- 68% of women had experienced intercourse
- 25% of men pretended to have had an orgasm
- 50% of women pretended to have had an orgasm
- of those who had intercourse, 28% of men pretended to have had an orgasm
- of those who had intercourse, 67% of women pretended to have had an orgasm
- Most pretended during intercourse, but some pretended during oral sex, manual stimulation and phone sex.
- having an orgasm was not likely
- they wanted sex to end
- they did not wanting to hurt their partner’s feelings
- they wanted to please their partner
In reporting on the above study in LiveScience, the journalist Stephanie Pappas analyses why people would fake it.
For men, the most common reasons for faking it were that orgasm was unlikely or taking too long and that they wanted sex to end. Four-fifths of women reported they faked it to avoid negative consequences, like hurting their partner’s feelings. Half of men reported the same motivation.
The participants who faked shared a common sexual "script," the authors wrote, in which both genders feel pressure to orgasm during intercourse, with the woman orgasming first. In some cases, people are so wedded to this script they pass up the chance to orgasm for real in order to fake orgasm at the "right" time. The study found that 20 percent of the women pretended to orgasm because their partner seemed about to.
"Some of the women wrote that they actually could have orgasmed, but they chose a pretend orgasm in the right sequence — before or during the man’s orgasm — rather than an actual orgasm in the wrong sequence," the authors wrote.
These sexual scripts put undue pressure on both genders, said Carol Ellison, the author of "Women’s Sexualities: Generations of Women Share Intimate Secrets of Sexual Self-Acceptance" (New Harbinger, 2000).
"When sex is a performance, and when sex has performance goals — erection, intercourse, orgasms — it’s problematic," Ellison, who was not involved in the research, told LiveScience. Ellison argues that sexual success should be redefined as anything that makes you feel good about yourself, good about your partner and as something that enhances your relationship.
"If you change the goal of sex to creating mutual pleasure and finding all the different ways to create pleasure… you’ll learn a lot more about sexual responsiveness," she said. "Sex will be a whole different experience."
Hmmm, does this make sex a sort of performance art? So, how many times have our partners "faked it"? Then again, have we "faked it"? In a perfect world, we would always have a 100% success rate but I’m sure we all realise that nobody succeeds 100% of the time. Can we accept that? Can we accept the occasional "negative consequence"?
With age cums wisdom
Of course, let’s mix into this the question of age. Amy Sohn of the New York Magazine wrote of this whole question of men faking it back in March 2010 however she delved into the interesting aspect of age in this question.
Men and women experience a role reversal as they age, says Charles. “Only a few young women really want to have sex for its own sake. When you get older, it flips around. By the time guys are losing interest in constant sex, the women are hornier and more into it. For the guy, it may not be as thrilling to have sex for sex’s sake, which is why sometimes, when you do, you realize it’s not what you wanted.”
Ned, 57, an entertainment executive, believes that sometimes faking is the only way to satisfy a woman. They appreciate attentive, generous men, he says, but still seem insulted if the guy doesn’t come himself. “Through their thirties and forties, women start singing a song about how they wish a guy would be more sensitive to what they need, and when a guy reaches the point where a lot of his satisfaction comes from what he can do for his partner instead of from his own orgasm, they get very disappointed. They still think it is their duty to get the guy to ejaculate. So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Ned considers faking a form of generosity; he knows the orgasm matters to the woman but is bright enough not to blame her for the problem. “Some guys don’t have the presence of mind to fake it. They might even blame the woman as a way to cover up their own shortcoming.” For men who find themselves starring in their own personal remake of Endless Love, he has some advice. “Pump away, give a sudden exclamation of ‘Ahh!,’ toss your back a bit, and spasm.” What if the woman raises suspicions about output? “You say, ‘It’s not always a lot.’ And if you really get down to it, you can say, ‘Where’s yours?’ ”
What’s that old saying? I’m not as good as I once was, but I hope I’m as good once as I ever was.
AARP: Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons:
How Sex Changes for Men After 50
It’s not the same as it used to be — and that can be a good thing.
by Michael Castleman – October 12, 2010
Some things change. Take, for example, erections. After 40 and certainly by 50, they rise more slowly, and become less firm and frequent. Sexual fantasies are no longer enough. Men need fondling, often for quite a while. It’s disconcerting to lose firmness and suffer wilting from minor distractions, such as a phone ringing, but these changes are perfectly normal. Unfortunately, many men mistake them for erectile dysfunction (ED) and become distraught — only exacerbating the problem. Anxiety constricts the arteries that carry blood into the penis, making erections even less likely.
