For years, female pleasure was an unmentionable, shoved into the same shadowy territory as menstruation and masturbation. Now, thanks in part to science and feminism opening up dialogues about desire, it's far less taboo to research and discuss why women fake orgasms.
If you frequent women's lifestyle publications, this topic is about as common as listicles of sex positions for maximum female pleasure. The so-called "orgasm gap" has finally been unmasked, and women are more free to take sex into their own hands (sometimes very literally, if you get my drift).
Here's what we know: according to a Cosmopolitan survey, half of women orgasm most or every time they have sex with a male partner.
Given this state of affairs, it's not difficult to see the makings of "faking it." But why, exactly, do women do it? Here's what drives some to engage in a faux climax or two:
As mate guarding behaviour
In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, 453 women ranging in age from 18 to 46 were surveyed about their sex lives. 54 percent admitted to faking an orgasm, and many linked it to what researchers called "mate-guarding behaviour."
Basically, some women pretended to get greater pleasure from sex to keep a guy from straying. The more a woman believed her man would cheat, the more likely she was to fake it. My outraged feminist reaction to all this? I've been in this tenuous position, and male fragility is real.
To increase sexual excitement
Ah, finally a stat to counter the dominant discourse about faux climaxing. Sometimes, faking an orgasm can actually help women become more sexually excited, and increase their own chances for coming, found one study published in the Journal of Sexual Archives.
"Deciding to fake orgasm for this motive may have little to nothing to do with a woman’s partner and his sexual experience," one of the study authors, Erin Cooper, told The Huffington Post.
To end bad sex
According to new research presented at the British Psychological Society's Psychology of Women conference, women also fake orgasms to end bad sex.
Study author Emily Thomas explained that many women they spoke with did fake orgasms to increase their own arousal, but there were plenty who also did it to hasten the end of an encounter. "Within these accounts, we were struck by the degree to which women were connecting the practice of faking orgasm to accounts of unwanted sex," she said.
Sometimes, sex you consent to initially is just not pleasurable, and faking an orgasm can hurry up the not-so-awesome process. However, although the researchers said none of the 15 respondents mentioned the word rape, they did report that some accounts slipped into the murky waters of coercive sex.
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