Love & Sex

Women Faking Orgasms Might Not Be as Bad as You Think, for One Simple Reason

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Why we're so quick to become Meryl Streeps in the sheets.

In a new study that seems to be participating in backwards day, it was discovered that some women might be faking orgasms during sex to turn themselves on. Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the study focused on the reasons women fake it beyond the typical man-pleasing model that most of us assume motivates histrionic moans and appeasing "Oh god"s. Based on the self-reports of 481 straight young women, the study found that there are four basic reasons women are acting like Meryl Streeps in the sheets:

1. To babysit their partner's feelings. (Coming for altruism.)
2. To avoid negative or awkward moments.
3. To increase their own arousal during sex.
4. To get this over with already, please.

Three of these reasons sound like normal fare for awkward young women who may or may not realize that only 30 percent of women usually orgasm from intercourse. Meaning, they have yet to recognize that their non-orgasmic experience when their partner is diligently going down on them for 45-minutes can, for some, be par for the course. They thrash around for a few seconds and give out a few sighs, hoping that they come off as normal and appreciative in the sack.

Some surveys have pegged as many as 43 percent of women as faking at least one orgasm in their lifetime. Some fictional characters played by Meg Ryan have pegged it as high as "almost every woman." Thought of in the Victorian era as an "innocent deception" to help please a man in bed, the feigned female orgasm has slithered its way into modern bedrooms, always a curious behavior without much science or sense behind it. But women blowing their proverbial gaskets in the name of sex strategy is a new one. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Female copulatory vocalizations ("ooohhhh" "ahhhhh," "goddamn, you're good"), are customarily a part of the faker's big-O repertoire. These sounds have been shown to speed up a partner's orgasm and improve sexual satisfaction and pair bonding for both. Simply by hearing the sounds usually associated with sexual satisfaction, whether in porn or real life, can boost the likelihood that a lady can get there eventually.

But also, the act still works. The performance of a fake orgasm creates an intimate moment, a kind of comfort — even if it's only a farce — that statistically ups the chances of a woman having a real deal orgasm. Other studies have shown that women don't always come when you aggressively lick them like you're at a stamp rally, but they are more likely to come when  they're relaxed with a familiar partner. So, although this study's fake-it-til-you-make-it method of acting out orgasms seems a bit counterintuitive to the communication and authenticity generally prescribed for orgasm woes, the phonies are onto something. The only awkward part now comes when you have to muffle your authentic orgasm mere moments after you just gave an Oscar-worthy performance.

Image via MGM.