Santa’s reindeer aren’t the only ones who antler the holiday season.
During cultural celebrations like Christmas and Eid-al-Fitr, sexual topics trend 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 since so many people in the United States have sex in December, birth rates increase during the summer months. When partners take time off 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 Sexual Behavior Files, Researchers found that almost 60% of women have faked an orgasm. Other studies show that about 25% of men have faked orgasms.
Why do so many people fake orgasms and how can couples have better sex?
Possible reasons for faking orgasms
Orgasms are an important component of your sexual health and can have many benefits. When you have an orgasm, your blood pressure and heart rate increase while 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 your muscles relaxed 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 the Sexual Behavior Files In the report cited above, most of the women who had faked orgasms 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 the participants kept their fake orgasms a secret because they were embarrassed or did not feel comfortable discussing the details of intercourse with their partner.
These reasons for keeping quiet about an orgasm reflect some common motivations people have for faking it in the first place. A person may fake an orgasm to protect their lover’s feelings. If one person has already climaxed, the other partner may feel pressured to pretend they’re done too. One may consent to sex, but may not find it satisfying. Instead of stopping the encounter and expressing his displeasure, this person could fake an orgasm to try to complete intercourse.
While communication barriers can cause pleasure disparities, false orgasms can also signal an underlying medical problem. Orgasm dysfunction can be a symptom of many conditions. Depression, anxiety and fatigue can lower a person’s libido. Vaginal dryness, vaginal discharge, 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 with ED may find that it takes longer and more stimulation to climax compared to their partners.
In many cases, a person with orgasmic dysfunction will feel frustrated if they struggle to climax. They may exaggerate their moans to try to get turned on. Some people fake an orgasm and hope that by faking it, they can coax their body into actually having an orgasm.
Consequences of faking orgasms
Misinformation about anatomy can also perpetuate misconceptions about sexual pleasure. Up to 50% of women are not satisfied with how often they orgasm. About 80% of women struggle to reach orgasm from vaginal sex alone, according to a 2017 study by The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. In this study, 37% of women surveyed could not have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation. However, in a 2019 YouGov survey, 31% of male participants could not identify the clitoris on an anatomy chart. Better anatomical knowledge can enable partners to feel more confident when communicating about their sexual desires.
In some relationships, orgasm inequality can be perfectly normal. For example, some asexual people may not enjoy the experience of orgasm. A person can help their partner climax during sex without expecting their partner to reciprocate. However, unless a couple has communicated about these differences in orgasm, false orgasms can signal an unbalanced relationship.
If fake orgasms are part of a couple’s routine, resentment can increase. 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 these same movements in the future in the belief that he is actually pleasing his wife. If a man is faking an orgasm while having anal sex, his boyfriend may not think the couple could benefit from more foreplay or sex toys. Over time, these misunderstandings can make sex seem 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:
- Does this still feel good?
- What do you want next?
- You are louder/quieter than usual. How do you feel? 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 this? Are there any toys you enjoy using on yourself or me?