Ah, an orgasm can be faked but an erection? 🙂
Why would a woman fake it?
In the study "Evidence to Suggest that Copulatory Vocalizations in Women Are Not a Reflexive Consequence of Orgasm" by Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds, the authors discovered that while women tended to have an orgasm when the clitoris was manipulated such as during oral sex, they did not always have an orgasm during intercourse. However, the women tended to make more noise or vocalizations during intercourse as opposed to when they actually had their orgasm. The purpose was to manipulate the behaviour of the male.
The MSNBC reporter Brian Alexander spoke with Gayle Brewer and found out that “women were making conscious vocalizations in order to influence their partner rather than as a direct expression of sexual arousal. Women reported using these vocalizations to ‘speed up’ their partner’s ejaculation due to boredom, fatigue, discomfort, time limitations.”
It was a tactic they used to induce their man to do something, like get it over with. In most cases, they were also trying to be nice. “Importantly, 92 percent of participants felt very strongly that these vocalizations boosted their partner’s self-esteem,” the paper stated, “and 87 percent reported using them for this purpose."
Of course, as Meg Ryan proved in another movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” women can use their voices to fake an orgasm, too. In Brewer’s survey, more than 25 percent of women routinely used vocalization to fake it. They did it about 90 percent of the time they realized they would not climax. About 80 percent faked using vocalizations about half the time they were unable to have an orgasm.
Women do this because their men are so goal-directed they won’t stop until a woman climaxes, the authors say.
Women fake it; men fake it. Not all the time, but sometimes. More so for women than for men. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? From the above article by Amy Sohn when she talks about Ned:
"…a guy reaches the point where a lot of his satisfaction comes from what he can do for his partner instead of from his own orgasm…"
Ned considers faking a form of generosity; he knows the orgasm matters to the woman but is bright enough not to blame her for the problem.
Sometimes our bodies just can’t keep up with our minds. As I read in a comment written by a man to one of the above articles, "I may not always be able to cum but that doesn’t mean I’m still not in love with the idea of cumming." 🙂
Click HERE to read more from William Belle
"I Was Tired and Just Couldn’t Go Any Longer": Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm
Sheena K. Shippee, Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D.
2006 SSSS Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, November 9 – 12, 2006
Shippee, S. K., & Muehlenhard, C. L. (2006, November).
“I was tired and just couldn’t go any longer”: Men’s and women’s reports of pretending orgasm.
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality,
Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D.
Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm
Charlene L. Muehlenhard; Sheena K. Shippee
Journal of Sex Research, 1559-8519, Volume 47, Issue 6, First published 2010, Pages 552 – 567
Cost: Purchase this single article: $30 USD
Wikipedia: he Journal of Sex Research
The Journal of Sex Research is a scientific journal published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (New York City). In 1963, the society had published a one-issue journal entitled Advances in Sex Research. The Journal of Sex Research was then first published in 1965, six years before the Archives of Sexual Behavior was established in 1971.
Wikipedia: Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS, or "quad-S"), formed in 1957, is a non-profit, professional membership organization that claims to be "the oldest professional society dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about sexuality." It claims to have more than 1,000 members and has a quarterly newsletter, Sexual Science. It produces two other publications:
- Annual Review of Sex Research, "An Integrative and Interdisciplinary Review"
- Journal of Sex Research, a scholarly journal published quarterly
Wikipedia: Archives of Sexual Behavior
The Archives of Sexual Behavior is a peer-reviewed academic journal in sexology. It is the official publication of the International Academy of Sex Research.
Wikipedia: International Academy of Sex Research
The International Academy of Sex Research (IASR) is a scientific society for researchers in sexology. According to John Bancroft, retired director of the Kinsey Institute, IASR "can claim…most of the field’s leading researchers." IASR is unique among sexology organizations in that individuals must be elected to membership, which requires demonstration of substantial contribution to sexology, including the authorship of 10 or more professional publications.
official web site: http://www.iasr.org/
LiveScience: Study: Men Fake Orgasm, Too
By Stephanie Pappas, Nov 11/2010
New York Magazine: Snow Job By Amy Sohn – March 2010
Women aren’t the only ones who fake orgasm. Men are doing it, too—and getting away with it.
Evidence to Suggest that Copulatory Vocalizations in Women Are Not a Reflexive Consequence of Orgasm.
Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire
Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds
Archives of Sexual Behaviour – May 18, 2010
MSNBC: Sorry, guys: Up to 80 percent of women admit faking it
Wild noises help boost his ego and speed things up, new sex study finds
By Brian Alexander – June 30/2010