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. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 28, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs online. I'm going to highly recommend this website!


    June 28, 2021 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Van Repair

    You're so awesome! I don't think I've truly read through something like that before. So good to find another person with genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!


    June 28, 2021 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Camper Repair Near Me

    After checking out a number of the blog posts on your website, I seriously appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website as well and let me know how you feel.


    June 28, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Repair Conversion Van Blinds


    June 28, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 28, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Luxury Van Shop Near Me

    I truly love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím looking to create my own personal site and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Cheers!


    June 28, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Camper Repair Near Me

    That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 28, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair San Clemente California

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


    June 28, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repairs Near My Location

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉


    June 28, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 28, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 28, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Itís nearly impossible to find experienced people about this topic, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 28, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 28, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 28, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. cakhia.live truc tiep bong da

    Trực Tiếp đá Bóng Ngày Hôm Nayxem tivi htv7Xem soccer trực tuyến Trực tiếp Odd BK vs Sarpsborg, 20h ngày 24/5, giải VĐQG Na Uy. Xem lịch phạt sóng trực tiếp soccer EURO hôm nay được Webthethao update chủ yếu xác nhất.


    June 28, 2021 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Transport Van Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. www.pharmaceptica.com

    yoga for erectile dysfunction https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    Good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    June 28, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 28, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Nearby


    June 28, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sprinter Broken Flex Pipe Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair California


    June 28, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Sprinter Van Upholstery

    Great info. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!


    June 28, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. pharmaceptica.com

    chloroquine moa https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    I like looking through an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 28, 2021 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mercedes Camper Van Repair Shop


    June 28, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nearby RV Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 28, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. bong da so

    Xoilac Tv Thẳng đá Bóng bet188Đội tuyển chọn futsal Việt Nam đã được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước phe đối lập đầy mức độ mạnh Lebanon. Kết quả Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước thời điểm hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước Việt Nam.


    June 28, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repairs Near Me

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. Your article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    June 28, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Near My Location

    I'm more than happy to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to see new things in your blog.


    June 28, 2021 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Sprinter Van Mechanic Shop Near Me

    May I just say what a comfort to find somebody who really knows what they are discussing on the net. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular because you surely possess the gift.


    June 28, 2021 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair California

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Cheers!


    June 28, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    I was pretty pleased to discover this website. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new things in your web site.


    June 28, 2021 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Sprinter Window Regulator Repair


    June 28, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 28, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Mecedes Sprinter Repair

    After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I really appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site too and tell me your opinion.


    June 28, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Nearby RV Repair

    Right here is the perfect webpage for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for ages. Great stuff, just great!


    June 29, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 29, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair California


    June 29, 2021 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ku bet

    Trực Tiếp đá Bóng Hôm Nay, Links Xem đá Bóng Trực Tuyến 24h bk8Đội tuyển futsal nước ta đã có một trận đấu đồng ý được trước đối thủ đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết quả Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước ngày hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất Việt Nam.


    June 29, 2021 at 00:43 | 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.