The vocalization gap between cis-gendered men and women is huge — with men sometimes opting to be completely silent during intercourse. Yikes, here’s what we think about that.
I recently read a disheartening article on Cosmopolitan that gathered quotes from 13 cis-gendered men and their explanations of why or why not they make sounds during sex.
“I guess I just felt like it’d be weird for me to moan. Like, I’d sound like I was in distress,” says 25-year-old Matt. Thirty-year-old Chris told Cosmo, “I just feel stupid if a noise slips out. I don’t think any of the noises I have made/could make during sex are going to bring a woman any closer to orgasm.”
As you can imagine, I felt shocked by the responses. These individuals stay closed lipped, yet their partners with vaginas are expected to be verbal, audible, loud, and roaring with pleasure. While I could carry on about why I am in distress over the obvious sexism within this double standard, I am similarly bummed that these dudes don’t realize the potential and sensuality of being a loud lover. Moreover, further research on noise versus silence during sex catapulted me into another Cosmo article where a writer deciphered the meaning of each noise, moan, and grunt. If you could see me now — as I type this — you would find a visibly distraught sex journalist. Head in my hands, I decided to look into the science behind the link to orgasms and copulatory vocalization.
According to a recent study, 66 percent of cis-women use noise to help their partner reach an orgasm and 87 percent do it to help their partner’s self-esteem. Many of the participants claimed that they made noise to relieve boredom — a clear sign of “faking it.”
Kristen Mark, a sexuality researcher at Indiana University told CNN, “There isn’t a lot of research in this area 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.”
Patty Brisben advises individuals to not fake an orgasm. “If you’re faking an orgasm, you are signaling to your partner that he is doing everything right, when in fact he isn’t. 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.”
During the research study, participants who identified as female admitted to using these noises as a way to relieve boredom, pain, or tiredness during intercourse. If this is happening in your relationship, it would be advised to be honest with your partner and discuss any issues.
As for finding evidence as to how copulatory vocalizations contribute to an individual with a penis’ orgasm? Zilch. The research is severely lacking and my results turned up empty. What I did find, however, were personal quotes and opinions from individuals with vaginas who wished that the silence during intercourse would cease and that their partners would let go. According to MensHealth, a recent study found that 94 percent of cis-women consider themselves louder than their cis-male partner.
Kristen Mark says, “Arousal is about engaging different senses and auditory sensations—all things that may intensify the experience.” When your partner is vocal, and you’re vocal, a climax is bound to be stronger and better. If you’re screaming together, you’re bonding together. Vulnerable noises and sounds can alleviate any former discomfort and bring you and your partner close together. If it’s a one-sided activity, the communication may be a little flawed. Moaning, grunting, and sighing all signal to your partner that you’re having a fantastic time without saying, “I’m having a fantastic time!” mid-gyration.
Greg Bryant, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication studies at UCLA agrees that vocalization is important. “We’re asking at some level, without language, ‘Do we have chemistry?’ ”
Pornographic videos and media are flooded with fabricated and forced squeals, meant to appear sexy and hot. In reality, sexual moans comes in all octaves. Embrace the strange noises that escape from your mouth, body, and all orifices.
On a more spiritual level, sound is related to the throat chakra — the Indian thought process that symbolize the seven wheels of energy throughout our body. According to Tantra, expressing your feelings, needs, and emotions can be carried through by making noise through the throat. Awakening your chakra can lead to full-body convulsions that last over an extended amount of time. Tantrika’s claim that the kundalini awakening is something that occurs when you’re on your way to being fully evolved. The experience involves screaming, arching, loss of control, and waves of energy with no intercourse or sexual interactions.
Barbara Carrellas, author of “Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century” explains that, “In tantra, there are seven different energy centers (or chakras) in the body: perineum, lower belly, upper abdomen, heart, throat, forehead, and top of the head. Making higher-pitched sounds brings your sexual energy up to these higher centers, while making lower sounds brings it down.”
I’ve personally found that partners who are vocal, while I’m vocal, increase our sexual experience and lead to intense orgasms. Sex educator Logan Levkoff says, “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.”
While there isn’t any scientific proof that being more vocal leads to stronger orgasms for cis-gendered men, it does lead to a stronger connection. The language that you speak to one another in the bedroom, and under the sheets, is one that only you and your partner engage in. Greg Bryant agrees that sound creates a harmonious sex life. Orgasmic sounds “can take on a life of their own between two people. They create a feedback loop — the more expressive one partner is, the more turned on the other can become.” Losing control, being in the moment, and engaging with the reverberations can lead to the ultimate climax and long-term connection.
Whatever method feels right for you should be the correct avenue to walk along in your sexcapades. Whether you’re a light breather, a soft moaner, or an all around screamer, vocalization can help communicate to your partner what’s working, and what’s not.
Our advice? Open up wide and let your freak flag fly, moans and all.