Getting Vocal — Why Do People Make Noises When They Have Sex?

What are sex noises, and what do sex noises sound like? Moaning, grunting, gasping, screaming. People make all kinds of sounds during sex. 

Let's be real. Moaning in the bedroom can be pretty hot — there's a reason that it's a mainstay in every pop-culture portrayal of sex. But the over-the-top sounds in X-rated films and rom-coms might be making you feel self-conscious about your own sex moans (or lack thereof).

Why do people make noises when they have sex? There are lots of reasons behind this sex phenomenon. But more importantly, it can tell you something about your sex life.

sex noises

Research shows that the more noise people make in bed, the less inhibited they are during sex., The more moans you make, the more aroused you (and your partner) will be. Moaning can open up your throat and deepen your breath, leading to a more powerful orgasm

Whether you're a natural moaner who loves getting loud or you're a bit more reserved in bed, we're here to give you a breakdown on pretty much everything you've ever wanted to know about sex noises. And yes, that includes why some make so much noise during sex, how to find your sex noise, and how to make good sex noises to intensify the experience.

‌Why Do People Make Noises When They Have Sex?

The answer is pretty simple: You're turned on. 

Moaning is a natural way to express pleasure, and it's often an involuntary response. 

In some ways, it's similar to physical exertion, like how you might grunt if you're hitting a tennis ball or gasp while you're pushing hard on the treadmill. Vocalizing your pleasure — whether it's grunts, moans, screams, and so on — can increase the force in each stroke or thrust. Whether you're partnered up or going solo, sex noises intensify every sensation. 

Sex noises are also about communication. When you make noises during sex, you tell your partner that you're feeling pleasure. This boosts their confidence in their performance and makes everything feel steamier. Think of it as positive reinforcement — or a moan of approval.

How Can You Tell If Your Partner's Moan is Good or Bad? 

Not to kill the vibe, but a moan isn't a good thing 100% of the time. People can moan or groan when they're uncomfortable too — or they might let one out just because they think they're supposed to.

While you should keep an ear open to your partner's moans, also keep an eye on their body language. There's a massive difference between a lousy moan (tense, recoiling, checked out) and a good moan (relaxed, eyes rolling back, hands gripping sheets).

make noises during sex

At the end of the day, communication is everything. Instead of deciphering what works and what doesn't, always take a beat to make sure you're both enjoying things.

How Can You Tell If Your Partner's Moans Are Real or Fake?

If you know anything about porn, you know that those actors are constantly moaning. It's embedded the idea in our collective consciousness, making us think that pleasurable sex means non-stop moaning and screaming. 

With the pressure to sound like you're having a good time (even if you're not), some people might put on a few fake moans. The general rule of thumb is that if your partner's sex noises sound performative, they probably are. 

To know if it's the real deal, pay attention to where they draw their breath. A genuine moan should come from within the diaphragm.

How Should You Sound When Moaning?‌

moaning during sex

There's no "right" way to sound when you're moaning during sex. There are also so many different moans — as many types of cries as there are types of people! 

Want to know what others sound like during a romp? Take a look at the Orgasm Sound Library, which offers an online gallery of different sex sounds uploaded by real people.

Do Women Moan Differently Than Men?

 Why do women make noise during sex, and why is it different than men? Every person is other, so it's hard to generalize. But you might notice a divide between the way men and women moan during sex. For example, men are less likely to let out a moan or a high-pitched gasp, while women are less likely to let out a deep grunt. 

Part of that is due to natural differences in voice pitch and tone. But men and women have also been conditioned to express their pleasure differently. We'll get into that a bit more below.

Do Women Moan More Than Men?

making noises during sex

On average, women make more noise during sex than men. One survey of heterosexual couples found that men make 94% less noise during sex

While part of this could be evolutionary — as in most animal species, females are louder than males during sex — a considerable part of this can be cultural. Watch any porn video, and you'll get a clear picture of how men and women are "supposed" to express pleasure. 

Across the gender spectrum, people get turned on by the noises their partner makes. Expressing your pleasure out loud can be a great way to fast-track your partner's pleasure, too — so don't be afraid to get in their ear and let them know just how much you're enjoying the intimacy.

