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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-988
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • interpersonal relationships
  • masturbation
  • orgasm
  • sexual satisfaction
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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