Study: Women Who Make More Money Fake It More in Bed
We all know money is power, and power shouldn't equate to faking an orgasm, right? Well, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, 157 women in heterosexual relationships did just that.
"Faking orgasms is a common practice that many of us have learned or even perfected while navigating sexual experiences," said Rebecca Alvarez, an Oakland, California-based sexologist and founder of Bloomi, an intimate care product line.
Alvarez said women may fake orgasms for many reasons, including differences in financial status.
To boost their partner's ego
Women who earn more money than their partner may fake it to try to protect their partner's ego and sense of masculinity.
"Men who earn less than their female partner are more likely to feel insecure due to the societal pressures they receive when it comes to financial stability," Alvarez said. "As a result, women may feel compelled to help alleviate these insecurities by faking an orgasm to help boost their confidence."
This is precisely the case for Alina, 21, a virtual assistant based in the Philippines who fakes orgasms for her currently unemployed partner and requested her full name not be used.
"I [fake] because it makes him feel good," she said. "I think it really gives him the boost in his ego that he needs."
Overall, Alina feels she and her partner's earning differences have affected the relationship's dynamic, making her feel like the more dominant one.
"That's why I feel like I need to give him a sense of control, so he can feel like he's also heard and has power in the relationship," she said.
To avoid conflict
When Alina doesn't fake orgasms, she said she can tell that her partner feels upset because he couldn't satisfy her, although he doesn't communicate it directly. Faking orgasms is Alina's way of sparing her partner's feelings and avoiding conflict, which Alvarez said is another common reason women fake orgasms.
"Sexual communication is something that many of us have not learned, therefore, are not comfortable with," Alvarez said. "Giving and receiving sexual feedback is vital to any relationship. However, it's completely valid to want to avoid these conversations based on the fear that it may turn into an argument or potentially lead to a permanent shift in the relationship."
To speed things up
Another possible reason to fake it is to simply help the sex end faster.
"People often report faking an orgasm out of exhaustion or lack of arousal," Alvarez said. "Women who make more money than their partner may be experiencing higher levels of professional stress, which can directly impact their sex life. When the body is stressed, it releases higher amounts of cortisol [stress hormones] which suppress our feel-good sex hormones like dopamine or oxytocin, making it less likely to feel completely aroused."
In fact, Alina has experienced more stress with her current relationship shift.
"It's been kind of straining on me to always have to be there constantly since he's not really doing anything, and he constantly needs attention," she said. "That's really drained me in the relationship."
Furthermore, Alina feels that her partner finding employment may positively shift the relationship's dynamic. As he steps into his power and gains a sense of control over his life, she feels the energy will spill over into their relationship and sex life, equating to greater sexual satisfaction and real orgasms.
How faking orgasms affects the relationship
While faking orgasms can feel harmless at the time, Alvarez said it could negatively affect the relationship in the long term. For instance, when women fake orgasms, they may be sacrificing their own sexual satisfaction while prioritizing their partner's needs, which can build resentment toward their partner.
"Lack of sexual satisfaction over time can cause feelings of resentment and frustration between partners," Alvarez said. "If one partner is receiving more pleasure than the other, it may cause tension and create a disconnect that could potentially impact other areas of the relationship."
Alvarez added that faking orgasms can also impact a woman's relationship with her own body and self-pleasure.
"When we allow our partners to have full control over making us orgasm, this not only puts pressure on them, but it also ignores the opportunity to further explore what your body likes and doesn't like when it comes to sex," Alvarez said. "Moreover, equating orgasm with a negative sexual experience with a specific partner can impact your ability to orgasm when pleasuring yourself or with a different partner."
Despite the potential adverse effects faking orgasms can have on a relationship, Alvarez noted that faking it does have some benefits and doesn't always equate to decreased sexual satisfaction.
"Some women fake orgasms because they find it to be arousing," Alvarez said. "According to a survey, women reported that they've faked orgasms to increase excitement or turn themselves on during sex."
To overcome the need to fake it in bed, Alvarez said improving communication is key.
"If you don't already, try scheduling one night out of the week to sit down with your partner and talk about how your sex life is going," she said. "Use this check-in to be honest and address the fact that you've been faking orgasms."
These honest conversations, she said, help build trust and intimacy, and can also guide you to better understand how faking orgasms is affecting the relationship and maybe even translating into other nonsexual areas.