Orgasm Study Says Women Fake It 'Til They Make It

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For many women, trying to reach orgasm during intercourse is not unlike searching for the perfect apartment. It's difficult, it's frustrating, and, for some ladies, it just never happens. Of course, there are a whole bunch of potential reasons why you may be unable to get over the edge — perhaps the most important being the very, very common misconception that it is possible for all women to get off just from penetrative sex with their partner. This widely held tidbit of fundamentally false information has resulted in a very real pressure for women to orgasm when they have sex — which leads us to the topic of "faking it."

A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Archives looked to shed new light on this near-universal phenomenon. Researchers at Temple University and Kenyon College asked 481 heterosexual, young, single women about why they pretended to have orgasms during intercourse. The subjects cited four main reasons for faking it, listed here in order of prevalence: 1) to spare their partners' feelings; 2) insecurity/concern for their partners' enjoyment; 3) elevated arousal/to try to achieve a real orgasm; and 4) to stop sex.

On its face, this study confirms a lot of things we already knew: Some women feel pressured to perform in a way that is often impossible with penetrative intercourse alone and find that faking it both satisfies their partners and protects their fragile egos. At the same time, though, using a fake orgasm to work yourself up to a real one makes a great deal of sense — not only could it increase your own arousal, but it could also turn your partner on. Even if it doesn't necessarily result in climax, perhaps that little bit of extra passion could lead to some experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking — and maybe even a bit of (gasp!) clitoral stimulation. That's a win-win if we ever heard one. (Time)