Men's and women's reports of pretending orgasm

J Sex Res. 2010 Nov;47(6):552-67. doi: 10.1080/00224490903171794.


Research shows that many women pretend or "fake" orgasm, but little is known about whether men pretend orgasm. The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) whether, how, and why men pretend orgasm and (b) what men's and women's reports of pretending orgasm reveal about their sexual scripts and the functions of orgasms within these scripts. Participants were 180 male and 101 female college students; 85% of the men and 68% of the women had experienced penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI). Participants completed a qualitative questionnaire anonymously. Both men (25%) and women (50%) reported pretending orgasm (28% and 67%, respectively, for PVI-experienced participants). Most pretended during PVI, but some pretended during oral sex, manual stimulation, and phone sex. Frequently reported reasons were that orgasm was unlikely, they wanted sex to end, and they wanted to avoid negative consequences (e.g., hurting their partner's feelings) and to obtain positive consequences (e.g., pleasing their partner). Results suggest a sexual script in which women should orgasm before men, and men are responsible for women's orgasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Kansas
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Orgasm*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult