Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: Clinical



First Advisor

Theresa Martin

Second Advisor

Russell Kolts

Third Advisor

Tracey McHenry


An article in popular women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan, recently revealed a startling admission from its readers: 86% of respondents reported pretending orgasm during intercourse with a partner (Kylstra, 2011). Despite its apparent frequency, there is yet to be a study conducted investigating the relationship between pretending orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction (Ippolito, 2012). Sexual satisfaction is linked with important facets of life such as overall relationship satisfaction and general wellbeing. The present study examines the relationship between experiencing orgasm, pretending orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction. Participants were Eastern Washington University college students recruited via an online survey website (Qualtrics), and who completed the Pinney Sexual Satisfaction Inventory (Pinney, Gerrard & Denney, 1987) via the Sona Research Management System online. Questions regarding sexual practices, frequencies of sexual behaviors, relationship status and finally, frequency of and reasons for pretending orgasm were also included in the online survey. It was hypothesized that pretending orgasm would be negatively correlated with overall sexual satisfaction, and that experiencing orgasm would be positively correlated with overall sexual satisfaction. Results from the study supported both hypotheses. Some additional significant findings regarding relationship status and pretending orgasm as well as partner satisfaction and gender differences were also observed.