TAMPA, Fla. — It turns out Elaine from “Seinfeld” and Sally from “When Harry Met Sally…” aren’t the only ones who can “fake it” really well. A new study reveals women fake their orgasms to make their male partners feel more masculine during sex.
Researchers in Florida say women in relationships with men often sacrifice their own sexual behavior between the sheets in an effort to protect their partner’s perceived “fragile” manhood. Their study finds women are putting their sexual satisfaction to one side and resorting to extreme lengths to make their men feel better about themselves.
While previous research has focused on how the cultural view of masculinity affects men and their behavior, this study offers a new insight into what it’s like for women who choose to protect their partners’ sense of masculinity, perhaps at their own expense.
“Women are prioritizing what they think their partners need over their own sexual needs and satisfaction,” lead author Jessica Jordan, a doctoral student from the University of South Florida, tells SWNS in a statement.
Even money can complicate sex
After collecting data from 283 women, the researchers found that the more women saw their partner’s manhood as precarious, the more anxiety they had, which lowered their own sexual pleasure and the rate at which they orgasmed naturally.
An additional study, involving 196 women, discovered that participants who had to imagine a male partner whose manhood was “fragile” were less likely to provide honest sexual communication.
“If a woman is concerned about inadvertently threatening her partner’s manhood, that could lead to a breakdown of communication,” Jordan explains.
In a third study, the team recruited 157 women in sexual relationships with men from Facebook. They asked them to complete an anonymous survey about their sex lives. The results show that women who made more money than their partners were twice as likely to fake orgasms.
Sexual honesty is the best policy
Study authors explain that honest communication is at the center of this problem. If women have been led to believe that it is their job to protect their partner’s sense of masculinity because of the lack of sexual feedback, then it makes sense for them to do so.
Likewise, if men don’t hear that their behavior makes their partner feel like sexual feedback is not welcome, then they don’t have the opportunity to tell their partner otherwise. Jordan says future research should explore this phenomenon within couples, including men in same-sex couples.
While this study focused on how women perceive and respond to masculine insecurity, the team notes that it is important to remember that honest communication and putting the effort into understanding a partner’s sexual needs will benefit men as well.
“When society creates an impossible standard of masculinity to maintain, nobody wins,” the research team concludes.
The study is published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science.
South West News Service writer Georgia Lambert contributed to this report.