Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cult Health Sex. 2014;16(8):974-88. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.924557. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Coming to power: women's fake orgasms and best orgasm experiences illuminate the failures of (hetero)sex and the pleasures of connection.

Author information

  • 1a Women and Gender Studies Program, Arizona State University , Glendale , CA , USA.


While some literature has explored women's sexual satisfaction and, to a lesser degree, women's faking orgasm experiences, little research has examined the context and conditions around women's best and most memorable orgasms. This paper utilised thematic analysis of qualitative data from a community sample of 20 women in the USA (mean age = 34 years, SD = 13.35 years) from a wide range of racial, socioeconomic, and sexual identity backgrounds to illuminate their experiences with fake or pretend orgasms, and with their best orgasms. While faking orgasm narratives reflected themes of wanting to reinforce a partner's sexual skills, strategically ending sexual interactions, and suppressing feelings of abnormality and shame, best orgasm experiences showcased the power of interpersonal connection, the joys of masturbation and other non-penile-vaginal intercourse behaviours, and the significance of 'transformative embodiment'. Implications for the relative failures of (hetero)sex, particularly in the context of gendered power imbalances, along with the importance of deconstructing the sexually 'functional' or 'dysfunctional' woman are explored.


interpersonal relationships; masturbation; orgasm; sexual satisfaction; women

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk