Instinct, the survival of the species, and pleasure are closely related to women’s moans, also referred to as “copulatory vocalizations.”
Moaning during a sexual act is completely natural. However, besides pleasure and what porn and the media have taught us, women’s moans have biological and scientific reasons.
Some species use moans and other sounds to mate, to find the best sexual partner, and to obtain better sperm; it’s a matter of survival. Animals use these sounds to make sure that the species continues, since vocalization can help them find the most suitable mates.
Now, when it comes to humans, women don’t moan to attract men. Female copulatory vocalization has to do with arousal, which helps with intercourse, and by extension, reproduction.
Copulatory vocalization: beyond the clichés
Studies reveal that women moan both when they’re about to have an orgasm, and when their partner is about to. The sound is a stimulant that facilitates ejaculation and boosts their sexual partner’s self-esteem.
However, it's not all fun and games. Sometimes, women feel like they have to moan to show their partner that they’re enjoying themselves, which can actually keep them from having a real orgasm. As psychotherapist Ian Kerner explains:
During sex, as women get closer to orgasm, parts of the brain that are associated with stress and activity and high emotion actually start to deactivate, and women often go into kind of a trancelike state…If a woman feels compelled to moan in order to indicate to her partner that she’s enjoying sex, the very act of moaning might take her out of that ability to get into that trancelike state and actually have an orgasm.
It’s good for sexual satisfaction
According to some studies, people who moan a lot report more sexual satisfaction than people who don’t moan that much or make no sound at all. In addition, moaning can serve as positive reinforcement for their partner, resulting in better sexual encounters, and according to the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a stronger relationship and more synchronized orgasms.
Pornography and pop culture
Moaning is instinctive for our species, but pornography has changed the way people think sex looks and sounds. Adult films are made with male pleasure in mind, so actresses have to exaggerate their moans, since it’s the ideal way to show the pleasure the woman is feeling, given that there’s no “visual” orgasm equivalent to an ejaculation, according to John Corbett and Terri Capsalis’s theory.
Moans have also become a part of pop culture thanks to songs that incorporate them in raunchy lyrics, embracing (and sometimes exploiting) the artist’s sexuality to boost sales.
The prevalence of moaning as an aural demonstration of pleasure has also led to the belief that some women fake orgasms this way, or that they pretend to be enjoying themselves more than they really are. In that way, Tess Baker describes the power that a single vocalization can have in our sex life:
Perhaps after decades of understanding these sounds in terms of our own experiences, women have found truth in what was once an artifice. By offering the vocal sounds their partners expect only when they are actually experiencing pleasure, women become the driving agents in a heterosexual encounter, creating a positive communication feedback loop in which their partner is more satisfied — and thus, so are they, and so on.
Whether genuine or not, the point is that we should know that moans are the result of human evolution, and that we should enjoy them no matter how loud (or quiet) they are.
Translated by Zoralis Pérez
Here are other articles about sex you should check out:
Cover Photo: Brooke Winters