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Why women fake orgasms during sex (according to some scientists)

Study finds some motives for faking orgasms are less altruistic than others

Heather Saul
Wednesday 26 March 2014 17:28 GMT
Uma Thurman in a raunchy poster campaign for Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac
Uma Thurman in a raunchy poster campaign for Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac (Casper Sejersen/Trust Nordisk)

Some women fake orgasms during sex in order to increase their own arousal, a new study has suggested.

Pretending to enjoy sex can actually make the whole experience more pleasurable, research published in the Journal of Sexual Archives concluded.

Researchers from Temple University and Kenyon College asked 481 heterosexual females, who were sexually active but not in committed relationships, to indicate how much individual factors influenced their decision to fake an orgasm.

Four motives formed the Faking Orgasm Scale for Women, and were as follows: altruistic deceit (faking it out of concern for a partner's feelings, fear and insecurity (faking it to avoid negative emotions associated with the sexual experience), elevated arousal (attempting to increase one's own arousal through faking orgasm), and sexual adjournment (faking orgasm to end sex).

The team found that women were more likely to fake orgasms to turn themselves on, rather than to end sex.

But the most common reason for faking an orgasm was altruism, with women reporting they did not want to hurt their sexual partner’s feelings.

"What is unique about the Faking Orgasm Scale for Women is that, for the first time, we have quantitative evidence suggesting women may also fake orgasm for far more 'selfish' reasons, like increasing their own arousal," Erin Cooper, who co-authored the study, told The Huffington Post.

"Deciding to fake orgasm for this motive may have little to nothing to do with a woman's partner and his sexual experience. I view this strategy as one of the many 'tools in the toolbox' women may use to enhance their own sexual experience."

The researchers concluded: “The FOS should allow researchers and clinicians to better understand why women fake orgasm.

“Deepening this understanding may serve future research examining sexual desire, satisfaction, and dysfunction as well as have applications in sex and couples’ therapy."

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