Who's More Likely to Fake It in the Bedroom?

The latest episode of Freakonomics Radio focused on the many ways in which people “fake it.” Economist Hugo M. Mialon‘s working paper sheds some additional light on one arena: the bedroom. Mialon develops a behavioral model of “faking ecstasy” and finds that “men and women who believe their partner can tell whether they are faking are less likely to fake; men and women who love their partner are more likely to fake; and men who are closer to age eighteen and women who are closer to age thirty are less likely to fake.” Mialon also finds that more-educated men and women are more likely to fake it in the bedroom (a When Harry Met Sally correlation, perhaps?).[%comments]

They were actually quite happy to do that.

How about the brokers and bankers who faked it on Wall Street?

Graham Lester

The brokers and bankers thought that their partners could not tell they were faking and this made them more likely to fake.


Ummmm...it's kind of hard for guys to fake. I guess it's theoretically possible but would require some special equipment or something.


The special equipment needed includes a light switch and a quick getaway.


Yeah, John... special equipment like a condom.


Yikes! Let me burst the bubble. Since nearly 60% of women do no have anything close to the real experience, the odds are women are more likely to fake. 100% of men do not need to fake - slowdown maybe!

Jens Fiederer

Ecstasy, not orgasm. Being more responsive than your actual level of pleasure suggests is enough for a guy to be "faking".

Even in the latter case, though, faking would be undetectable if it's not the first go (even the first doesn't always produce enough ejaculate to be clearly distinguishable from all the other fluids down there). Obviously, don't try for a facial unless you really mean it.


Can these results be interpreted to mean educated men/women make for worse lovers?


I once faked an orgasm and my partner faked the resulting pregenency and then we sent the fake baby to a fake school.


Correction: all these groups are more likely to _admit_ that they fake.

Carolynn T

Whoever feels insecure, whoever fake it. It would be disaster for both parties emotionally, psychologically and spiritually in the immediate near future if both parties fake it.


I hope people are aware that this is mostly a joke. From the acknowledgments:
"I am deeply indebted to Sue Mialon, Yoram Bauman, Dan Hamermesh, Preston McAfee, Handie Peng, Douglas Bernheim, Tyler Cowen, Steven Landsburg, Max Stinchcombe, Tom Wiseman, and seminar participants at the Humor Session of the 2010 Meeting of the American Economic Association for wonderfully helpful comments."


So you guys don't read Tim Harford's column in the FT? He quoted that part of Mialon's research six years ago, and that piece then made it into his book, Dear Undercover Economist.

martin braun

If women would explain sex realistically to their daughters, there might be less of a an attitude that it is some sort of "mystical and ecstatic experience". I spent half my time in bed with girls and young women trying to explain that they had to participate in the act, not be it's target.
The unfortunate reality that reflects so badly on men and especially on young boys, is that girls and young women before age 30, have no idea what to do once their clothes are off. It is as if they believe in magic or sexual transubstantiation.
I knew one girl who absolutely finished me with the age group( younger than 20), by having an implicit attitude that I was supposed to perform magic when the lights went out and she needed only lie on her back and take direction.
Ladies,(and especially young ladies): please go read some porn. "Play with yourselves", watch what your men do, ask for help,(no whipped cream, ever!It will destroy a relationship. Keep food in the kitchen.) and don't be afraid of asking your man to tie you up and let you read or listen to something like "The Story of O". If you think the missionary position is the end-all of sex, it will be.
And finally: simultaneous orgasm is a fallacy that has probably ruined more relationships than any amount of cheating spouses or lovers.


Melvin D Melmac, Poughkeepsie, NY

I, personally, like to make it in a way that cannot be faked.


@14: Martin, considering that you believe women should learn how to make sex from their mothers, it is pretty obvious that you got your own sex education from porn movies. Talk about realistic explanations.


Does fake it in the bedroom in any way or shape contribute to "The Acquisition of Taste" to the mate or self!?