Women faking orgasm

3 Reasons Why Women Fake Orgasms, According to Research

Women may fake orgasms if they think their male sexual partner is insecure or feeling fragile about his masculinity, according to a recent report.

While this may not be news, it does give more scientific support to the notion that some women will shift their sexual behaviors to protect their partner’s self-esteem. 

“Women are prioritizing what they think their partners need over their own sexual needs and satisfaction,” says Jessica Jordan, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of South Florida.

Related: Is your libido lower than normal? This may be why

Experts agree that open communication in the bedroom is key—and that women should feel comfortable speaking up and advocating for their own pleasure. But coming clean about whether you’ve been faking it is a personal choice that may depend on your specific relationship. Here’s how to know when to say something.

Why women fake it—and what it may cost

First, let’s go into the research, which only focused on heterosexual relationships and did not include any same-sex partners. It was published in 2022 in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The team conducted three studies:

  1. Based on data from 283 women, the researchers noted women who thought their male partners were insecure had more anxiety and poorer communication. This resulted in a lower rate of sexual satisfaction (and orgasms). 
  2. Another study of 196 women found that women who believed their male partner thought his manhood was “fragile” were less likely to provide honest sexual communication.
  3. An anonymous survey of 157 women who were in sexual relationships with men found that women who made more money than their partners were twice as likely to fake orgasms compared to those who earned less.

“If a woman is concerned about inadvertently threatening her partner’s manhood, that could lead to a breakdown of communication,” Jordan said in a statement.

Jordan, who could not be reached for comment, previously told Talker that people shouldn’t see men or women as being to blame for how they interpret the decline in sexual satisfaction and communication. “When society creates an impossible standard of masculinity to maintain,” says Jordan, “nobody wins.”

Related: According to data, there’s a sweet spot for when your sex life returns after kids

Perceiving pleasure

Evidence shows that sexual assertiveness (and sexual self-esteem) has an impact on our sexual satisfaction. Previous research showed that, in married couples, relationship satisfaction was positively linked to communication about sex. 

Another survey of just over 1,000 women found that 58.8% had faked an orgasm in the past, but 67.3% of those who had done so no longer did. Women who faked them were more likely to be embarrassed when talking about sex with their partner in explicit ways; they were less likely to be able to chat about ways to make sex more pleasurable for them.  

More than half (55.4%) of women reported they had wanted to communicate with a partner regarding sex but decided not to; 42.4% said that was because they didn’t want to hurt a partner’s feelings, 40.2% didn’t want to get into details, and 37.7% were embarrassed. 

Speaking up

Want to boost the communication in your relationship when it comes to sex and advocate for your own pleasure? More women are doing so, some sources say. But that doesn’t mean that you have to.

“If you’ve been faking orgasm, and want to stop doing so, you will need to decide if you will tell your partner or not,” says Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., a psychology professor at University of Florida and author of Becoming Cliterate. (Mintz also has a fascinating TEDx talk about the “orgasm gap”—a phenomenon in which men in heterosexual relationships tend to have more orgasms than women.)

Mintz says talking about it is a personal decision that can depend on your circumstances, including how long you’ve been faking orgasms and whether or not you think your partner may feel betrayed upon hearing so.  

Related: Let’s talk about sex—and what to do when one of you doesn’t want it

“If you choose to reveal, I suggest talking when you and your partner have time to process. Try leading with a statement such as, ‘I have something sensitive to talk to you about, and I’m a bit nervous. I worry you might be upset, but I am talking to you about this because I love you and want our sex life to be as great as possible,’” she tells Motherly via email.

Then, explain you’ve been faking and why—because you love them and wanted them to feel good—but that you’ve realized that this was the wrong thing to do for both of you, she explains.  

Mintz admits that she’s worked with many women who wanted to stop faking but know that revealing the truth will be devastating for their partner. In that case, she recommends not sharing it but instead bringing up new things to try in order to enhance orgasms (that can include adding a vibrator or using manual stimulation).

Related: 11 must-try sex toys for yourself (or with a partner)

“Sex therapists advocate not faking because it teaches your partner to do exactly what doesn’t work for you,” Mintz explains. “While I strongly agree with this, there are some circumstances in which a woman chooses to stay mum.” For example, if your partner is abusive and this would escalate the abuse, you may want to stay quiet—and then get help from a domestic violence professional).

