When Harry Met Sally, starring Billy Crystal (Harry) and Meg Ryan (Sally), is perhaps one of the most loved romantic comedies of all-time. In an iconic scene at a diner, Harry proclaims to Sally that women have never faked an orgasm with him. Harry adds that he would know if women have faked it with him, and he is certain that this has never happened. Sally responds to his self-assuredness by offering a classic "fake orgasm" scene at the diner.
A majority of women have indeed faked orgasms at some point in their lives (sorry gentlemen!), which leads to the obvious question: Why are women compelled to engage in this form of fake signaling? In a forthcoming paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Farnaz Kaighobadi, Todd K. Shackelford, and Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford tackled this exact issue. As a side note, Todd Shackelford was one of the endorsers of my recently released trade book The Consuming Instinct (see my latest interviews with Reason TV and Kill Mag, in which I discuss key precepts from my book). Returning to the study, they theorized that faking orgasms might serve as a mate retention tactic. Specifically, women who perceived their partner as more likely to be unfaithful might fake orgasms more frequently (as one of several possible strategies for retaining their mate).
The researchers administered a survey to 453 women involved in long-term heterosexual relationships, which included the Mate Retention Inventory (MRI; 104 items that capture five types of mate retention strategies), and two items each to capture their partner's perceived likelihood of sexual infidelity as well as the extent to which the participants faked orgasms/sexual arousal. I shall report here two key findings (and will skip the findings associated with the meditational analyses; see the study's abstract for additional details):
(1) The likelihood of faking was positively correlated to infidelity risk (p < .001). In other words, women who felt insecure about their partner's loyalty were more likely to fake sexual arousal/orgasm.
(2) The likelihood of faking was positively correlated to each of the five MRI measures (all p-values less than 0.05). Women who engage in a wide range of mate retention tactics (ostensibly because they are likely to feel insecure in the relationship) are more likely to fake orgasms.
Gentlemen: If your woman frequently fakes orgasms, it might be that she is insecure about your loyalty to her (beyond the obvious possibility that you might not be a good lover!). One more source for male performance anxiety!
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