The Science of Sex Sounds

So what kind do you make while having sex? Are you a moaner, a grunter or do you stay as quiet as a church mouse throughout the entire affair? Making noises during sex – as well as making no noises at all – is completely natural, and they happen for different reasons.

Sex Sounds

Do you make a grunt when you thrust? Well that’s probably because you’re really putting your back into it. According to Lorraine McCune, who has been studying the grunt at Rutgers University since the late 80s, a grunt tends to be the result of physical exertion and not so much pleasure. McCune elaborates:

“Under conditions of metabolic demand, activation of the intercostal muscles to maintain lung inflation during expiration sets in motion reflex contraction of laryngeal muscles, creating a system under pressure that lengthens the expiration phase of the breath and enhances oxygenation of the blood. Expiration against the constricted glottis produces pulses of sound.”

All this to say that sometimes, a grunt just comes out of you. It simply happens.

In fact, trying to suppress a grunt can have an adverse affect (maybe) when it comes to sex. The thinking here is that when you suppress a grunt, you’re actually depleting some of the energy that is being used on the activity you’re engaged in. This is merely anecdotal connection based on findings of a University of Nebraska Omaha study that found tennis players who grunt increase their serve velocity by 3.8%. So maybe grunters get in more powerful pumps?

Meanwhile when it comes to moans, the first thing you’ll realize is that you hear them everywhere. This is because unlike the grunt, a moan isn’t tied to exertion. It’s much more communicative. We moan during a deep post-sleep stretch, as well as when we take that first bite of the office birthday cake.

The communicative aspect of the moan comes from brevity. The words we use the most are very short, compared with the words we use the least, which are much longer. And when it comes to communicating something like ‘yes, keep going’ or ‘that feels good. Do it just like that’ during sex, the moan does just the trick. It has allowed partners to communicate very simple directions while both parties are otherwise too occupied to share a few words between them.

So what about if you’re one of those silent sexual creatures? Well, there’s nothing wrong with it per se, however upping the volume is worth a try. You know, to see how it feels. One benefit of moaning or vocalizing is that it helps you to breathe deeply during sex, which in turn promotes circulation, two things that can greatly aid your orgasmic chances.

BUT. This is not at all to say that if you stay silent during sex, you are somehow missing out. According to sex therapist Nan Wise, a person might just be quiet during sex because they are concentrating on their own sensations, saying, “It can be a way to be focused on the inside, on what’s going on for you.”

Think you know what an orgasm sounds like? Well to test your skills we’ve created a quiz just for you. And there’s a prize if you get them right.

Take Our “ORGASM OR NOT” Quiz

What has been your experience with vocalizing during sex? Do you make moans, give grunts or stay silent? Do you feel you make too much noise, or somehow not enough? Let us know in the comments below!