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. pharmaceptica.com

    hydroxychloroq https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    May I just say what a comfort to discover an individual who genuinely knows what they're talking about online. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you certainly possess the gift.


    June 25, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 25, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 25, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Electrical Repair Near Me

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Service Near Me

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 25, 2021 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Camper Repair Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is extremely good.


    June 25, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Camper Repair Near Me

    Hi! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you've got here on this post. I'll be coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 25, 2021 at 07:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 25, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sydney Cedeno

    I love to read your articles. Thank you for the information color by number in spanish


    June 25, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. pharmaceptica

    erectile master https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. rv windshield repair near me


    June 25, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Near Me Now

    I absolutely love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own personal website and want to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Many thanks!


    June 25, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Chassis Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Women Leadership


    June 25, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Adalberto Braniff

    I have had Firefox, IE, and Google chrome downloaded onto my computer for a while now with no problem. Recently I downloaded YIM and now Firefox doesn't start up. If I restart my computer a few times, and try to open it a few dozen times each time I restart, it will eventually pop up. How do I fix it? Chrome and IE still work fine but I prefer Firefox..


    June 25, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repair Parts Near Me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!


    June 25, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. xoac tv

    Thẳng Soccer Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Coi Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt Namwest ham đấu với liverpoolĐây có lẽ rằng là ngôi trường hợp “của đi thay cho người" khá như mong muốn đối với Ben McLemore. Thiếu chút nữa tay ném của Los Angeles Lakers đã có thể bắt gặp tai nạn nguy hiểm. Cập nhật kết trái trận Việt Nam vs Lebanon thuộc play-off vòng loại Futsal World Cup 2021.


    June 25, 2021 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Henry Cloud Leadership Podcast

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the net. I most certainly will recommend this web site!


    June 25, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Trailer Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Body Repair Near Me

    Everyone loves it whenever people get together and share ideas. Great blog, stick with it!


    June 25, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. King Mcendarfer

    Great website. Thank you for the information course language spanish


    June 25, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. www.pharmaceptica.com

    sildenafil online coupon https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    This website certainly has all of the info I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 25, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Air Conditioning Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. pharmaceptica.com

    sulfur effects on body https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Near Me Now

    After exploring a few of the blog posts on your web page, I really like your technique of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and let me know your opinion.


    June 25, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Fiberglass Repair Near Me

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Kudos!


    June 25, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Emergency RV Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Places Near Me

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


    June 25, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Mobile Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Air Conditioner Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repairs Near My Location

    Howdy! This article could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. pharmacepticacom

    hydroxychloroquine sulfate 200 mg https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 25, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 25, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!


    June 25, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. www.pharmaceptica.com

    review erectile dysfunction pump https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Exhaust Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Itís difficult to find well-informed people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 25, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Fabiola Malec

    You've 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 25, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Body Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 25, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. www.pharmaceptica.com

    research chemicals tadalafil https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Saul Boldery


    June 25, 2021 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Body Repair Near Me


    June 25, 2021 at 20:56 | 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.