Do Men Fake Orgasms?

by | Jul 11, 2020 | SEXUALITY

This is a picture of a happy couple who have figured out why men fake orgasms.

Can men fake an orgasm? Pleasuring one’s partner can be natural for some, but exceptionally tricky for others. How do you tell your partner exactly what you need in bed? What will they think? Should you just fake it? Questions like these can arise, and you may find yourself uncomfortable having an open line of communication about your sexual needs. Along with a plethora of other reasons, not being comfortable enough to have this discussion can result in one faking it.

There is much debate regarding faking orgasms, however, most people will agree that when it comes to faking an orgasm, women come to mind as the usual fakers. Whether Meg Ryan, from the unforgettable scene in When Harry Met Sally, introduced you to this notion that many women fake orgasms, or you yourself have pretended to climax, this polarizing topic can be challenging to navigate. Although women are commonly recognized for faking orgasms, does anyone ever consider if, when, or how men fake orgasms too?

Yes, Men Fake Orgasms 

Women we are not alone! Although there is much more limited research on the frequency with which males fake orgasms, compared to research on women, there are a couple studies that provide evidence that men can and do fake orgasms. Specifically, one study that examined the gender differences among pretending to climax reported that 25% of all their male participants reported faking an orgasm at least once (Muehlenhard & Shippee 2010). While this number was about half of the percentage of women who have faked an orgasm, it nonetheless provides support that men do indeed fake orgasms too.

Reasons Why Men Fake It

Generally speaking, men can choose to fake an orgasm for many reasons such as: their partner initiated the sexual activity, they were intoxicated which can decrease the ability to orgasm, they were in discomfort during the act, it was taking too long, they feared not being able to achieve an orgasm, or they were simply tired.  

In terms of psychological motives, there can be a lot of pressure felt to orgasm as a man. This pressure likely stems from the traditional heteronormative couple narrative that male orgasms are easily achievable, females should climax first, thus sex typically ends with the male climaxing (Séguin, & Milhausen, 2016). If a man cannot meet these constructed guidelines, they may fake an orgasm to avoid coming off as inadequate, sexually disappointing, or abnormal. Another pressure is the fear of having an orgasm too quickly, also known as early (formerly known as premature) ejaculation. If a man experiences early ejaculation and is insecure about it or the way his partner will react, he may pretend to orgasm after the fact in order to cover it up. Furthermore, a man may also worry that his partner might be insulted if they do not orgasm, as his partner could start to mistakenly think they are not sexually satisfactory or attractive enough.

Economically, men may fake an orgasm in the event that they do not want to risk impregnating their partner, which could be a very expensive mistake. Although there are readily available solutions to this problem, this occurrence is a valid and worthy motivation. Lastly, they may socially fear that their partner may tell her friends about him not being able to climax. Increasingly present for a couple that share mutual friends, these nerves could be causing great stress, so faking an orgasm comes as an easy way out.

How Does It Go Unnoticed?

It is important to recall that having an orgasm and ejaculating are not synonymous. While they typically occur at the same time for men, they are two separate biological processes and can happen without the presence of one another. That said, vocal sounds and body movements are the two most common ways both men and women fake an orgasm. However, when it comes to men, wouldn’t it be much harder to get away with if there is clearly no evidence of ejaculate or semen? In fact, Dr. Abraham Morgentaler answers this question in his book titled Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex. He explains that if men do an excellent job at hiding this absence of ejaculate, a man can fake an orgasm just as well as a woman can.

Are There Any Risks?

While little is known about the physiological and health risks for men faking orgasms, more is known about the emotional risks that pretending to climax can bring to yourself and your partner. When men fake an orgasm, they may lead their partner to believe they are sexually satisfied, when they in reality are not. This could leave partners feeling like they are on a higher level of intimacy, or proud of their sexual acts, when it was all faked. Once this happens, a partner might continue to do those things they believed previously worked, and the man could be continuously having to fake it. As the faking continues, it becomes that much harder to come clean and tell your partner about what you actually enjoy.

Additionally, faking orgasms is rooted in lying, which is a habit that can start to transcend into other aspects of your relationship. The more and more you successfully lie about having an orgasm, the more easily you understand how a lie can quickly resolve conflict. You may find yourself lying about things totally unrelated to sex, which can have serious implications for your relationship.