“I’ve also talked to some women who simply say it is too much work to educate their partner or talk to him and they are otherwise happy and content,” Mintz says. “I spoke with a woman who said her husband is wonderful but would be too threatened by a vibrator which is her preferred method, and so she fakes orgasm during intercourse and uses her vibrator after he is asleep.”

Related: 5 massage candles that are sure to up the ante between the sheets

“As a sex therapist, I wish she could have genuine orgasms, but this is her personal choice,” she adds.

Want to talk to your partner but feeling fearful or uncertain? A sex therapist may be able to help as well, Mintz suggests. 

Many women don’t speak up because they feel embarrassed at their lack of orgasm, or they stay quiet because they don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings, notes Isiah McKimmie, MS, a therapist and sexologist from Australia.

“The longer they leave it however, the harder it gets,” she notes. 

“You should definitely speak up if you’re not enjoying yourself or experiencing orgasm. Most men I speak to really want to please their partners in bed and often say they want more direction on what to do,” McKimmie adds.

Featured experts

Isiah McKimmie, MS, is a therapist and sexologist from Australia.
Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is a psychology professor at University of Florida and author of Becoming Cliterate.


Herbenick, D., Eastman-Mueller, H., Fu, Tc. et al. Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Communication, and Reasons for (No Longer) Faking Orgasm: Findings from a U.S. Probability Sample. Arch Sex Behav. 2018. 48, 2461–2472. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01493-0

Jordan JA, Vandello JA, Heesacker M, Larson-Konar DM. Do Women Withhold Honest Sexual Communication When They Believe Their Partner’s Manhood is Threatened?. Social Psychological and Personality Science. January 2022. doi:10.1177/19485506211067884

Leonhardt, N., et al. The Significance of the Female Orgasm: A Nationally Representative, Dyadic Study of Newlyweds’ Orgasm Experience. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2018.15(8). doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.05.018

Menard, A. Dana; Alia Offman. The interrelationships between sexual self-esteem, sexual assertiveness and sexual satisfaction. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 2009. 18(1-2). 

Why Women Fake Orgasm -- And Why Most No Longer Do

Human sexuality is a wondrous activity. Our understanding of why we act the way we do when we have sex continues to intrigue psychological researchers, since we do things that don’t always seem to make much logical sense. Such as faking an orgasm.

Most of us would like to pursue a satisfying and pleasurable sex life. But expressing our sexual needs remains a taboo subject for most people — and especially women. Recently researchers examined how women communicate their sexual needs and examined the reasons behind faking an orgasm. Here’s what they found.

Despite the lack of open communication about our sexual needs, most people still report moderate to high levels of sexual satisfaction. That’s according to this most recent research from Debby Herbenick and her colleagues at Indiana University (Herbenick et al., 2019).

In a representative sample of 1,055 U.S. women drawn from across the country, the researchers administered a number of questionnaires online to gauge sexual behavior and development, faking orgasm and the reasons for doing so, sexual non-communication, and recent sexual satisfaction.

Faking Orgasm

The researchers found that over 58 percent of women had reported faking an orgasm, but that the vast majority — over 67 percent — no longer did. Why do women fake orgasm in the first place?

The reasons varied from wanting their “partner to feel successful, [wanting] sex to end because they were tired, and [because] they liked the person and didn’t want them to feel bad.”

Women who reported no longer faking an orgasm did so because they were more comfortable with sex, with their own identity as a woman, and a feeling of contentment and acceptance from their partner regardless of whether they had an orgasm or not. In other words, it wasn’t important any longer to their sexual satisfaction or self-identity. They felt safe and secure enough in their relationship to no longer feel the need to fake it.

The researchers note the positive effects of women who grow more confident in themselves and their relationship’s security:

In spite of the many challenges that women experience relevant to gendered norms and traditional scripts that minimize the role of female sexual pleasure and agency, the story our data and others’ tell is one of women’s persistence, growth, learning, and curiosity. Our findings evoke ideas of women navigating paths through relationships, love, and power differentials to explore and connect with their sexuality.

Sexual Communication & Conversations

Having a conversation about one’s sexual needs is not always easy. In fact, as this study discovered, most people simply choose not to. More than half the women — 55 percent — decided not to talk to their partner about their sexual needs, despite wanting to do so. Why? Primarily because they didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, didn’t feel comfortable going into detail, and because it’s just too embarrassing.

Younger women also reported having trouble in knowing how to ask for what they wanted and they also worried about being rejected.

