5 Things Science Says About Noisy Sex
The Debrief: Did you know that your O noise can change depending on how fertile you are? SCIENCE.
Noisy sex isn't talked about half as much as it should be - especially when it comes to confronting that flatmate who keeps getting it on while hitting record breaking decibels - so it's sort of nice that the Swedish Health Minister recently defended it on Twitter. When a long suffering guy who was being kept up by his neighbour's late night romping tweeted to ask Gabriel Wikstrom if he could ban risque activities after 10pm, the minister replied: 'Sounds nice for them, I think. Good for their wellbeing and thus public health as well.'
Good on him, and them. But what is noisy sex good for - if anything - and why do we sometimes yell way more than we need to? Look no further.
1. Does yelling make sex better?
According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, having a good old yell during a bonkathon can help lead women to the big O a lot faster.
'Importantly, 92 percent of participants felt very strongly that vocalizations boosted their partner's self-esteem and 87 percent reported using them for this purpose,' wrote the researchers.
The fact that we're using our voices by way of encouragement, and as a conscious decision (rather than the sex noises just flowing out of you like water in a sex fountain), illustrates a sort of domino effect; the more noise a woman makes, the more confident her partner feels, the more noise her partner makes, the more turned on they're both likely to get.
Basically, yelling 'GOOD LORD MATE THAT'S EXCELLENT' acts as positive reinforcement for the person we're doing and, in turn, boosts our own self esteem in bed. And when your self esteem is boosted, you feel way more relaxed, less stressed about doing a bad job, and therefore more likely to orgasm yourself.
2. Isn't faking, or exaggerating, sometimes a bad thing?
Yep. The same study found that actual noise didn't correlate with actual orgasm - which can be a good thing (see above) or a bad thing. It can sometimes lead to faking, and sometimes means that during what is scientifically known as a Bad Shag, women theoretically could still make the same amount of noise just to get it over with. And, writing as a woman with women friends who all have sex, often do. Which can sometimes add to negative reinforcement; if the person you're banging does something you're not hugely into, but you want to make them feel good so you keep yelling, they're just going to keep doing it until you have to have the Awkward Conversation. Just better to keep your yells as positive reinforcement, rather than straight-out theatre.
3. Is there anything else cool about the noises I make during sex?
During a study of 550 female baboons shagging, researchers found that the primates' calls would become a lot more complex when they were at their most fertile - and that the calls were perhaps not just to egg the man-baboon on, but to signify to other males that she's a right goer, she's totally fertile, and would anyone else like a rogering? Now, obviously they're baboons, but academics have theorised that this is something that can be adapted to females: 'In humans, female copulatory vocalization would serve to attract males to the ovulating, sexually receptive female,' writes Dr. Christopher Ryan for Psychology Today. 'Thus promoting sperm competition, with all its attendant benefits—both reproductive and social.'
So yeah, your neighbour is trying to tell you she's up for it. And that she'd like to have your babies.
4. Are men quieter, or is it just the men I'm boning?
Science has shown that women get really turned on by the noises their partner makes, but if you're in a hetero couple, a study found that men make 94% less noise than us women. Sure, this study was done by sex toy company Lovehoney, but we can probably back it up with our own experiences of Singular Grunt Guys (SGG).
'Women are more comfortable being vulnerable and letting a guy know what they’re feeling,' says Jim Pfaus, Ph.D., a psychologist at Concordia University, which is why it can be a bit one sided - but it can be quite important for guys to get in touch with their inner YESSSSS. 'We’re asking at some level, without language, ‘Do we have chemistry?’ ' says Greg Bryant, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication studies at UCLA. And, if you're the only one making sounds, you might feel a bit silly which could affect said chemistry. Maybe have a quiet word? Or yell it when you're about to come?
5. OK this is great but where are the studies on male noises during orgasm?
Apart from that LoveHoney one, there aren't any proper studies. Female copulatory vocalisation is of big interest, but male copulatory vocalisation really, really isn't. Yeah, men are quieter on the whole, but it's a bit odd that there are no scientific studies on the sounds guys make during sex. Seems like everyone is so obsessed with whether women are faking it or coming that science totally forgot about the human male dudes. Maybe do your own research?
Like this? You might also be interested in...
Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating