When talking about troubling sexual encounters some women mention faking sexual pleasure to speed up their male partner's orgasm and ultimately end sex.
This is one of the findings of a qualitative study by Emily Thomas (Ryerson University, Canada) Monika Stelzl, Michelle Lafrance (St. Thomas University, Canada) that will be presented today, Friday 8 July 2016, at the British Psychological Society's Psychology of Women annual conference in Windsor.
Emily said: "While some women spoke about faking orgasm in positive ways, for instance, as a pleasurable experience that heightened their own arousal, many talked about feigning pleasure in the context of unwanted and unpleasurable sexual experiences. Within these accounts, we were struck by the degree to which women were connecting the practice of faking orgasm to accounts of unwanted sex."
In the study 15 women (aged 19 -28) who had been sexually active for at least one year were interviewed to talk about experiences of feigning sexual pleasure. Despite being recruited to talk about consensual sex, all women spoke explicitly of a problematic sexual experience. Interviews were analysed to explore how these women negotiate and account for experiences of problem sex in the context of exaggerating sexual pleasure and faking orgasm.
Analysis showed that the women never used terms such as rape and coercion to refer to their own experiences - despite their descriptions of events that could be categorised as such. Instead, women described their experiences of unwanted sex in indirect ways. For example, women used the term 'bad' to describe sex that was both unwanted and unpleasurable.
The women spoke of faking orgasm as a means to ending these troubling sexual encounters. In other words, faking orgasm provided a solution for ending sex where, culturally, not many options are available.
""It appears that faking orgasm is both problematic and helpful at the same time. On one level faking an orgasm may be a useful strategy as it affords some control over ending a sexual encounter. We are not criticizing faking practice on an individual level. We want to focus on the problems with our current lack of available language to describe women's experiences that acknowledges, names and confronts the issues women spoke of in our interviews."