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 (4,630 Responses)
  1. Internet Marketing Businesses


    June 24, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair And Service Near Me

    After going over a number of the blog articles on your site, I really appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and let me know how you feel.


    June 24, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Content Marketing Company

    There is definately a great deal to know about this subject. I love all of the points you have made.


    June 24, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Roof Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Air Conditioning Repair Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me dinner simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your site.


    June 24, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Body Repair Near Me

    Hey there! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have got right here on this post. I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.


    June 24, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Content Marketing Service


    June 24, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Digital Marketing Specialist

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Appreciate it!


    June 24, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Satellite Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Body Repair Shops Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Submit a Startup - Technology Shout

    Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was
    just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do
    you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any help is
    very much appreciated.

    June 24, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Content Marketing Firm

    You should take part in a contest for one of the most useful blogs on the net. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    June 24, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. community colleges near me


    June 24, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Roof Repair Near Me

    After exploring a handful of the articles on your web site, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and tell me your opinion.


    June 24, 2021 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. pod

    ขายบุหรี่ไฟฟ้า Pod Sytem ราคาถูกที่สุด

    C9Vapors คือใคร เราคือผู้จัดจำหน่าย บุหรี่ไฟฟ้า พร้อมด้วยอุปกรณ์ต่าง ๆ แบบครบครัน เลือกซื้อสินค้าจากเราไปมั่นใจได้เลยว่าเป็นสินค้าคุณภาพดี การันตีจากกลุ่มลูกค้าจำนวนมากที่มั่นใจเลือกใช้งาน สูบบุหรี่ไฟฟ้าเมื่อไหร่ไว้ใจ C9Vaporspod

    June 24, 2021 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Exhaust Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. tructiephd

    Xem Thẳng Soccertv101vnTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania trong ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới đến futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội không ngán Lebanon song sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, quý khách rất có thể sắp xếp việc làm


    June 24, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv entertainment system upgrade


    June 24, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. local paint shops near me


    June 24, 2021 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Parts And Repair Near Me

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I love all the points you made.


    June 24, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Roof Repair Near Me

    Hello there! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have got right here on this post. I am returning to your website for more soon.


    June 24, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 24, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Center Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this website needs much more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!


    June 24, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Plumbing Repair Near Me

    You have made some good points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


    June 24, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Store Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repairs Nearby

    Good site you have got here.. Itís difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 24, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Chassis Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 24, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Fridge Repair Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always helpful to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.


    June 24, 2021 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv air conditioning repair near me

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!


    June 24, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Near Me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying this information.


    June 24, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. xem todaytv trực tiếp

    Trực Tiếp Soccer Hôm Nay, Link Coi Bóng Đá Trực Tuyến 24hxem trực tiếp htv7 hdTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania trong ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới đến futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội không ngán Lebanon tuy nhiên sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, quý khách rất có thể chuẩn bị xếp làm việc


    June 24, 2021 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Service And Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv repair shops


    June 24, 2021 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Fridge Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 24, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Generator Repair Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Pedro Cram

    My husband loves to write and he love sports?He needs a part time job so he was wonder if he can get paid doing what he love. How can he get paid blogging or writing about sports?. Thanks,He love and know allot about soccer or futball,and american football..


    June 24, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. xem todaytv trực tiếp

    Xem Trực Tiếp Bóng Đágiavanghomnay net tag gia vang 9999 hom nay bao nhieuTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania vào ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới đến futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội không ngán Lebanon tuy nhiên sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, quý khách hoàn toàn có thể chuẩn bị xếp làm việc


    June 24, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Mobile Repair Service Near Me


    June 24, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Water Repair Man Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Awning Repair Near Me

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. electric nectar collector

    Intrinsic Muscles Of The Handhttps://www.posts123.com/user/782813/numberdavid3All products intended for use with legal smoking/vaping mixtures only .


    June 25, 2021 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV And Truck Repair Near Me

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉


    June 25, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 25, 2021 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 25, 2021 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair


    June 25, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rv air conditioner repair near me

    Itís nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 25, 2021 at 04:45 | 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.