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When is a woman more likely to fake it?
December 8th, 2011
07:27 AM ET

When is a woman more likely to fake it?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Ladies, how many of you have ever faked it? If so, why? Did you fake it because your orgasm just wasn’t going to happen? Or did you do it because his orgasm happened all too quickly? In that case, perhaps you faked your own orgasm to spare his feelings, or maybe to avoid having to talk about it.

But have you ever faked it because you thought that doing so might prevent him from cheating? A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 54% of women admitted to faking an orgasm, and that women who thought their partners might cheat were more likely to be the ones doing the faking.

While the idea of faking orgasm to keep a partner faithful is a novel one, one has to wonder about its potential effectiveness. I personally don’t know of any research to suggest that men are more likely to stay in a relationship with a partner who has orgasms, or that men are more likely to cheat if their partners do not have orgasms.

Of course, research into the female orgasm is fairly scant. Perhaps the women who are faking it in light of their partner’s potential infidelity are not doing so to keep their partners, but rather are faking it because the fear of their partner’s infidelity makes it difficult to have an orgasm in the first place.

“Maybe women fake orgasm more when they think their partner might cheat, not because orgasm persuades their partner to stay, but because the stress of not trusting their partner acts as a ‘brake’ on their arousal, making orgasm more difficult,” says sex educator Dr. Emily Nagoski. “If orgasm is expected by your partner, but isn’t easily achieved, faking is a way to meet that expectation and thus reinforce the relationship narrative that ‘everything is fine.’”

Of course, if a woman is faking it, everything is not fine, especially if she is worried that her partner could cheat.

“Faking it is by no means an effective strategy,” says Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of the book "How to Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You." “A relationship won’t have longevity simply because someone pretends that they have an orgasm. In fact, lack of physical satisfaction (and, clearly, a lack of honest communication) will definitely not lead to relationship success.”

And in my experience as a sex counselor, women who fake it consistently are also more likely to eventually stray themselves in search of sexual satisfaction.

But as we know from the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in "When Harry Met Sally," men are easily fooled. According to the recently published National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 85% of men said that their partner had experienced an orgasm during their most recent sexual event, while only 64% of women reported actually having had an orgasm.

The implication: Lots of women are faking it - and getting away with it. But if a woman fakes it and her partner thinks she is actually enjoying the sex, is her dissatisfaction really heard?

It isn’t easy to talk about sex, especially if you’re naïve enough to think that faking it is any sort of effective way to keep a partner from straying. But as Dr. Madeleine Castellanos notes, “The women in the study were mostly university students with a mean age of 21.8 years old and mean length of relationship of about 2 years and 9 months. There may be a higher level of anxiety in this population in regards to their relationship.”

Maybe that’s why women are said to experience their sexual peak later in life - not for physiological reasons, but because an older woman is less likely to fake it and more likely to pursue pleasure on a level playing field with her male partner.

And when it comes to faking, remember that the secret could come out.

“Faking can blow up in your face if a man finds out that his woman has been faking her excitement and orgasm all along,” adds Castellanos. “Talking to your partner about what you like and what really pleases you is more likely to develop a genuine erotic connection that he will value.”


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soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. gene

    i have to say I have one fetish and that is that I love to hear and feel and see a woman orgasm so I do kind of understand the gist of this article. If I thought I was not satifying my partner i would be more likely to stray just really I guess for my own ego. It is important to me to please the person I am with and if for some reason I cant I would likely want to find someone else who I could.

    December 8, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jz

      hmm, from my own frustrated before wand experience, I can't recommend this enough – Name Your Link

      January 9, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Jz

      hmm, from my own frustrated before wand experience, I can't recommend this enough – Reviews of HMW

      January 9, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  2. BigDawg

    I wish my wife cared enough to fake it.

    December 8, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jz

      There is no reason a woman should do it. Get her to use the magic wand (the most highly rated thing in it's category for related products on amazon), she can enjoy it in front of you (after you give her some privacy to experiment with it and find the right way it works with her). She will even enjoy the intercourse after this..even if she does not do it usually. Speaking from personal experience.

      January 9, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • asterik

      It's pretty sad that you would rather she lie to you than actually actively try to fix the problem.

      January 26, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
  3. MissalmostMRS

    Yep! If you want to please a woman thus she'll gladly please you then you have to love her with your words and then pursue her body. Trust me. It's never failed my man.

    December 8, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joe No Nads

    I have fake nads and a pummpy thing....

    December 9, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. txwtch67

    What if you bought into the whole virgin till your married spiel? Then your stuck with your guy that can only get off dressed in a diaper and baby bottle with a goat in the room. Your kinda "f'd" for real then. Faking it would be the least of the problems at that point. Serial monogamy makes more sense to me, and I'm a female. I think 20 years is a good run for a marriage. Move on as friends. The thought of being with someone 50 plus years and watching them decay in front of you is not something I relish seeing.. Just because people are genetically "wired" to cheat doesn't mean they will choose to. Choice is in everything.

    December 12, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. jackp

    Does it really matter to a guy if she's faking it or not?????

    December 16, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jeanne

    i think this article has a flawed premise....assumes people are 'faking it' to keep the relationship – but to me faking it is a symptom of underlying dishonesty which probably exists more in shaky relationships where people are worried about cheating / more of a coexistence than a cause // thought the article was bad..

    December 21, 2011 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Realistic

    Gosh i really love reading the comments of some people. Reading their crap keeps me from killing myself. Well most of the time i can't seem to get it right. If it even matters i haven't had sex in years. So take that you sex crazed maniacs.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. why women cheat more than men

    It is really interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them.
    http://bit.ly/rhI0tT

    December 23, 2011 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • asterik

      Most studies seem to indicate that males and females cheat at roughly equal rates.

      January 26, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    At least they're having contact, that's a good thing. It may not make the relationship grade A perfect, but it just may keep it together. Or the woman can stonewall, not fix her issues and let the relationship degrade until the guy is forced to outsource. Women have *a lot* of issues nowadays and they just talk nice and pretend everything is okay, never resolving anything. First step– fake it. Hopefully you can get some marriage counseling after that and things may improve.

    December 23, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jz

      Nopes, all that you need is a magic wand (check amazon). No marriage counseling or anything else required :P

      January 9, 2012 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  11. Jz

    Check the reviews of the original thing http://www.amazon.com/Vibratex-HV-250R-Hitachi-Magic-Massager/product-reviews/B00005M1WE/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    January 9, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Gina

    I don't fake it because I think he will leave, I do because I know his whole purpose in making love to me is to please me. I can't climax through intercourse and so to make him feel accomplished (because I love him), I fake it. I never once in my mind though he would leave if I didn't.

    January 10, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. kimberly

    I don't fake it, I don't even see a need to! You can even watch me do it http://ladywebcams.com/?i=800d9aca2305cc6

    January 20, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.