Skip to main content
Log in

Development and Validation of the Pretending Orgasm Reasons Measure

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Archives of Sexual Behavior Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Pretending orgasm is a widespread phenomenon, reported by both men and women. We report here on the development of a new measure to assess reasons for pretending. In three studies, using large diverse samples, we obtained a comprehensive list of reasons for pretending orgasms (Study 1; N = 46) and conducted both exploratory (Study 2; N = 416) and confirmatory (Study 3; N = 1010) factor analyses identifying six reasons for pretending an orgasm: feels good, for partner, not into sex, manipulation/power, insecurity, and emotional communication. Sexual dysfunction was correlated with frequency of pretending orgasms for reasons such as insecure, not into sex, for partner, and emotional communication. Usefulness for future research and clinical implications are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. Participants were excluded from the study for the following reasons: three due to being under 18, 14 for English not being their native language, two for denying pretending orgasm, two for zero sexual experience, and 74 for failing four or more of 11 attention checks.

  2. Eighty-seven participants were excluded due to being under 18, 63 for English not being their native language, and 1453 for 40% or more of their answers being missing.

References

  • Bentler, P. M., & Kano, Y. (1990). On the equivalence of factors and components. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25, 67–74. doi:10.1207/s15327906mbr2501_8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Birnbaum, G. E. (2007). Attachment orientations, sexual functioning, and relationship satisfaction in a community sample of women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 21–35. doi:10.1177/0265407507072576.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss (Vol. 1): Attachment. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28, 759–775. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.28.5.759.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brewer, G., & Hendrie, C. A. (2011). Evidence to suggest that copulatory vocalizations in women are not a reflexive consequence of orgasm. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 559–564. doi:10.1007/s10508-010-9632-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bryan, T. S. (2001). Pretending to experience orgasm as a communicative act: How, when, and why some sexually experienced college women pretend to experience orgasm during various sexual behaviors. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, p. 2049.

  • Cole, T. (2001). Lying to the one you love: The use of deception in romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18, 107–129. doi:10.1177/0265407501181005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, E. B., Fenigstein, A., & Fauber, R. L. (2014). The Faking Orgasm Scale for Women: Psychometric propertiesArchives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 423–435. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0212-z.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Darling, C. A., & Davidson, J. K. (1986). Enhancing relationships: Understanding the feminine mystique of pretending orgasm. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 12, 182–196. doi:10.1080/00926238608415405.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Davidson, K., & MacGregor, M. W. (1998). A critical appraisal of self-report defense mechanism measures. Journal of Personality, 66, 965–992. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.00039.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davis, D., Shaver, P. R., & Vernon, M. L. (2004). Attachment style and subjective motivations for sex. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1076–1090. doi:10.1177/0146167204264794.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Everett, C. C. (1891). Ethics for young people. Boston, MA: Ginn & Company.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., MacCallum, R. C., & Strahan, E. J. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. Psychological Methods, 4, 272–299. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.4.3.272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gosling, S. D., Sandy, C. J., John, O. P., & Potter, J. (2010). Wired but not WEIRD: The promise of the Internet in reaching more diverse samples. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 94–95. doi:10.1017/S0140525X10000300.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Griffin, C., & Phoenix, A. (1994). The relationship between qualitative and quantitative research: Lessons from feminist psychology. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 4, 287–298. doi:10.1002/casp.2450040408.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, C. A., & Preston, L. K. (1996). Individual differences in the experience of sexual motivation: Theory and measurement of dispositional sexual motives. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 27–45. doi:10.1080/00224499609551812.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hite, S. (1976). The Hite report: A nationwide study on female sexuality. Oxford: Macmillan, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoyle, R. H., & Panter, A. T. (1995). Writing about structural equation models. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues, and applications (pp. 158–176). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1995). Evaluating model fit. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues, and applications (pp. 76–99). Thousand Saks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hurlbert, D. F., White, L. C., Powell, R. D., & Apt, C. (1993). Orgasm consistency training in the treatment of women reporting hypoactive sexual desire: An outcome comparison of women-only groups and couples-only groups. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 24, 3–13. doi:10.1016/0005-7916(93)90003-F.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, S. M. (1996). The practice of emotionally focused couples therapy: Creating connection. Philadelphia: Brunner-Mazel.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T. K., & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (2011). Do women pretend orgasm to retain a mate? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 1121–1125. doi:10.1007/s10508-011-9874-6.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Loehlin, J. C. (1990). Component analysis versus common factor analysis: A case of disputed authorship. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25, 29–31. doi:10.1207/s15327906mbr2501_2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • MacCallum, R. C., Widaman, K. F., Zhang, S., & Hong, S. (1999). Sample size in factor analysis. Psychological Methods, 4, 84–99. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.4.1.84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCormick, N. B. (2010). Sexual scripts: Social and therapeutic implications. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 25, 96–120. doi:10.1080/14681990903550167.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCoy, M. G., Welling, L. L., & Shackelford, T. K. (2015). Development and initial psychometric assessment of the Reasons for Pretending Orgasm Inventory. Evolutionary Psychology, 13, 129–139. doi:10.1177/147470491501300108.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McGahuey, C. A., Gelenberg, A. J., Laukes, C. A., Moreno, F. A., Delgado, P. L., McKnight, K. M., & Manber, R. (2000). The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX): Reliability and validity. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 26, 25–40. doi:10.1080/009262300278623.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 477–507. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9175-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1995). A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: Reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure. Psychological Review, 102, 246–268. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.102.2.246.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Muehlenhard, C. L., & Shippee, S. K. (2010). Men’s and women’s reports of pretending orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47, 552–567. doi:10.1080/00224490903171794.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2010). Mplus (version 6). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

