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Men fake orgasms too

January 17th, 2005

Dr Petra

We all know women are famous for faking orgasms, but apart from therapists and sex researchers, many people remain unaware that men also fake.

This issue has been explored in a number of reputable studies. However, it has hit the headlines with a vengeance today, in order to promote a UK television programme’s ‘sex week’.

Why do men fake orgasms?
Like women, men fake because they may feel under pressure to perform, or don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings. In some cases where they have a problem with ejaculation, they may fake so their partner doesn’t find out they can’t come.

It’s often more of an acute problem for men, since male sexuality is often tied up with sexual performance. Guys feel they have to come in order to prove they’re a man, and anecdotal evidence suggests gay guys may feel under even more pressure than straight guys.

Men are also less likely to admit to having a sexual problem, and their fear that they’re the only guy who fakes means they keep their problem a secret.

Should I be worried?
Most men find it difficult to orgasm on occasion. This could be due to tiredness, stress, prescription medication, or feeling aroused – but not enough to orgasm. Occasionally feeling like you can’t come is nothing to worry about – and is very common. In situations where there are relationship difficulties, orgasm may remain elusive, and in some cases psychosexual or medical problems can interfere with your ability to come. Find out more here

What can I do about it?
If it’s an occasional difficulty, don’t worry. Rather than putting yourself in the position where you feel you have to fake, you can ask your partner for a cuddle, say you’re tired, or just say you want to try later.

Explain you’re just not able to come right now (you can even make a joke about your body letting you down). Or you can simply carry on giving them pleasure. And remember there’s no law that says sex has to end in orgasm.

Remember to reassure your partner so they understand it’s not their fault – it’s just one of those things that happens to guys or gals on occasion. They may feel relieved that they don’t have to try for an orgasm each time you have sex either!

If you are finding it difficult to come when you have sex or masturbate (either on your own or with a partner), and this repeatedly happens over time, think about what could be causing the problem. If it’s difficulties in your relationship then a relationship therapist may be able to help.
If you feel it’s down to worries or fears about sex or your body, then a psychosexual specialist can help.

It’s also worth getting a general health MOT from your doctor – they can rule out there’s no physical cause to your problem, and refer you to a psychosexual therapist if appropriate (this is usually free on the NHS, although is dependent on your problem, and there may well be a long waiting list – you may prefer to go private).
Finally, the Sexual Dysfunction Association has trained staff you can talk to in confidence.

I think my partner fakes, how can I help?
First off, don’t take it personally. They’re probably trying to either impress you, or not hurt your feelings. You’ve probably faked or felt like faking on occasion, so you’ll know how it feels and understand why you do it. Include cuddles, touching, and non-penetrative sex. Use sex toys or masturbate in front of them if you feel it will turn them on and not be threatening.

If it’s an occasional problem, then understand it’s just something guys go through. If it seems to be happening frequently, the help sources in the section above may be useful. If you are really concerned, particularly if they are having other health problems, get them to visit their GP.

Questions this research raises
This is the kind of ‘research’ that gives sex researchers palpitations. It isn’t really ‘research’ at all. It’s a marketing ploy. So what’s wrong with it?

IT DISREGARDS EXISTING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
For a reputable sex survey to be completed, one should base it on existing evidence – and use available information rather than repeating it. Examples of the This Morning sex ‘survey’ are below. There’s some really good, robust national data from scientific on these topics, which could have been used to inform the programme in a more accurate manner.

Here’s an extract from the “This Morning” website…

“Have you ever been unfaithful?
Have you ever paid for sex?
At what age did you feel you had the most satisfying sex?
How many sexual partners have you had in your life?
On average, how often do you have sex?
How often do you masturbate?
Have you ever faked an orgasm?
The results of these, and other questions, will be used throughout Sex Week to enhance our discussions”

PARTICIPANTS WEREN’T ADEQUATELY PROTECTED
In reputable sex research, a group of trained researchers are granted ethical approval by a board of experts to ask personal questions of the public. They can only proceed with this approval, and even then are unlikely to be allowed to cold-call people and ask them sensitive questions like those above.

A polling company, who, with respect are not trained to conduct sensitive research of this nature, completed this study in a short time. Anyone who was upset, had further questions, or needed advice would not have been offered the care or support that they would receive in a reputable sexual health study.

IT DOESN’T REPRESENT MEN
Actually, it doesn’t represent anyone. Basically it represents people who, when called out of the blue, tell the unknown person at the other end of the line how often they masturbate, whether they fake orgasm, and if they’ve been unfaithful. Sound like you? No, thought not.

DATA WAS “FISHED” TO MAKE A GOOD HEADLINE
When research is completed, it is up to those completing it to make their data available. Significant or interesting results are of course flagged up. However, in this case, the findings that were most likely to grab the public’s attention – men fake orgasms – were picked out. Other data in this ‘survey’ may have been just as interesting, but weren’t included. You have to ask yourself why.

THERE WAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE RESEARCH
When a person, group, or organisation are likely to benefit in some way from publishing their research, they’re supposed to declare this conflict of interest. If a programme is likely to get more publicity and more viewers, then this could constitute a conflict of interest.

IT DIDN’T INCLUDE A QUALITATIVE COMPONENT
Most contemporary sex research recommends that we can’t uncover complex issues like sexual behaviour from questionnaires alone. This ‘research’ did not include qualitative, in-depth interviews with participants – meaning we only have half the information needed to discuss sexual issues.

One of the programme’s presenters has argued in the press “During sex week we’ll uncover the real truth about sex in Britain, celebrate it and talk sex.” However, they haven’t uncovered the truth about sex in Britain if their programme isn’t based on existing, quality information, or fronted by an experienced sex researcher or therapist.

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