It’s a fairly well-known fact that women fake orgasms—up to 80% of the time, some sad research suggests—but the fact that men do the same thing during sex is less talked about, presumably because of the well-documented orgasm gap, which holds that it’s easier for dudes to come during intercourse, period. (One study found that men came during 95% of sexual encounters, while women only reached orgasm during 69%).
But recently published research shows that men may be faking orgasms during an estimated average of 29% of sexual encounters. 71% of the 230 18 to 29-year-old men surveyed reported faking it during vaginal intercourse, while 27% faked it during oral sex.
The researchers explored why men faked orgasms, and attributed the behavior to seven different motives (which exist as part of an official “Motivations for Feigning Orgasm Scale” that was developed in 2015—yes, seriously). The major reasons for not being able to finish the job: Being too drunk; wanting to make their partner feel good; not being in the mood; bad timing; insecurity; wanting to improve sex (i.e. fake it til ya make it); and just plain bad sex.
Interestingly, men who faked it more often also reported having happier relationships—so apparently the occasional white lie pays off in the bedroom. But men who reported faking it because the sex was bad or they weren’t vibing with their partner were also found to have less satisfying relationships. (Shocker!)
“Participants were most likely to report feigning orgasm in order to buttress a partner’s self esteem, and for reasons related to timing (i.e. wanting to have an orgasm at the same time as a partner). Participants were least likely to report feigning because the sex, or their partner, was unappealing,” the authors wrote in their findings. “It is possible that men feel good when giving a partner pleasure, either out of love and generosity, or because it provides indirect reassurance of their own sexual adequacy, leading them to associate this reward with sexual activity, further leading them to seek more sex.”
So basically, men do what we do more often than we might have thought. But it’s only if he (or you!) does it on the regs, without trying to figure out why it’s happening or how to improve things, that he’s doing you a disservice. On the other hand, if your S.O. does fake it once in awhile, but your relashe is otherwise positive, communicative, and happy, it’s sort of a no harm, no foul situation—and actually kinda, weirdly, sweet.