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  • Writer's pictureThe Feminist Times


The majority of women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. Some women exaggerate their sexual enjoyment only with a partner. For example, women do not moan loudly when engaging in solo sexual activity or masturbating, but many do when they are having sex (Brewer & Hendrie, 2011). It has been found that 56–76% of women have faked an orgasm with a partner. This performative aspect of sex has piqued the interest of many psychologists and has garnered increasing research. It is evident that women faking orgasms is way more normalised and customary than one would expect, for which the reasons are multifaceted. Some factors associated with the likelihood of the same are women’s ability to orgasm, their partner’s sexual skill and their fear of partner infidelity.

Sometimes, women fake orgasms, especially in heterosexual relationships, to satisfy their male counterparts in an attempt to “retain” their partner as evolutionary psychology explains faking orgasms as a male retention strategy. A related role of suspected partner infidelity has also been found to act as a catalyst in motivating women to fake orgasm. This is backed up by data that states that women who think their partners are likely to cheat on them were more likely to have faked an orgasm with their partner because they feel if they do not fake it, their men will begin to seek pleasure elsewhere. Female orgasms are prized by men mainly because they facilitate their own pleasure-seeking process. Moreover, awareness of the fact that they have been able to satisfy their female partner feeds their ego. This once again boils down to the fact that sexual intercourse and pleasure have patriarchal foundations since conventionally, women are required to gratify the sexual needs of a man without expecting reciprocation, even if it involves something as undesirable and dramatic as faking an orgasm.

A recent research has also provided evidence for the fact that women’s beliefs about gender and other ideological factors have a direct relation with their faking orgasm behaviour. For example, women who hold anti-feminist attitudes do not have anything holding them back from faking an orgasm. Such women scored higher on a measure of hostile sexism, which describes the belief that women who challenge men’s power are manipulative and subversive. On the other hand, women who are passionate feminists are less likely to fake one as it contradicts their belief in a woman’s right to pleasure and the ability to have transparent conversations about sex with their partner.

“Bad sex” is another commonly cited reason for women to fake an orgasm. Some women state that they fake one because they want to end sex when they are tired, bored, or not in the mood. This is specially a commonplace in casual hook-ups because it is the fastest way to get going if the woman is not having fun or is not very invested in the person or the situation. Other times, they might fake one because it is the only reasonable way to make them stop as sometimes their partners might genuinely be trying hard to make her get there. There have also been instances when men are under a lot of stress when it comes to sexual performance and their woman partners would fake an orgasm out of empathy and compassion, just for the sake of not hurting their sentiments or sense of masculinity, even if it comes at the expense of the woman’s pleasure.

Some men tend to be touchy and hypersensitive when it comes to their performance in bed so women choose the easier path of faking an orgasm instead of confronting their male partners and having difficult conversations that would probably make things ugly because they are aware of the fact that the male ego is generally fragile. In such cases, women may also avoid confrontation because they feel guilty about shaming their partners and hurting them. Women have also stated that whenever they made an attempt to be upfront about their sexual dissatisfaction, it was followed by gaslighting and a blame game of sorts. Men often try to defend themselves and shift the blame by making emotionally manipulative statements like “maybe you were not into it”, “I tried my best but it’s never enough for you”. Other times they may subconsciously get emotionally distant which once again results in an increased likelihood of infidelity. Sometimes, there is no scope for the woman to be straightforward because the relationship does not allow that level of transparency and communication. Therefore, at the end of the day, it depends on the other party, the situation, the dynamics of the relationship they’re in and also the state of mind of the partner.

Some women also have mental health issues and are diagnosed with depression or generalised anxiety disorder. This implies that while they’re on medication, it is a possibility that they might not feel pleasured and orgasm even if everything is right. This brings and element of embarrassment. In such situations, women are more likely to fake it just because admitting that they’re not doing the best mentally is difficult.

Therefore, all the aforementioned reasons explain why women feel the need to fake orgasm. Additionally, interestingly enough, these are all psychological processes and tendencies that develop over time, as we interact with people in and outside of the bedroom.

- Gurman Kaur Chawla

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