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. RV Repair

    I used to be able to find good info from your articles.


    June 29, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful blog!


    June 29, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Alignent Repair

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


    June 29, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Right here is the perfect website for anyone who hopes to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for decades. Great stuff, just excellent!


    June 29, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dodge Sprinter Step Repair

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


    June 29, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sprinter Van Upgrades


    June 29, 2021 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Camper Repair Shop Near Me


    June 29, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sprinter Van Frame Repair

    I blog frequently and I truly appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    June 29, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Around Me


    June 29, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repairs Nearby

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


    June 29, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 29, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Airstream Van Repair

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


    June 29, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I blog frequently and I genuinely appreciate your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    June 29, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair Shop


    June 29, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dodge Sprinter Service Centers

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the site is really good.


    June 30, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair California

    Hello there, There's no doubt that your web site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great blog!


    June 30, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sprinter Alignent Repair


    June 30, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 30, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repairs Near Me

    This is the perfect web site for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    June 30, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair Service

    Itís hard to find educated people for this topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 30, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 30, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 30, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. orlando credit repair

    This blog is great check it out


    June 30, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Garden Grove

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I donít know why I can't join it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 30, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Camper Repair Places Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the internet. I am going to recommend this website!


    June 30, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair

    You're so cool! I do not believe I have read anything like that before. So great to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!


    June 30, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Auto Insurance Englewood CO

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks


    June 30, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. truc tiep keno

    Thẳng đá Bóng Thời Điểm Hôm Nay, Links Xem Bóng Đá Trực Tuyến 24h nha caiĐội tuyển chọn nước Việt Nam chỉ cần một kết quả hòa có bàn thắng nhằm lần loại hai góp mặt tại World Cup futsal. Nhưng, để thực hiện được điều này


    June 30, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. hvac repairs near me

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    June 30, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Ram Luxury Van Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is really good.


    June 30, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Rv Alignment Shop

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


    June 30, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Heating and Air Fayetteville NC

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    June 30, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Mercedes Sprinter Service Centers


    June 30, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. m88

    Xoilac Tv Thẳng Bóng Đá tivi truc tuyen todayĐội tuyển futsal nước ta đã được một trận đấu đồng ý được trước đối thủ cạnh tranh đầy sức mạnh Lebanon. Kết trái Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu vs Bình Phước thời điểm hôm nay 18h00 ngày 5/5, Hạng nhất nước Việt Nam.


    June 30, 2021 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. body shops raleigh nc

    Impressive! Thanks for the post


    June 30, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    June 30, 2021 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. collision repair raleigh nc

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.


    June 30, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Relentless Collision

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    June 30, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Mee

    Hey there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you've got here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon.


    June 30, 2021 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 30, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Nearest RV Repair

    There's definately a lot to learn about this issue. I really like all the points you've made.


    June 30, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 30, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Repair Conversion Van Blinds

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I donít know why I can't join it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 30, 2021 at 13:22 | 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.