Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 1121–1125

Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate?


    • HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University
  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • Department of PsychologyOakland University
  • Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford
    • Department of PsychologyOakland University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-011-9874-6

Cite this article as:
Kaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T.K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V.A. Arch Sex Behav (2012) 41: 1121. doi:10.1007/s10508-011-9874-6


The current study tested the hypothesis that women pretend orgasm as part of a broader strategy of mate retention. We obtained self-report data from 453 heterosexual women (M age, 21.8 years) in a long-term relationship (M length, 32.8 months) drawn from universities and surrounding communities in the southeastern United States. The results indicated that (1) women who perceived higher risk of partner infidelity were more likely to report pretending orgasm, (2) women who reported greater likelihood of pretending orgasm also reported performing more mate retention behaviors, and (3) women’s perceptions of partner infidelity risk mediated the relationship between pretending orgasm and the performance of cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors, such as Intersexual Negative Inducements (“Flirted with someone in front of my partner”) and Intrasexual Negative Inducements (“Yelled at a woman who looked at my partner”). Thus, pretending orgasm may be part of a broader strategy of mate retention performed by women who perceive higher risk of partner infidelity.


Female orgasm Infidelity risk Mate retention Evolutionary psychology Sexuality

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011