The Top 5 Reasons People Fake Orgasms, New Study Says

Two out of five people reported faking it in bed.

The fake orgasm isn't just a rom-com plot device. In fact, more than two in five people have admitted to faking an orgasm in real life, according to a new study conducted by the health research firm Innerbody Research. To quote a certain Meg Ryan icon, "You do the math."

For its study, Innerbody surveyed more than 1,110 adults across generations (Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z) and relationship statuses (married, dating, and single). The results broadly affirmed the "orgasm gap": 45 percent of women said they have faked an orgasm, while 38 percent of men said they have. There was a generational split among respondents as well: 48 percent of Millennials said they've faked it in the bedroom, a figure that came in at just 27 percent and 20 percent for Gen X and Gen Z respectively.

People cited a wide range of reasons—all stuff you'd expect, like the bad breath of a partner, poor room lighting, uncomfortable room temperature, substance consumption, or the particular sex position—as to why they sometimes can't achieve an orgasm. But the rationale behind why people decided to fake it turned out to be a bit more varied. Here are the top five reasons why people fake orgasms.

RELATED: The Biggest Lie All Couples Say About Their Sex Lives, According to a Marriage Counselor.

1
"Wanted it to be over"

Someone puts on a shirt on the side of a bed.
Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

Both men and women cited "wanted [sex] to be over" as the top reason for faking an orgasm. The percentage breakdown among genders was roughly at parity as well: 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women said it was their top reason.

This tracks with other reporting from the broader scientific community. A 2019 study published in Personality and Individual Differences concluded that "avoidance" was one of the most common general reasons people choose to fake orgasms.

2
"Didn't want to hurt the other person's feelings"

Young couple man and woman intimate relationship on bed feet
iStock

Men and women were aligned in citing the second-most common reason people fake orgasms, with both male and female respondents putting "Didn't want to hurt the other person's feelings" in the number-two slot.

Women were slightly more considerate of their partner's feelings than men, though; 21 percent of women cited this as the reason they faked an orgasm, while just 15 percent of men did.

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3
"Fake it till you make it"

woman gripping the sheets during orgasm
Shutterstock / Aloha Hawaii

After the top two reasons people fake orgasms, the justifications start to diverge among genders. The third-most common reason women have faked an orgasm ("Fake it till you make it") was the fourth-most common reason cited among men. That said, a higher percentage of men (14 percent) listed this as a reason compared to women (12 percent).

4
"It's a turn-on"

couple making out in bed
Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

On the flip side of the coin, the fourth-most common reason women said they faked an orgasm ("It's a turn-on") is the third-most common reason men said they did. Roughly 10 percent of women said faking it was a turn-on. However, that figure is nearly 15 percent among men.

RELATED: 6 Tips for Ending a "Sex Drought," According to Therapists.

5
"Didn't want to explain why they couldn't orgasm"

couple having argument with each other in bedroom.
iStock

Lastly, as the fifth-most common justification for faking an orgasm, just over 9 percent of women cited "Didn't want to explain why they couldn't orgasm"—another answer that tracks with the 2019 study, indicating "avoidance" as a top reason people faked orgasms. Among men, though, the fifth-most common reason for faking an orgasm is a bit different: "Partner enjoys it."

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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