One of the eternal mysteries appears closer to being solved.According to a new study by Farnaz Kaighobadi of Columbia, the main reason that so many women fake orgasms–50%-60% of women, according to prior research–is as a “mate retention tactic.”
Specifically, women are more likely to fake orgasms when “the perceived risk of partner infidelity is higher.” In other words, when the women think their man is about to jump someone else.
Now, you might think that the reason a woman would fake an orgasm as a “mate-retention tactic” is that men get a huge ego kick when they think that they’re driving their woman bananas–and that they’ll therefore stick around just to feel awesome about themselves.
But that’s actually not it.
The reason faking orgasms works as a mate-retention tactic, reports Kaighobadi, is that women may be trying to “manipulate their partner’s commitment by signaling mate-selection.”
In other words, the woman’s (fake) orgasm tells the man that the woman thinks he has “good genes” and is really into him, and this supposedly makes the man more likely to remain really into the woman (i.e., stay faithful).
Sounds like a stretch.
But the results of Kaighobadi’s survey appear to bear the theory out.
Of course, Kaighobadi concedes that this is not the ONLY reason women fake orgasms:
In other words, higher perceived risk of partner infidelity risk is not the only predictor of pretending orgasm. Women sometimes engage in such behaviours to emphasise love and care. Because men are attentive and interested in a female partner’s orgasm, women may pretend orgasm to keep their partner happy. Darling and Davidson (1986) asked participants open-ended questions regarding pretending orgasm; the primary response by 51% of women who pretended orgasm was “feel guilty, but it is important to satisfy my partner” (p. 192).
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