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 (4,628 Responses)
  1. Sprinter Door Repair Panel


    June 4, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ecu Repair 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Van Remove Speed Limiter


    June 4, 2021 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rv repair lancaster ca

    Excellent write-up. I absolutely love this website. Continue the good work!


    June 4, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Social Media Marketing Consultants Near Me


    June 4, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Service And Repair Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. vape stores near me


    June 5, 2021 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 2008 Dodge Sprinter Exhaust Repair

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉


    June 5, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Centers Near Me

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 5, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. High Roof Sprinter Repair Panels

    I like it when folks get together and share opinions. Great site, keep it up!


    June 5, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Google Marketing Specialist


    June 5, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. safeco windshield repair


    June 5, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. aftermarket body shop near me


    June 5, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. food banks near me


    June 5, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Repair Dash Ac Vents Sprinter

    Iím amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I found this during my search for something relating to this.


    June 5, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dodge Sprinter Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Video Marketing Consultant

    Very good info. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    June 5, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sprinter Van Repair Facilities

    There's definately a great deal to find out about this issue. I like all the points you made.


    June 5, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. toy hauler california


    June 5, 2021 at 04:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sandwiches near me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 5, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. orange county car upholstery


    June 5, 2021 at 06:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Emergency Locksmith Las Vegas

    Thank You for your information. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Pressure Washing Elk Grove CA

    Thank You for your information. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Turbocharger Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. plaquenil drug

    is chloroquine safe hydroxychloroquine coupon chloroquine tablets amazon

    June 5, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Roof Wash Sacramento

    Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. tadalafil medication

    buy tadalafil powder prescription tadalafil online buy tadalafil powder

    June 5, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Auto Accident Attorney Houston TX

    Great article. Couldn’t be write much better! Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. cloroquina

    how long has hydroxychloroquine been around clozapine define hydrochloric

    June 5, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Trevor Holtmeier

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 5, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. tadalafil alcohol

    side effects of tadalafil how long does tadalafil last sublingual tadalafil

    June 5, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Repair 2006 Dodge Sprinter


    June 5, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Roof Wash Sacramento

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    June 5, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair And Service Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. golf courses near me


    June 5, 2021 at 08:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Firm Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mercedes Sprinter Service Locations


    June 5, 2021 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Dodge Sprinter Auto Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. sams club near me

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 5, 2021 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Google Marketing Service


    June 5, 2021 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Start Error Mercedes Sprinter Repair


    June 5, 2021 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. dab pad

    Dabpadzreclaim catcher 14mm female14mm 45 Degree Showerhead Ash Catcher By DiamondThe Medicali Ash Catcher with Showerhead Perc has a colored showerhead percolator and is available to order in a selection of colors. Please select your favorite color from the available option in the drop-down thực đơn when you place your order. Please note that you can select the color of the showerhead percolator, it is not possible to select the color or style of the logo. The logos come in a wide variety of colors and styles, you will receive one at random, depending on availability.


    June 5, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 2010 Sprinter Seat Belt Buckle Repair

    You made some good points there. I checked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 5, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. tadalafil side effects

    tadalafil 100mg tadalafil price walmart tadalafill

    June 5, 2021 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. hydroxyzine hydrochloride

    cloroquina 250 mg hydroxychloroquine side effects cloriquin

    June 5, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. cabinet repair service near me


    June 5, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. hydroxychloroquine sulfate nz

    chloroquinw raoult didier chloroquinone

    June 5, 2021 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. side effects of hydroxychloroquine

    chlorodine hydroxychloroquine sulfate cloraquinn

    June 5, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Suspension Repair Sprinter Van


    June 5, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. certified rv repair


    June 5, 2021 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. bars open near me


    June 5, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90

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.