Why women moan during sex
March 8th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Why women moan during sex

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

All you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of female orgasm on screen to get an idea of how a woman is “supposed” to react during sex.

From "When Harry Met Sally" to "Sex and the City" to your basic porn film, women in the throes of passion aren’t just shouting their ecstasy from the rooftops - they’re moaning with pleasure. Loudly.

But is this just cinematic license, or is there really something to noisy sex?

Experts wondered the same thing. Last year, Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds published their research on the topic - technically known as “copulatory vocalization” - in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. In the study, they asked 71 sexually active heterosexual women between ages 18 and 48 for more details about vocalization during sex.

The researchers found that many of the women did make noise, but not necessarily while they were having an orgasm. Instead, 66% said that they moaned to speed up their partner’s climax, and 87% stated that they vocalized during sex to boost his self-esteem.

Are female orgasms really just a 'bonus'?

“While female orgasms were most commonly experienced during foreplay, copulatory vocalizations were reported to be made most often before and simultaneously with male ejaculation,” write the researchers. Women also reported making noise to relieve boredom, fatigue and pain/discomfort during sex.

So is female vocalization during sex just a performance for a guy’s benefit? (After all, Meg Ryan’s over-the-top moans were meant to prove a point to “Harry” that men are easily duped by a fake orgasm.)

“There isn’t a lot of research in this area,” says Kristen Mark, a sexuality researcher at Indiana University, “but we’re bombarded with images through mainstream media that tell us moaning is associated with orgasm and sexual pleasure. So it would be a fairly wise faking strategy to moan since men already tend to associate moaning with orgasm.”

Of course, there’s nothing smart about faking it.

“If you’re faking an orgasm, you are signaling to your partner that he is doing everything right, when in fact he isn’t,” says sex educator and author Patty Brisben. “Use moaning as a way of signaling that you are excited and things really are feeling good, not as a way to hide that they aren’t.”

Fake or not, women aren’t the only primates who vocalize during sex. Research in the animal kingdom reveals that female baboons, for example, have a variety of copulation calls, which appear to relate to their fertility: The vocalizations tend to become more complex when the females are closer to ovulation, and also vary when a female is mating with a higher-ranked male baboon. And female macaque monkeys give a shout to help trigger their mates’ orgasm, too.

Performances and primatologists aside, vocalizing during sex can actually be a great tool to help women get what they want in bed. As I discussed in my column a couple of weeks ago on the topic of talking about sex, it isn’t always easy to translate sexual thought into action, so a little strategic moaning can definitely help get the point across.

“Women are learning to take responsibility for their own sexual needs and wants in the bedroom,” explains Brisben. “We need to take this one step further and give ourselves permission to become teachers. Use vocalization to teach your partner what feels good. It can help you say, 'stop, go, yes, more please' - without sounding like a traffic cop.”

And when it comes to noise, “partner benefit isn’t the only piece of the puzzle,” says Kristen Mark. “Perhaps making noise turns some women on and helps them experience pleasure.”

Brisben concurs: “I think there are many women who need to be vocal to help themselves achieve orgasm - it helps move them and their orgasm along. There are certainly phases. As a woman gets into it, she may become extremely vocal, and then move into a period of quiet as she is on the verge.”

So do what feels right to you. Any other benefits are just a great bonus. And when it comes to “copulatory vocalization,” perhaps men should take a lesson from the ladies.

“Women understand that moaning is a turn-on for guys, and many women ultimately enjoy it because they’ve made an effort to push a little beyond what comes naturally," says Logan Levkoff, a sex educator and author of a guide for men entitled "How To Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You."

"But sexual self-esteem is a two-way street, and, for their part during sex, guys should aim for more than a single grunt at the end. It’s not about faking or doing something you don’t want to, but more about being sexually present and in sync with each other.”

So let’s all make some noise.

soundoff (426 Responses)
  1. Toyota Jakarta

    It’s an remarkable article for all the online visitors


    May 28, 2017 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sassy

    I have used a moan to spend things along during boring sex, but if it's amazing sex, I can't stop myself from moaning out, even screaming. And why I moan right before a man's climax, he usually get a little rougher and more focused and harder right before, and it feels amazing. Woman don't moan only for an orgasm, we moan and even scream because sex is a sensory overload not just because of an orgasm. Self pleasure orgasms aren't near as intense or as satisfying even though it's easier to orgasms by yourself because there's no pressure and you're not worrying that he thinks you thighs are to fat or your boobs are too small, etc. If you guys haven't figured out if she's faking or not, take her to a busy cheap hotel that you can hear though the walls or any other awkward situation and tell her to be quiet. If she can easily, then step it up a notch or 2 until you have to keep reminding her to hush!

    July 11, 2017 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. B

    I just want to say that every woman has a different personality but the reasons for moaning are all of the above and maybe more. If a woman is moaning based on my own experiences it is usually to intensify an orgasm. Like if you are mounted on your lover and you get the perfect sensation it brings you to feel like moaning and it intensifies the already good sensation. Another reason is because you are being completely dominated during sex and you can not escape the erotic feeling that it makes you moan very intensely and with out control the best sex ever in my opinion.

    July 24, 2017 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Tayna

    Thank you for some other great post. Where else could anyone get that type of info in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such info.


    August 22, 2017 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jesse Grillo

    Are there other write ups you work on? I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further article thank you once again.


    August 30, 2017 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jesse Grillo

    I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further blog post thank you once again. I simply have to tell you that I really love your write ups blog.

    https://static.medium.com/embed.jsView profile at Medium.com

    September 4, 2017 at 05:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. investor adviser

    When I turned on my browser this site was running. I bet you do crossword puzzles in ink. I wants to be a teacher in this topic someday. Well written! You are my savior.


    September 4, 2017 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. press release

    You remind me of my roomate back in Kentucky. My moms trying to learn more about this issue. I have added your website to my LinkedIn That is the thinking of a creative mind.


    September 5, 2017 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. best shoe shopping websites

    Your boots will need to be in a traditional color such as darkish brown or black.|It is not great to restrict your self to 1 kind of shoes. Most men put on D-width footwear while women put on B-width footwear. Such a problem varies from 1 manufacture to an additional.|It is following all the major supply of earnings for the biggest lookup engines these days. There are brands which display their products online. You can avoid such a scenario by getting a pair of shoes on-line.|This is definitely extremely simple and it is very handy too. The biggest advantage of shopping online is that you can see a broad variety of items from your house. Vimax tablets can be discovered on amazon marketplace.|People who promote Vigrx Furthermore more than there are mere people. Also, services like Paypal can make sure that your shoe buy is secure. It counters the problem by supplying them with great shock absorption during strides.|To produce a good impression in 1 shot, one has to know well how to have their charisma of attracting other people. It is the greatest technologies in shoes factories. Online sale offers the very best shoes accessories and shoes.|This period only rajon rondo experienced also do five video games helps sixty nine times.


    September 14, 2017 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. fake van cleef alhambra mother of pearl necklace

    Thank you Jamie. They’re beautiful and you have wonderful ideas!
    fake van cleef alhambra mother of pearl necklace http://www.b1zo.com/category/replica-van-cleef-and-arpels-necklace/

    November 14, 2017 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. adira

    intext:"You understand, many persons are hunting around for this information”
    bandar judi online indonesia

    December 15, 2017 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.