New research points out that men tie their perceived masculinity to being able to make women orgasm. The study linked women's pleasure during sexual intercourse with their partners' self-perception.
The research was published in The Journal of Sex Research. It provides scientific data that men believe their partners' orgasms are considered to be a masculinity achievement.
Women's Orgasms Make Men Feel Manlier
As part of the study, researchers asked 810 males with a median age of 25 to read a short scene about a fictional sexual encounter they have with an attractive woman. During the intercourse, she either does or does not orgasm. The subjects were then asked to rate their sexual self-esteem and how masculine they felt after each of the two possible results.
The results of the study showed that men who imagined that the fictional woman had achieved orgasm felt more masculine and reported a better self-esteem compared to their counterparts. Additionally, the researchers noted that males who had a high masculine gender role stress were even more likely to rate their self-esteem in strong connection to their fictional sexual performance.
"These results suggest that women's orgasms do function-at least in part-as a masculinity achievement for men," noted Sari van Anders and Sara Chadwick of the University of Michigan, authors of the study.
Additionally, the authors wrote that this competitive manner of understanding sex can make men feel an unnecessary pressure when it comes to performing sexually. Thus, heterosexual males would feel as if they had to make their partners achieve orgasm, making women "passive recipients" of the sexual act.
"Men who have sex with women clearly have a stake in women's orgasms. But, some of the ways that heterosexuality are playing out seem to be that, for some men, their interest in women's orgasms is not really about women's pleasure," noted the study authors.
Researchers also provided an explanation of why women sometimes fake orgasms, based on previous research. The reason for their behavior is out of concern for men's feelings, as they can be very sensitive when it comes to this matter.
Women's Pleasure, An Ego Boost For Heterosexual Men
At the same time, the research also stated that men describe their sexual encounters during which women don't achieve orgasm as disappointing.
According to another study, men are also reluctant when it comes to using a vibrator, which shows that their true concern is not about pleasuring women in itself but about their role in doing so.
"Results indicated that, for both male and female participants, the most common concern regarding lack of female orgasm in a partnered context focused on the negative impact this might have on the male partner's ego," noted the research, published in the Journal Of Sex Research in 2014.
A limitation of the current study is that it was carried out exclusively on heterosexual men. Therefore, the authors couldn't assess whether the ego boost associated with the partner's orgasm was a gender specific response or whether it is also applied when it comes to gay couples. Future research will focus on these differences in order to better examine and isolate the source of orgasm-driven self-perception.