It's not because they're having an orgasm.
It’s long been a staple of the depiction of women during sex on screen. There’s lot of quiet movements, sweet lovemaking, or laying ‘em down by the fire, but up until that big "O" moment when the characters climax in a flurry of shouts and moans, things are pretty subdued.
But anyone who’s ever gotten some knows that noise during sex isn’t just to signal the “finale,” and there’s usually a little bit more than that going on the rest of the session, too.
Movies, television, and many other forms of depicted sex (i.e., porn) indicate that a woman’s loud moans are strictly for the moment when everything comes to a steamy conclusion. But according to researcher Gayle Brewer at the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds, there are more reasons than just orgasming for a woman to engage in noisy reactions during sex.
Tons of on-screen moments of sex have taught us that men typically associate “copulatory vocalization” — that is, the act of moaning or crying out during sex — with orgasm only. But when Brewer and Hendrie asked 71 sexually-active women ages 18 to 48 about their experiences, the answers went far beyond that.
The study found that many women admitted to making noise but it wasn’t really during orgasm.
Sixty-six percent of the surveyed women said they did so to speed up their partner’s climax, while a whopping 87 percent of women made vocalizations during the act to actually help boost their partner’s self-esteem. A smaller portion of women said that they made noise to “relieve boredom, fatigue, and pain/discomfort during sex.”
And per the researchers, most vocalized moments actually had nothing to do with the female orgasm at all. They wrote that “copulatory vocalizations were reported to be made most often before and simultaneously with male ejaculation.” Yes, that means that women actually seemed to make the most noise — not to rock their own orgasm but to help out their partner.
While making some noise to excite and encourage your partner is great, it’s important to stress that women should monitor how they’re doing it, because if they were pulling a When Harry Met Sally moment, then they’re teaching their partner to do things to "please" them that aren’t actually getting them anywhere.
“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 Patty Brisben, a sex educator. “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."