Why do women fake orgasms? Is it to quickly end dissatisfying sexual experiences, or could faking an orgasm serve a higher purpose?
A recent study from Columbia University indicates women who fake orgasms do so as a larger pattern of behavior related to mate retention. The study looked at the behavior patterns of 453 heterosexual women (average age of 22) who were in long-term relationships (average duration of two to three years).
The study notes approximately half of all women say they regularly fake orgasms and do so for reasons including “boosting a partner’s ego, increasing sexual excitement and preventing a partner from defecting from the relationship,” as well as hoping their faked orgasms would “…keep a partner interested or excited and reduce the likelihood of the partner’s infidelity.”
“Half of all women studied regularly fake orgasms to
prevent a partner from leaving the relationship.”
The study found these last points were most accurate. Women tended to fake orgasms more when they actively feared their partner was going to leave or cheat on them, indicating faking an orgasm is essentially a mate retention strategy.
To link faked orgasms with mate retention, the study asked participants to note how often they performed other mate retention actions over the course of the previous month.
These mate retention actions crossed through five broad categories:
- Direct Guarding (calling unexpectedly to see who he’s with)
- Intersexual Negative Inducements (flirted with someone else in front of him)
- Positive Inducements (dressed to catch his attention)
- Public Possession Signals (touching him when other were women around)
- Intrasexual Negative Inducements (direct hostility to other women talking to him)
In addition, researchers asked participants directly about their feelings of stability and the threat of infidelity in their relationship, ultimately finding those women who felt the least stable in their relationship and who performed the most mate retention strategies were also more likely to fake orgasms with their partners, indicating a fake orgasm may be nothing more than a subconscious strategy women use to keep their man’s interest and desire.