Why do women fake orgasms? The list will make you sad.

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Let me be clear with something upfront before this gets too off the rails: I am personally a man (to the best of my knowledge), and I’m about 128% sure that women have faked orgasms with me, and probably a handful (or 17 handfuls) of them to boot. I am not unaware of this situation having likely happened. OK. Now we can continue.

Here’s a research paper — which is stunningly titled “Did You Come?” — done by Salisbury and Fisher (Western University psychologists), and here’s a summary of their findings on Psychology Today. They essentially talked to undergraduate men and women about the conditions surrounding female orgasm.

Here were the six “prominent themes” from the women regarding female orgasm:

  • Women thought they were responsible for “psychologically preparing” themselves for orgasm
  • Female orgasm isn’t necessary for a woman to be satisfied during sex
  • Women need to boost the male ego during sex
  • Women assumed they’re being judged by men, but rarely communicate the concern
  • Women place more value on a man’s pleasure than their own
  • It’s more acceptable to fake an orgasm in a casual encounter

Look at that list and then go get yourself some tissues, because that is downright depressing.

Start with 3, 4, and 5 above — “need to boost the male ego,” then “assume they’re being judged,” then “place more value on a man’s pleasure.” WTF?

There were multiple responses on this study that if orgasm wasn’t faked, the man would be hurt in some way — even down to the (very granular) level of a woman asking to finish herself. The overriding concept seemed to be “We need to do this because the man’s ego or sense of pride will be hurt in some way.”

Look, obviously this is logical because I’m sure women have been faking orgasms since the beginning of time for this exact reason (pride of the man), but this is some snapshot of gender relations and sexuality, eh? 50 percent of a woman’s concerns around the climax of sex involve the man. What percentage of a man’s concerns around the climax involve the woman? I doubt it’s 50 in a general sense.

Obviously two big caveats here: this is one study, with one group. Extrapolation is hard, because sex is an entirely individual context (albeit with two people). Second thing, probably bigger: sex is very different in a casual context vs. a committed context. So men who’ve been married 10–15 years might think about these issues more than a guy on a one-nighter (or so you would hope, right?).

There’s this whole idea in social science that if you live a more vulnerable life, said life might be more fulfilling. That’s a major upsell for a lot of people, because most people don’t even really know how to be vulnerable. (That’s not often how first-world parenting works; it tends to be more focused on “strength” as a concept.) I feel like sex is a lot better when there’s more transparency involved, even if it’s a casual encounter. You can be drunk as all hell and about to get into a sexual situation, but you should still ask something like, “Do you have any preferences?” I mean, especially in a context where it’s not tied to potential reproduction or love within a relationship, everyone should be chasing theirs, no?

Sorry, that was probably gross.

The flip side of all this is that sometimes a woman can finish several times — and the issue is instead the man.

If you’re a woman/man and have faked/think you’ve experienced a fake orgasm and have some thoughts, leave ’em below. Obviously it can be a bit personal, so no hard feelings if you close this browser window and say to yourself, “Well, that was odd.”

My name’s Ted Bauer; I blog here regularly and I’m a member of the BlogPoets network. My deal: I try to think differently about work, the future of work, leadership, management, marketing, organizational development, customer experience, and more. I’m out here trying to chase real professional connection and collaboration, not just 200K page views. Anyone want to talk? (I also do freelance and ghostwriting work, if anyone’s into that.)

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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