Do Men Fake Orgasms?
Yes, they do. The bigger questions tend to be “Why?" and "How?”
Posted Mar 05, 2021 | Reviewed by Devon Frye
In sexual discussions of everyday life, the act of faking orgasms tends to center on women. The idea that some women fake orgasms has become commonplace in socio-sexual scripts and cultural references—particularly in the arena of humor. It’s difficult to refer to faked orgasms without summoning to mind Meg Ryan’s (Oscar-worthy) faked orgasm in the movie When Harry Met Sally.
But it must be noted that women are not the only ones faking orgasms; men fake orgasms, too. Granted, self-reports of those who have faked orgasms disproportionately come from women. Studies vary on the percentage of women who claim to have faked an orgasm, but it ranges between 50 and 75 percent.
There is much less variance, however, in the percentage of men who claim to have pretended to orgasm. Studies typically conclude that around one in four men has faked a climax at least once. I continue to hear from people who do not believe that men will fake an orgasm, but mostly the questions revolve around “why” and “how” men fake it. There are several factors in the why and how men fake orgasm that share a commonality with women who choose to pretend. These commonalities tend to involve social dynamics more than biological considerations.
First, let’s look at the reasons some men choose to feign orgasm. One reason for the theatrics is that men may be hiding a sexual dysfunction, such as premature ejaculation. They may hide the early orgasm and fake another one when they deem the timing to be more situationally appropriate.
Another reason is to excite their partner to orgasm. Sometimes when they sense their partner is close to climaxing, especially if their partner has difficulty with having an orgasm, that fraudulent burst of energy may be enough to help their partner across the finish line.
Considerations of negative impacts on their partner may provide another source of pretending. If a man believes that his not having an orgasm, for any reason, would hurt the feelings of his partner, he may fake an orgasm to protect those feelings.
Other reasons include a loss of interest in the sexual encounter, dissatisfaction, or the encounter is simply taking too long. I once had a respondent in a study who provided a very honest answer to why he faked orgasm: “Listen, the sex was fine and everything, but I just wanted to get back to my video games.”
Regardless of the motive behind feigning an orgasm, in each of these reasons, men are adhering to the sexual script proposing that men are always ready for sex and able to complete the act (at least for themselves). It is likely the perpetuation of this myth that leads some men to fake orgasm (Muehlenhard and Shippee, 2010) as it pressures men to have sex even when they are tired or don’t feel like having sex. It also pressures them to be able to perform at a moment’s notice. Such expectations naturally lead to scenarios where the outcome is pretending to have an orgasm.
With the basis for pretending considered, the next question revolves around how men fake orgasm. With the tell-tale signs of ejaculation being an obvious indicator of a man having an orgasm, how can this be imitated?
Men still share with women the theatrical performance involved in faking an orgasm. It’s all about the increased breathing, vocal inflections, and writhing and tensing of the body. You don’t need to be classically trained at the Strasberg Theater and Film Institute to make it through that part of the deception.
The complication involves the ejaculate. It’s easier if a condom is used. He can strip it off and excuse himself to go dispose of it. No one is the wiser.
Apart from that, there may be a bit more “sleight of hand” involved in the deception. For instance, when it came to selling his performance, one research participant claimed that “along with grunting and groaning, a handful of spit and the right placement works wonders.”
Orgasm as a necessity should not be part of the sexual script for men. Orgasm should not be viewed solely as a means to an end. There is no mandate stating that an orgasm signals the end of a sexual encounter.
Feigning an orgasm is also not a solution to a problem. The problem remains, especially if there is a performance issue. Getting to the root of any sexual issue, being honest, and communicating reasonable expectations can only make for a more fulfilling sex life.
Muehlenhard, C.L., & Shippee, S.K. (2010). Men’s and women’s reports of pretending orgasm, The Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567.