Of course, as one might expect, the more able a woman was able to talk about their sexual needs in frank and direct terms, the higher levels of satisfaction such women reported. The more you can talk about sex, the better it’s likely to be because you’re asking for exactly what you want (which hopefully your partner can provide).

The researchers suggest:

This finding is congruent with the idea that sexual partners benefit by sharing detailed directions or preferences with one another in order to guide stimulation on … parts of their bodies. […F]eeling capable, comfortable and/or confident communicating with a partner in sexually explicit ways likely builds on a variety of knowledge, experiences, and skills.


Open and frank conversations are important to a satisfying sex life for both partners. Direct conversations about sexuality and body parts — while perhaps initially difficult or embarrassing for many — are vital to ensuring both partners’ needs are met in their sexual relationship. Avoiding such conversations is correlated with lower sexual satisfaction in women.

In the discussion of their study, the researchers note how long most women suffer in not finding their own sexual voice:

[W]omen are, on average, in their mid-twenties before they feel comfortable and confident sharing how they would like to be touched or have sex, as well as before they feel like their sexual pleasure has been valued by a partner.

Also, about 1 in 5 women in our study still did not feel comfortable and confident discussing their sexual preferences and 1 in 10 had yet to feel that their sexual pleasure mattered to a partner.

American women’s average age of first coitus is at around age 16 or 17, with many young women reporting other partnered sexual activities (such as oral sex or partnered masturbation) prior to that. Thus, young women commonly engage in varied kinds of partnered sex for nearly a decade before they feel like their sexual pleasure matters to a partner—if they ever do.

Show that your partner’s sexual satisfaction matters to you by having a conversation about their — and your! — sexual needs. You may be surprised at the positive outcome of such a talk.


Herbenick, D. et al. (2019). Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Communication, and Reasons for (No Longer) Faking Orgasm: Findings from a U.S. Probability Sample. Archives of Sexual Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01493-0

Scientists have explained why women fake orgasms - Gazeta.Ru

Scientists have explained why women imitate orgasm - Gazeta.Ru | News



Women fake orgasms out of insecurity, according to researchers from the University of Budapest. The study was about published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

According to scientists, women feel insecure because they are considered "abnormal" because they do not reach orgasm. The study involved 360 heterosexual women. All participants filled out a questionnaire that included questions about their sex life.

It turned out that those who tried harder to reach orgasm were much more likely to fake it. The researchers also found that women who were less satisfied with their relationships were also more likely to fake it.

In some cases, women fake orgasm due to external factors such as fatigue, boredom, drunkenness, or a desire to stop having sex. However, there are other, more complex reasons, such as embarrassment, keeping a partner aroused, avoiding conflict or unwanted conversation.

The nature of a woman's relationship with her partner can also influence the likelihood that she will fake an orgasm. For example, casual relationships tend to be more motivated by their own sexual pleasure, so women are less likely to fake it. Meanwhile, women in a committed relationship may be tempted to fake an orgasm to boost their partner's self-esteem or stimulate their interest.

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"Fakes - so loves?" Why do women pretend in bed and what should men do about it?

October 12, 2019



Nicole Morozova's article can not only be read, but also listened to. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.

If a woman fakes an orgasm, then she loves you. Well, or afraid to upset. Or she doesn't like being impolite. Perhaps she just can't reach orgasm and is uncomfortable admitting it. Lots of options. But if you are an active and mature person, then you probably want sex to bring joy not only to you, but also to your partner. Here's what you need to know to get there.

How many women fake orgasm

Very many. Several studies conducted from 1986 to 2010 showed that between 50% and 67% of women fake an orgasm.

According to Ph.D. in Psychology Erin Cooper, an important role is played by the widespread idea in society that the appearance of a female orgasm increases a man's pleasure.

Not surprisingly, women may feel the need to "play" during sex and defiantly achieve orgasm.

Erin Cooper

Ph.D. in Psychology

Despite the fact that many have experienced orgasm imitation in one form or another, the topic is poorly understood. So Cooper focused on the causes of the simulation.

Why women fake an orgasm

As a rule, there are only four goals:

  1. To protect the partner's feelings.
  2. Finish sex.
  3. Avoid negative feelings about your own sexuality.
  4. Increase your own arousal.

Cooper notes that these factors can be divided into two groups: those that help avoid certain aspects of sex (2, 3) and those that are designed to make sex brighter, cheer yourself up or your partner (1, 4).

By the way, not only women imitate orgasm for these reasons. About a quarter of men, according to a study by Canadian scientists, also sometimes pretend. A condom helps to hide the absence of ejaculate.

