"It obviously wasn't going to happen," she shrugged casually. "So I faked it."
I looked across the table at my beautiful, confident, can-conquer-anything friend as she sipped her latte. And my mind went directly to instant replay.
I'm not judging by any means. We've all been down that road before--where we've decided to exit one or two off-ramps short of our final destination.
However, I couldn't help but wonder. In this day and age, women have won the right to vote, to burn our bras, and to climb the corporate ladder. Why do we still find it a challenge to be honest in the bedroom? And could this duplicity potentially lead us astray when looking for Mr. Right?
"Many women fake orgasms to feed men's egos in order to make them believe they're potent and powerful enough to bring them pleasure," explained Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills Relationship Psychotherapist and Co-star of Sex Box on We TV. "Many women also have a hard time asking for their needs to be met for fear a man will disapprove and reject them."
A group of psychologists at Columbia University surveyed 450 women to investigate such motives. Responses revealed that those who suspected partner infidelity were more likely to fake it between the sheets.
"Men may have co-evolved a motivation to attend to partner orgasm," F. Kaighobadi and his team wrote. "Women may pretend orgasm to manipulate their partner's commitment by signaling mate selection."
To understand this further, we first have to look at the purpose of female orgasm from an evolutionary standpoint. Although controversial and not entirely understood, there are theories that claim our orgasms may function as a way to help us weed out unsuitable partners.
According to a paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a purpose of the female orgasm could be based on what is referred to as the mate-choice hypothesis. D. A. Puts and colleagues explain that since the quality of a sexual experience can influence a woman's chance of having an orgasm, a lot may depend on a man's patience, willingness, and desire to pleasure his partner.
"It is possible that investing males are more likely to induce orgasm and orgasm bonds women to these men," the authors wrote. "Thus, female coital orgasm may function in selecting and securing a long-term investing partner." Women have also reported frequent orgasms occurring with more attentive men in relationships that included "satisfaction, intimacy, passion, and love."
"A woman has to be totally comfortable with a partner to let go and have an orgasm," Dr. Walfish stressed. "If she has an orgasm with someone, it indicates her partner has been patient and loving with her and there's a reasonable level of trust and comfort that's been established."
Female orgasm has also been noted to increase the chances of conceiving. And evolutionarily, this was key. By activating specific parts of the brain, orgasm prompts the release of hormones--like oxytocin--that not only create a chemical bond between partners, but also help sperm travel to the egg. Ancestrally, women choosing men who were willing to go the distance could also have meant increasing their odds of producing offspring with a long-term partner. Talk about natural selection at its finest.
Truth be told, we can speculate all we'd like. But we still don't know everything about why we have, or decide to fake, these delicious toe-curling sensations. But one thing is for sure--faking orgasm will guarantee not having one.
"It takes women longer to become sexually aroused to the point of orgasm--but faking orgasm cheats a woman out of a full measure of pleasure," Dr. Walfish cautioned. "It's also presenting a false self to her partner. When you're honest, you can become most vulnerable and experience, not only the pleasure of orgasm but also the warmth and openness of true intimacy. Being authentic and genuine is critical in healthy relationships."
This honesty and authenticity include, not only the orgasm itself but also, how to get you there. Just as women have different tastes in fashion, food, and people, Dr. Walfish added, so is the varying degree of sexual pleasure. "Environmental, biological, psychological, and medical factors influence our different tastes. Most women achieve orgasm by clitoral stimulation versus direct contact through vaginal intercourse with the G-spot. But everyone is different and it's important to know exactly where it feels good."
Whether it's with a spouse, a long-term companion, a new love, someone just to share a night with, or yourself--be honest and real with your body. Leave the standing O performances for the Oscars and instead show your lover who you really are.
Because who knows, maybe evolution is a girl's best friend in helping find Mr. Right...or at the very least, Mr. Right Now.