Women are known to fake orgasms so their partners’ egos aren’t bruised during unsatisfying romps in the hay. But one study has found women also fake orgasms for another not so innocent reason: to get out of unwanted sex they didn’t necessarily consent to.
In a study created by the British Psychological Society, 15 women between the ages of 19 to 28 who had been sexually active for at least one year were interviewed to discuss why they fake the Big-O in the first place. The researchers found that “despite being recruited to talk about consensual sex, all women spoke explicitly of a problematic sexual experience,” a press release noted. Although the participants never used the terms “sexual assault” or “rape,” they described their sexual experiences as unwanted and explained the need to get out of them. “[F]aking orgasm provided a solution for ending sex where, culturally, not many options are available.”
Study author Emily Thomas of Ryerson University in Canada explained, “While some women spoke about faking orgasm in positive ways, for instance, as a pleasurable experience that heightened their own arousal, many talked about feigning pleasure in the context of unwanted and unpleasurable sexual experiences. Within these accounts, we were struck by the degree to which women were connecting the practice of faking orgasm to accounts of unwanted sex.”
By faking orgasms, the women believed they were able to exert more control over their sexual circumstances, especially when other alternatives solutions were not made available to them.
Although the entire study wasn’t released to the public, its general theme sheds light on the need to understand what consent is and how to offer or deny it.
“It appears that faking orgasm is both problematic and helpful at the same time,” the authors wrote. “On one level faking an orgasm may be a useful strategy as it affords some control over ending a sexual encounter. We are not criticizing faking practice on an individual level. We want to focus on the problems with our current lack of available language to describe women’s experiences that acknowledges, names and confronts the issues women spoke of in our interviews.”