It can be a bit tricky to know when a woman has had an orgasm, given that there is often little physical evidence of such. Most often women rely on vocalisations to indicate their level of enjoyment during sex. Women are generally more vocally expressive during sex, which is great considering it also communicates what is working and what may not be working for her sexual enjoyment. Though often it is difficult to know whether such noises are a true reflection of orgasmic pleasure, or whether something else entirely is being communicated. A 2014 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour found that there were four main reasons why heterosexual women tend to fake orgasm:

  1. Altruistic Deceit

Few people enjoy hurting their partner’s feelings, which is exactly why some women fake their orgasms. Faking an orgasm to protect your partner’s feelings might feel better in the moment, but is it worth it to live without the sexual pleasure of which your body is capable?

  1. Elevated Arousal

This could also come under the heading “fake it till you make it.” Basically, sometimes making pleasure noises convinces the body that it is enjoying what is happening. Faking an orgasm may trick your body into believing that it has experienced the ultimate heights of sexual pleasure.

  1. Fear and Insecurity

It is a sad fact, but sometimes women fake orgasms to avoided any negative consequences associated with not having an orgasm. Negative consequences might include feeling shame and guilt for not being sexual enough or feeling sexually inadequate.

  1. Sexual Adjournment

For some women, faking orgasm is the easiest way to end a sexual encounter. Since it often takes women longer to achieve orgasm than men, some women find it simpler to pretend to have an orgasm to satisfy their partner and to get the perceived “chore” of sex over.

Female orgasm is still largely a mystery in our society, with theories abound as to the reasons why. Some theories believe that an orgasm might assist sperm to reach the intended destination (the egg), whilst others posit that female orgasm is an incentive for women to engage in sex at all. While such theories might hold some logic, they certainly don’t make sense when it comes to women who fake orgasm or struggle to orgasm.

Add to that the fact that most women achieve climax through clitoral self stimulation, and one can understand the complexities that female orgasm presents.

One way to make better sense of why women fake orgasms might be to understand the female sexual response cycle. While it was believed for many years that men and women’s sexual response cycles where basically the same, moving in a linear direction from sexual arousal to orgasm in three simple steps, more recent theories suggest that the female sexual response cycle is far more complex.

One theory proposes that aspects such as emotional intimacy combined with emotional and physical satisfaction all contribute to a woman’s sexual desire (Basson, 2001).

With so many contradicting theories and confusion surrounding the mystery of female sexuality and orgasm, then it becomes more understandable why it might be easier for women to fake orgasm. But at what cost? Denying your body the satisfaction of orgasm might make relationships smoother, but might also contribute to frustration in the long run. Ideally, having an honest conversation with your partner about your sex life might reap rewards. If that doesn’t work, then it might be time to consider seeing a sex therapist or relationship counsellor to facilitate an open conversation.


Basson, R. (2001). Using a different model for female sexual response to address women’s problematic low sexual desire. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 27(5), 395-403. Cooper, E. B., Fenigstein, A., & Fauber, R. L. (2014). The faking orgasm scale for women: psychometric properties. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(3), 423-435.