Why do people fake an orgasm?

Santa’s reindeer aren’t the only ones who get excited during the holiday season.

During cultural celebrations like Christmas and Eid al-Fitr, topics about sex are trending on search engines and social media. Retailers like 7-Eleven sell more condoms on Christmas Day than almost any other day of the year. And because so many people in the United States have sex in December, the birth rate spikes during the summer months. When partners have a vacation from work, they may have more time to share intimacy.

However, all may not be rosy and bright in the bedroom. In a 2019 study published in Archives of sexual behavior, researchers found that nearly 60% of women faked an orgasm. Other studies indicate that about 25% of men have faked an orgasm.

Why do so many people fake an orgasm and how can couples have better sex?

Potential causes of faking orgasms

Orgasms are an important component of your sexual health and can have several benefits. When you orgasm, your blood pressure and heart rate increase as the muscles in and around your genitals contract. Orgasms can help relieve stress because your body produces “feel good” hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. With relaxed muscles after an orgasm, you may fall asleep more easily.

Sex is complicated, and so are orgasms—even fake ones. Some people may fake orgasms because of communication difficulties in their relationship. IN Archive of sexual behavior report cited above, most of the women who faked an orgasm wanted to talk to their partner about it, but didn’t know how to broach the subject. 42% of those women who remained silent did not want to hurt their partner’s feelings. About 80% of participants keep their fake orgasms a secret because they are worried or uncomfortable discussing the details of sexual contact with their partner.

These reasons for staying silent about orgasm reflect some common motivations people have for faking it in the first place. A man may pretend to have an orgasm to protect his lover’s feelings. If one person has already climaxed, the other partner may feel compelled to pretend they’re done too. Someone may agree to have sex, but may not find sex satisfying. Instead of directly stopping the encounter and expressing his displeasure, this person may instead fake an orgasm to try to bring the intercourse to an end.

While communication barriers can cause discrepancies in pleasure, false orgasms can also signal an underlying medical problem. Orgasm dysfunction can be a symptom of several conditions. Depression, anxiety and fatigue can reduce a person’s libido. Vaginal dryness, vaginismus, yeast and urinary tract infections, or chronic pelvic pain can make sex uncomfortable. Some people with penises fake orgasms because they struggle with a condition called delayed ejaculation, or DE. In many ways, DE is the opposite of premature ejaculation. Someone who has DE may find that they need more time and more stimulation to climax than their partners.

In many situations, a man with orgasmic dysfunction will feel frustrated if he struggles to reach climax. They may exaggerate their moans to try to arouse themselves. Some people fake climax and hope that by faking it, they can push their body into a real orgasm.

Consequences of false orgasms

Misinformation about anatomy can also perpetuate misunderstandings about sexual pleasure. Up to 50% of women are not satisfied with how often they reach orgasm. About 80% of women struggle to orgasm from vaginal sex alone, according to a 2017 study. Journal of Sex and Marriage Therapy. In this study, 37% of women surveyed could not achieve orgasm without clitoral stimulation. However, in a 2019 YouGov survey, 31% of male participants could not identify the clitoris on an anatomical diagram. Better anatomical knowledge can enable partners to feel more confident when communicating their sexual desires.

In some relationships, orgasm inconsistency may be perfectly normal. For example, some asexual people may not enjoy the experience of orgasm. A man can help his partner climax during sex without expecting his partner to reciprocate. However, unless the couple has reported these differences in orgasm, false orgasms may signal an unbalanced relationship.

If fake orgasms are a routine part of the couple’s routine, resentment can grow. When a person fakes an orgasm, their partner may have misconceptions about the interaction. If a woman pretends to moan even if she is not satisfied, her husband may repeat the same movements in the future, believing that he is actually pleasing his wife. If a man is faking an orgasm while having anal sex, his partner may not think the couple could benefit from more foreplay or sex toys. Over time, these misunderstandings can make sex feel like a chore.

Active communication before, during and after sex can help ensure that partners are meeting their needs. These conversations may include questions such as the following:

  • Is this still good?
  • what do you want next
  • You are louder/quieter than usual. How do you feel? Do you want to try a new position or take a break?
  • I thought I would like this position, but I’m not feeling it tonight. Can we try something else?
  • I really like it when we use this sex toy. What do you think about that? Are there any toys you like to use on yourself or me?

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