What to do if doubts crept in

Do not press or make claims

Strictly asking if your partner is faking is pointless. You will never know for sure, and you need to come to terms with this. A reliable answer can be obtained only if you have sex under supervision in the laboratory - then the cardiogram will show this (and yes, there have been such studies). It is in your power only to create an atmosphere of trust in which the partner will not be afraid to tell you the truth or ask for something.

Don't waste time on conspiracy theories, just talk.

Chat and discuss details

Ask your partner what she likes most about your practices. If this is difficult and uncomfortable, then the idea that the pleasure of a partner is really important to you will need to be grown in yourself. Yes, it will take time, but there is no other way.

If your partner is already forced to pretend, this means that she is facing some kind of problem. It will be natural to take care of her and support her. Make it clear that her pleasure is important to you. And that if she doesn’t like something, it’s uncomfortable, or she lacks something, then she can freely say about it. Find out about your partner's feelings: what turns you on especially and what else you can do. This will lift not only her mood, but also your skills as a lover.

How to help a woman get genuine pleasure

Find the clitoris

A forgotten clitoris is the cause of most missed orgasms. It so happened that many people have an idea only about a certain basic type of sex that should bring pleasure to a couple - vaginal (penetral). This is when partners achieve pleasure by rubbing the penis against the inner walls of the vagina.

But if for men such sex really almost always ends with an orgasm, since the most sensitive part of their genitals is the head of the penis, then for women the situation is reversed. No more than 20% of them can get an orgasm in this way.

The answer is simple: their main center of sexual pleasure is the clitoris. And he is practically not involved in penetral sex (in a missionary position, for example).

The ability to achieve orgasm in those who still fell into these 20% who enjoy only penetration is due to anatomical features. Their clitoris is closer to the entrance to the vagina and is stimulated indirectly. To make it clear how statistically a large role the clitoris plays in the female orgasm, we note: 80–90% of women using a vibrator usually masturbate without vaginal penetration at all.

Additional stimulation of the clitoris can really solve a lot of issues. It is easy to do this: before or during sex, using your own hands or a vibrator. It is important to consider that the sensitivity of the clitoris is different for all women. Light touches can give ecstatic pleasure to someone, and active friction can give someone. Listen to your partner's reaction and openly ask for clues.

Give compliments. Many compliments

Psychological factors are closely related to orgasmic imitation. Women who cannot enjoy vaginal penetration alone often worry about their sexuality. In addition, most people remain captivated by ideas about "normal" and "correct" orgasms.

Enlighten yourself and dispel her fears. Compliments will help the partner to accept her body and feel her unique sexuality.

Compliments will help to cope with another phenomenon on the way to a real orgasm. Researchers call it spectatorism, worrying about how we look during sex. Anxiety “do I look stupid”, “does my chest bounce too strange”, “do I make too terrible sounds”. It's natural to ask these questions, but they can often drown out the fun. Your pleasant comments and enthusiasm will reduce the effect of spectatoring to nothing and help bring your partner to a bright orgasm.

To study how a woman is aroused

The main enemies of a female orgasm are psychological tension and expectation. Now you understand this principle, so it will be much easier for you to meet orgasm in your couple.

Doctor of Psychology and author of The Way a Woman Wants, Emily Nagoski says that if you can't achieve an orgasm, then you just need to let go of the situation and stop waiting for it. To do this, you need to accept one important thought: sex should always be pleasant, but it does not have to end with an orgasm. Tell your partner about this. The very release of expectations can play a significant role for her on the path to intense sexual pleasure. The ability to experience it sometimes needs to be developed: listen to your feelings and give yourself the freedom to explore them.

Not only is there no right sex, there is no right orgasm either. They are all different and unique each time.

Classify orgasms as vaginal or clitoral, strong or weak, spontaneous or forced incorrectly. First of all, it contributes to a slight hysteria around the topic, makes us think of sexual pleasure as right or wrong, preferred or marginal. The only thing that really unites all orgasms is the sudden release of sexual tension. Only and everything.

Emily Nagoski

Doctor of Psychology and Sexuality Researcher

The main way to deal with orgasm difficulties is to make pleasure, not orgasm, your goal.

What is the result

If a woman fakes an orgasm, it can mean anything. There is no point in guessing and looking for a flaw in yourself, but it is definitely worth developing the skills of a more caring and sensual lover.

Learn more