    Google Scholar 

  • Opperman, E., Braun, V., Clarke, V., & Rogers, C. (2014). “It feels so good it almost hurts”: Young adults’ experiences of orgasm and sexual pleasure. Journal of Sex Research, 51, 503–515. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.753982.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Park, H. S., Dailey, R., & Lemus, D. (2002). The use of exploratory factor analysis and principal components analysis in communication research. Human Communication Research, 28, 562–577. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2002.tb00824.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rudy, R. M., Popova, L., & Linz, D. G. (2010). The context of current content analysis of gender roles: An introduction to a special issue. Sex Roles, 62, 705–720. doi:10.1007/s11199-010-9807-1.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Rundle-Thiele, S. (2009). Bridging the gap between claimed and actual behaviour: The role of observational research. Qualitative Market Research, 12, 295–306. doi:10.1108/13522750910963818.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Salisbury, C. M., & Fisher, W. A. (2014). “Did you come?” A qualitative exploration of gender differences in beliefs, experiences, and concerns regarding female orgasm occurrence during heterosexual sexual interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51, 616–631. doi:10.1080/00224499.2013.838934.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Saris, W. E., Revilla, M., Krosnick, J. A., & Shaeffer, E. M. (2010). Comparing questions with agree/disagree response options to questions with item-specific response options. Survey Research Methods, 4, 61–79.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schachner, D. A., & Shaver, P. R. (2004). Attachment dimensions and sexual motives. Personal Relationships, 11, 179–195. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2004.00077.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schaefer, L. C. (1973). Women and sex: Sexual experiences and reactions of a group of thirty women as told to a female psychotherapist. Oxford: Pantheon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schreiber, J. B., Nora, A., Stage, F. K., Barlow, E. A., & King, J. (2006). Reporting structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis results: A review. Journal of Educational Research, 99, 323–338. doi:10.3200/JOER.99.6.323-338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Séguin, L. J., Milhausen, R. R., & Kukkonen, T. (2015). The development and validation of the Motives for Feigning Orgasms Scale. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24, 31–48. doi:10.3138/cjhs.2613.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steiner, A. E. (1981). Pretending orgasm by men and women: An aspect of communication in relationships. Dissertation Abstracts International, p. 2553.

  • Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tolman, D. L., Striepe, M. I., & Harmon, T. (2003). Gender matters: Constructing a model of adolescent sexual health. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 4–12. doi:10.1080/00224490309552162.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wiederman, M. W. (1997). Pretending orgasm during sexual intercourse: Correlates in a sample of young adult women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 23, 131–139. doi:10.1080/00926239708405314.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Danya L. Goodman.

Ethics declarations

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.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 7.

Table 7 Content analysis of qualitative responses

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Goodman, D.L., Gillath, O. & Haj-Mohamadi, P. Development and Validation of the Pretending Orgasm Reasons Measure . Arch Sex Behav 46, 1973–1991 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0928-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0928-7

Keywords

Navigation