Is Moaning For Women Real (or Just an Ego-Booster For Men)?

We talked already about the cultural pressure to let loose all your loudest sex noises, even if you don't mean it. 87% of women said they moaned during sex to give their partner an ego boost. 

So, is she faking it? 

Well, she might not be faking it per se. In some cases, women might exaggerate or over-vocalize their pleasure for your benefit, to turn you on and trigger your orgasm. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

It shows that she cares about enhancing your pleasure. One study found that women who have sex with men are often the noisiest right as their male partner is climaxing. 

That being said, your lady partner shouldn't be faking it just to make you feel like a man. With the ever-present orgasm gap between women and men, you and your partner must be on the same page sexually. In the moment, it might feel like faking it will give your partner a boost of confidence, but it's sending the wrong message — and reinforcing the idea that your partner should keep doing what isn't working. 

Communication is still king. Being present, vocal, and communicative with your partner will give them something tangible to moan about.

How Do I Get Into Moaning If I Have Never Done It Before? 

Thinking about adding a few moans or gasps to your time in the bedroom might feel stressful if you haven't done it before. We get it — the last thing you want is to sound like a fake porn star. So if moaning sends a shiver of cringe down your spine, don't stress it. ‌

Skip the porn research and dive right into it. Don't force anything. Try to relax and let your natural sounds come out when you feel good. ‌When you release your inhibitions (thank you, Natasha Bedingfield), you can enjoy moaning as a part of free, relaxed, and immersive sex.

How Do You Find Your Sex Noise?

noises during sex

We know that sex noises can mean more relaxed, less inhibited sex — and it can mean stronger orgasms too. But even if you're interested in letting out your inner sex noises, nerves might still be holding you back.

To find your authentic moan, it's crucial to get in the right headspace. Try some masturbation to start. Focus on breathing deep into your belly as you do what you need to do (with a hand or perhaps your favorite sex toy). This relaxes not only your mind but also your pelvic floor muscles, which control your orgasm. 

Play around with different breath levels, slowly building up into small noises. If you're still feeling self-conscious, you can silence your voice with a pillow to let yourself dial up the volume. 

Try not to think about the noises you might hear in a porn video or a movie. The goal here is to find your authentic sex voice. Let the noises spill out on their own. When in doubt, relax and do what feels natural. The deeper you are in this experience, the more authentic your noises feel.

Is It Normal to Make No Noise During Sex?

Being silent during sex can be linked to anxiety or nerves for some people. You might feel less confident in bed and vocalize a lot less. This can get in the way of your sexual satisfaction, making it hard for you to truly let go in bed (and for your partner to get a handle on your pleasure). 

But not everybody is wired to moan or scream in bed. If it's not your thing, there's nothing to stress about. Some people keep things low-key, while others are completely silent during sex. Just do what feels good — and the pleasure will follow.

What Your Sex Sounds Say About You ‌

Regardless of gender, it's entirely natural for people to be vocal during sex. Whether you're letting lose your feelings of pleasure or keeping in tune with your partner, moaning can increase the satisfaction for both parties (the moaner and the listener!). 

The takeaway? It would be best if you weren't afraid or embarrassed to be vocal in bed. Sometimes noisy sex is just better sex.

References

"An Examination of Predictors of Nonverbal and Verbal Communication of Pleasure During Sex and Sexual Satisfaction." (August 2012). Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

‌"The Pleasure-Boosting Case for Being Loud and Proud During Sex." (September 2020). Well + Good

‌"Orgasm Library of Real Sounds." Bijoux Indiscrets.

‌"Individuality and Male Discrimination of Female Copulation Calls in the Yellow Baboon." (May 2001). Animal Behavior

‌"Evidence to Suggest that Copulatory Vocalizations in Women Are Not a Reflexive Consequence of Orgasm." (May 20120). Archives of Sexual Behavior

‌"What is the Orgasm Gap?" (July 2020). Forbes

‌"What Your Sex Noises Really Mean." (May 2020). Shape

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