What can partners do if their man fakes it?

Be as understanding as possible.

Making an effort to be as understanding as possible is increasingly important for a discussion like this. Remember that this is a very challenging topic for your partner to open up about and admit to. Not everyone can do this, so if he was honest, try to take the time that you need to really comprehend what his motives were.  

Make an effort to not get insulted.

It is very important to try to not let your emotions get the best of you. Do not start to make judgments before you have heard his reasoning for the situation. Many partners can be quick to assume it is something they are doing wrong. However, as we have explored above, there are many motivations for faking an orgasm, some of which can be completely unrelated to the partner.

Thank him for bringing it to your attention.

Strive to be thankful that he opened up about such a sensitive and fragile topic. He simply would not have told you if he did not care enough to come clean or want to work on fixing it, so it is helpful to be grateful that he did.

Be open to work on it.

It is very meaningful to accept what has happened as the past, and be open to trying new things moving forward. Going in with an open mind and an excitement about increasing the enjoyment of your relationship will not only be beneficial to yourself, but provides him with the reassurance that it was talking about it was the right idea.

 

What are some other things men can say or do instead faking the big O?

Be honest with your partner.

LaFollette and Graham (1986) emphasize the importance of meta-honesty, while examining how honesty is complementary to intimacy. Meta-honesty is characterized by being thoroughly honest with your partner, which can even include opening up about why you chose to refrain from sharing something with them. This deep and raw concept can allow couples to shamelessly display certain sensitive emotions and truly grow together and as individuals. Instead of faking an orgasm, men can try to work with their partner to create a safe space for honesty; and once both parties have eased into it, men can begin to open up about their frustrations and their sexual needs. This can release feelings of shame from the male and start the conversation about possible solutions around the problem.

Talk to a therapist about faking orgasms.

If being honest with your partner is increasingly hard for you, you may want to consider speaking with a therapist. An individual therapist can provide you with strategies on how to get more comfortable with being honest, and unravel why it might be difficult for you to be honest in the first place. Additionally, they may also help you craft what you will say to your partner when the time comes to have the conversation. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a Modern Intimacy therapist, click here.

Masturbate to find what works for you.

If you are unsure about what your exact sexual needs are, try masturbating to find what is exciting to you. Pleasuring yourself can be stigmatized at times, but learning and understanding more about yourself can help you and your partner overcome issues in the bedroom. Learn more about the pros and cons of masturbation here.

See a doctor.

There can be numerous health problems that can be influencing one’s ability to orgasm, in which a man could have been blind to. These health concerns can result in frequent premature ejaculation or delayed ejaculation. Your doctor can provide helpful tips on how to manage such challenges. At the very least, you will feel reassured that there is nothing you need to feel embarrassed about.

As surprising as it may be, men do fake orgasms. The good news is that, like with women, the reasons can be addressed through healthy communication and a non-judgmental approach to authentic pleasure. 

References

Carson, T. L. (2010). Lying and deception: Theory and practice. Oxford University Press.

Charlene L. Muehlenhard & Sheena K. Shippee (2010) Men’s and Women’s Reports of

Pretending Orgasm, The Journal of Sex Research, 47:6, 552-567,

DOI:10.1080/00224490903171794

 

Kershnar, S. (2012). The Morality of Faking Orgasms: Deception in a Dishonest World.

International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 26(1), 85-104.

 

LaFollette, H., & Graham, G. (1986). Honesty and intimacy. Journal of Social and Personal

Relationships, 3(1), 3-18.

 

Morgentaler, A. (2013). Why men fake it: The totally unexpected truth about men and sex.

Macmillan.

 

Seguin, L. J., Milhausen, R. R., & Kukkonen, T. (2015). The development and validation of the

motives for feigning orgasms scale. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(1),

31-48.

 

Séguin, L. J., & Milhausen, R. R. (2016). Not all fakes are created equal: examining the

relationships between men’s motives for pretending orgasm and levels of sexual desire,

and relationship and sexual satisfaction. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 31(2), 159-175.

Modern Intimacy is founded by renowned therapist Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This blog is designed to be an ultimate resource for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. We have many expert contributors from all around the world! Enjoy!

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Author Bio

Brooke Schwartzman is a sophomore at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Psychological and Brain Sciences.

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