Knowing that your partner has faked an orgasm may be one of the most morale-sapping experiences for men – but how much you earn may be the reason behind it.
Psychologists have found women who make more money than their male partner are twice as likely to fake an orgasm in the bedroom.
Men who earn less than their partner may have a ‘fragile sense of masculinity’, due to the long-held stereotype that men are the primary breadwinners.
As a result, it’s thought women kindly try to alleviate the man’s financial insecurity and boost their ego by faking orgasms during sex.
However, protecting their partner’s sense of masculinity may come ‘perhaps at their own expense’, as it stifles sexual satisfaction and honest communication, the experts say.
Nearly one out of five women fake an orgasm, according to a 2020 survey, and on average, both men and women fake it about four times a month.
Psychologists have found that women who make more money than their male partner are twice as likely to fake an orgasm in the bedroom (stock image)
NEARLY 1/5 WOMEN FAKE ORGASMS, RESEARCH SHOWS
Nearly one out of five (18 per cent) of women fake an orgasm, according to a 2020 survey of 2,000 Americans.
Surprisingly, this figure was only slightly more than men admitting to faking orgasms (16 per cent).
Overall, 46 per cent of sexually active people, both men and women, said they believe their partner never fakes orgasms with them.
On average, people fake it about four times a month.
‘Faking orgasms is a trial many women deal with. It feels almost universal,’ said certified sex coach, sexologist, and author Gigi Engle.
‘Once you start faking it, it’s hard to stop. The depressing reality is that sex isn’t taught in an egalitarian way.’
The survey was conducted by OnePoll in collaboration with women’s sex tech company Lora Di Carlo.
The new study has been led by Professor Jessica Jordan, a psychologist at the University of South Florida, and is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
‘Women are prioritising what they think their partners need over their own sexual needs and satisfaction,’ said Professor Jordan.
‘When society creates an impossible standard of masculinity to maintain, nobody wins.’
For the study, Professor Jordan and colleagues surveyed 157 women who were in sexual relationships with men about their sex lives.
Women reported the percentage of time they have an orgasm when engaging in sex with their partner; the percentage of time that they fake an orgasm when not having an orgasm; and the frequency of sex with their partner.
Participants earned more than their partners 29.6 per cent of the time. On average, women orgasmed 64 per cent of the time, and when not orgasming, they reported faking orgasms 18 per cent of the time.
The results showed that women who made more money than their partners were twice as likely to fake orgasms than women who did not make more money than their partner.
Professor Jordan and colleagues also conducted two further studies with a different sample of participants.
In a study that collected data from 283 women, they found that the more women perceived their partner’s sense of masculinity as fragile, the more anxiety and poorer communication they experienced, which in turn predicted a lower rate of orgasms and sexual satisfaction.
An additional study, involving 196 women, found that participants who were asked to imagine a male partner whose manhood was fragile were also less likely to provide ‘honest sexual communication’, including being able to admit when they have or have not had an orgasm.
Dishonest sexual communication could be in the form of lying verbally, but typically involves mimicking the sexual pleasure associated with a real orgasm.
Nearly one out of five women fake an orgasm, according to a 2020 survey conducted by OnePoll (stock image)
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.
According to Professor Jordan, the results shouldn’t be interpreted as the fault of either the man or the woman.
Women have been led to believe that it is their job to protect their partner’s sense of masculinity by withholding honest sexual feedback.
Men, meanwhile, may not be doing anything to give the woman the impression that honest sexual feedback is welcome.
Future research should explore this phenomenon within couples, including men in same-sex couples, according to Professor Jordan.
Past research has already investigated the reasons for faking orgasms, including to please a partner, to ‘get it done’ and due to boredome.
But experts have recently tried to dispel the popular conception that faking orgasms is a bad thing – in 2019, University of Texas researchers found faking an orgasm could actually improve women’s sex lives and make them more likely to have a real one.
Reenacting the lead-up to a real orgasm, with the quicker breathing, noises, and hip movements, can push women ‘over the threshold’, they said.
Tracey Cox, a sex expert, author and psychologist, has said there are both pros and cons of pretending to climax.
‘There has always been two schools of thought on faking orgasm,’ she said.
‘The “never do it” camp say there’s never any point faking an orgasm because how is your partner supposed to know how to give you a real one unless you’re honest?
‘But there is a “fake it til you make it” side that says faking it can actually help you have a real orgasm.
‘By reenacting the lead up to a real orgasm – breathing faster, making noise, moving your hips, tensing your muscles – you might just push yourself over the threshold to the point where orgasm becomes involuntary.
‘It also makes your partner more excited, which in turn makes you more excited. There do seem to be some benefits to faking orgasm.’
FAKE ORGASMS MAY BE A FORM OF ‘AFFECTIONATE COMMUNICATION’
Faking orgasm could be a way for some young people to communicate affection in their relationships, according to a study.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut carried out a small survey on 152 students between the ages of 18 and 24.
They asked the participants whether they had recently faked orgasms – which, the team said, was more likely among young people – and also asked questions to assess people’s closeness, trust and commitment to their partner.
The scientists, led by Dr Amanda Denes, found that for particularly affectionate people, faking orgasm could be a way of expressing their emotions.
Whereas for people who felt less able to express themselves, it could be a negative experience which they used to get out a sexual situation.
In their paper, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers wrote: ‘Individuals with a high propensity for communicating affection may actually see pretending to orgasm as an indicator of their trust, closeness, and commitment to their partner.
‘Indeed, trait affectionate communication has been associated with less discomfort with closeness, less fear of intimacy (i.e. trusting one’s partner), a reduced likelihood of viewing the relationship as secondary (i.e., putting other goals before one’s partner), and greater relationship satisfaction.
‘Given these previous associations, highly affectionate individuals may also be predisposed to viewing pretending to orgasm in a positive way.
‘Conversely, individuals with lower affectionate communication tendencies may view the sexual experience differently and consider pretending to orgasm (or feeling the need to pretend) as a negative experience that hurts their intimacy and connection with their partner.’