Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 2419–2433 | Cite as

Beliefs About Gender Predict Faking Orgasm in Heterosexual Women

  • Emily A. HarrisEmail author
  • Matthew J. Hornsey
  • Hannah F. Larsen
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
Original Paper


The majority of women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. In the current study, we assessed how women’s worldviews about gender relate to their faking orgasm behavior. A survey of 462 heterosexual women from the UK (Mage=38.38 years) found that those who espoused anti-feminist values—that is, those high in hostile sexism—had faked significantly more orgasms over their lifetime. In contrast, those who espoused ostensibly positive but restrictive ideas of gender relations—that is, those high in benevolent sexism—had faked significantly fewer orgasms over their lifetime. Furthermore, the more that women believed female orgasm was necessary for men’s sexual gratification, the more likely they were to have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives compared to women who had never faked an orgasm. These effects were small to moderate and emerged after controlling for demographics, sexual history, ease of orgasm, and previously established psychological correlates of faking orgasm, including suspected partner infidelity and intrasexual competition.


Faking orgasm Ideology Hostile sexism Benevolent sexism Gender 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest to report for this study.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyQueens UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.School of BusinessUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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