One Third of Gays and Lesbians Can't Detect a Fake Orgasm

Sunday August 29, 2021
Originally published on August 21, 2021

We know what you're thinking. "But I could!" A new survey by Lovehoney tested 2,000 Americans on their ability to detect a fake orgasm from a real one and asked them numerous questions related to their attitudes to and experiences with faking pleasure in the bedroom.

The self-described "sexual happiness" brand also called upon sexuality psychologist Dr. Laurie Mintz to weigh in on the issues relating to faking orgasms and how to approach the topic with your partner, saying the most common reason was to finish sex more quickly. Most said they would tell their partner they were faking it (awkard! When and how would that conversation come up?), though 30% insisted on never telling their partner they were faking it.

Interestingly, the study also showed that people attracted to more than one gender are more open to talking about sexual satisfaction. True to form, the data revealed that men are worse than women at detecting a fake orgasm, but more confident than women in their ability to detect one — ah, hubris!

Various sexual orientations revealed further details, with 77% of bisexuals and 83% of pansexuals admitting to faking an orgasm.

Sexual Sleuths: Could You Detect a Fake Orgasm? Probably Not

Results showed that despite the majority of men and women being confident in their ability to detect a real orgasm from a fake orgasm, both demographics were in the minority in their ability to.

Participants were played 10 audio clips in succession and asked to select whether they thought the sound of the orgasm was real or fake. The audio clips consisted of genuine orgasm sounds uploaded to the orgasm sound library and fake orgasm sounds uploaded to YouTube and on TV shows (a side gig you didn't know existed.)

While 65% of Americans could correctly identify real orgasms, only 35% could identify fake orgasms. Women were better able to detect a fake orgasm than men. Women correctly identified fake orgasms 40% of the time, while men identified fake orgasms only 31%.

Click Here to test your ability to recognize an authentic orgasm.

A Sex Expert Weights In: 4 Questions Answered

Sexuality psychologist Dr. Laurie Mintz gave her advice on how to have an honest conversation about faking orgasms and overcoming them with a partner.

What are some of the common reasons for people faking orgasms during sex?

According to prior research conducted with college students, the most common reasons for men are that the orgasm is taking too long or that they want sex to end, either because they are drunk or already had an orgasm that day (e.g., with masturbation). The most common reason women give is to avoid negative consequences.

The negative consequences that women say that they want to avoid are appearing abnormal or hurting their partner's feelings during intercourse and making him feel less masculine. Regarding avoiding appearing abnormal, the overwhelming majority of women do not orgasm from penetration alone, but due to the media portraying this as the norm, many women don't know that not orgasming during intercourse is common. And, regarding not hurting their partner's feelings, research shows that men view women's orgasms (especially during intercourse) as a reflection of their masculinity. We clearly need better sex education to alleviate such concerns!

When is it okay, or perhaps necessary, for people to fake an orgasm with a sexual partner?

In a consensual sexual encounter, I do not believe it is a good idea to fake an orgasm. For women especially, faking teaches a partner to do precisely what doesn't work for you. Instead, being honest about what one needs or wants in the bedroom — before, during, and even after a sexual encounter — is what is going to result in orgasm and sexual satisfaction. While many people feel scared to have such a conversation, sex educators, researchers, and therapists will consistently tell you that sexual communication enhances sexual pleasure. And I promise: It is much easier to learn to talk about sex than to expect a partner to mind-read.

How would you suggest a person opens a conversation with their partner about them faking orgasms?

This depends on the relationship and the length and context of the faking. If one feels safe enough, I'd suggest an out-of-the-bedroom conversation (using great communication techniques such as a preface to the discussion and one's wishes for it and statements that start with "I").

However, many feel it is simply too risky to admit faking orgasm as this would feel like a betrayal to the partner and be too difficult to work through. In this case, I'd advocate for the person approaching their partner to discuss ways to make sex better. I had one woman tell me during a workshop I was leading that she'd been faking for 30 years and there was no way she could tell her partner this, so I suggested she say something along the lines of, "I really love you and I love our sex life. I've been reading about how for most women, clitoral stimulation (for example with a vibrator) before, during, or even after intercourse enhances orgasm. I'd like to experiment with this. Are you open to that?"

What advice would you give to sexual partners or couples who are working on trying to stop faking orgasms during sex with each other?

First, an honest conversation out of the bedroom about ways to improve sex. This may first entail learning good communication skills. Then, actually communicating during sex is essential. This can include actual words (e.g., faster, slower, harder) or non-verbal communication such as putting your hand on your partner's to guide them.

Post-sex processing is also important (e.g., "How was that for you and how could it have been better?"). Some couples find it very educative to observe how their partner pleasures themselves. I would also suggest couples read or watch some sex-positive resources together.