I hold a new exclusive prototype toy in my hand and give it an appraising look before turning it on an applying it to my genitals.
Motioning the toy in an exploratory dance with my body’s preferences I reach the cusp of climax and, swelling from the sensation, I let out a moan. As my orgasm comes I gasp, squeak, and moan some more. I huddle my face into a pillow, not to hush the moans, but to enjoy how they sound muffled and what that audible prompt does to keep my orgasm going.
In truth, I’m alone – pleasuring myself solo-style – but the noises, my natural reaction to pleasure, still matter immensely to me.
There’s a longstanding tradition of sex being linked with noise. Look at any sex scene on TV or in the movies and you’ll find that it’s usually dictated in part by sound.
Part of this is, no doubt, practical. There is only so much one can show in a movie/show and keep it available to a general audience but, still, it’s not that these noises are absolutely needed in any instance.
Cinema and tv are both hugely visual mediums after all (with movies such as the Neon Demon heavily exploiting this) and, even if we don’t see everything when a sex scene occurs chances are we’d know what was happening from sight alone.
Yet noise seems to be an almost essential addition to sex when it is displayed in the public domain. So much so that the absence of all visual, textual, or olfactory prompts is irrelevant in some cases. All that is needed is a well-executed moan (think Filthy/Gorgeous by the Scissor Sisters, for example, or #1 Crush by Garbage).
In such a social backdrop you’d be forgiven for thinking that heavy moaning and the occasional ‘Oh yeah baby’ were prerequisites of all sexual actions.
When Sound Shocks (& Sucks)
But sometimes sex and noise can be downright jarring.
In 2014 a woman by the name ‘Auntie Angel’ captured the attention of the internet with her incredibly vivid demonstration of what she had dubbed a ‘grapefruit blowjob’.
Part of the shock from interested viewers was no doubt that she was suggesting you pound your partner’s penis into a grapefruit, but a large part was also the noises that Angel made.
If we’re being nice, these noises could be described as ‘enthusiastic’. If we’re going the franker route of Cosmo, they sounded like ‘the same noise Darth Vader makes when he drinks a Slurpee.’
Auntie Angel seemed to consider the noises as important and something that she put active effort in to but she also considered them to be a completely natural part of the process. I.e. She wasn’t, as some might say, ‘faking it’ even though she was putting a deliberate effort in to making those specific noises.
And, for many, the apparent ‘authenticity’ of these noises, or at least the peculiarity of them, was one of the key novelties of the grapefruit blowjob (as well as a huge deterrent for some).
In sharing her fruit sex technique Auntie Angel opened a whole can of worms about acceptable sex noises, expected sex noises, apprehensions around being noisy during sex, or having a peculiar oral technique (in more ways than one), as well as the age-old question of whether or not noises during sex were ‘fake’.
Not bad for one woman and a grapefruit.
And, to be fair, the dubious feelings that some had about Angel’s technique is at least somewhat valid.
Many people know that sex noises can create increased arousal, seem to convey sexual pleasure, and may even help facilitate a climax. Studies have even shown that mimicking your partner’s motions are breath can make them climax sooner, as it conveys a sense of synchronicity and enhances your bond.
And, sadly, other studies have also shown that up to 50% of women and 25% of men have faked orgasms before, typically through making the right vocal cues to signal the point of climax.
One study alarmingly even put this number at 80%, strictly among women.
Add to this the When Harry Met Sally scene and we’ve fostered a society in which faking it is not only considered acceptable (spoiler alert: It’s typically not) but we’ve also linked that directly to sex noises.
But, wait a minute, 80% sounds ridiculously high, right?
That’s because it kind of is.
I may have told a wee white lie to you: I said that a study had discovered that 80% of women fake orgasm but that’s not right. In reality, a study found that 80% of women (out of a tiny 71-person sample) make noises to help prompt a sexual outcome from their partner.
Granted, these noises weren’t always linked to the direct sexual arousal of the person making the noises, but they were always linked to parts of sex that many people would naturally want and hope for. Things such as, boosting their partner’s self-esteem, increasing their partner’s arousal, and even helping bring them to climax.
Don’t we all kind of want stuff like that during sex?
Sound, Authenticity, and Intent
When I make noises during sex part of it is me responding directly to the physical sensations of my body, but a larger part is me creating a bond with my sexual partner, bringing in an additional sense of enjoyment, relaying feedback, giving clear audio markers for what I like and what I don’t like, and, yes, even increasing the sexual arousal of my partner. Le gasp!
In these moments my genitals may not be a raging inferno of immense ecstasy, but the sounds themselves actually build up a psychological buzz and help get me in the sexual zone, even if my body isn’t quite where my noises are. Besides have you ever tried loud moans? They take your breath away, literally, and that comes with its own reeling high.
This is what Angel meant when she spoke of her deliberate but entirely authentic grapefruit noises, and this is why sometimes I moan even when I’m alone. Even when a toy has yet to get my body to the point that might moans might explicitly convey to someone.
It’s because, for me, sex noises are, well, fucking sexy, and all part of what gets me off and helps me express my sexual desires.
These noises don’t need to be involuntarily induced by a physical response to make them suddenly valid, and the absence of them doesn’t indicate a lack of enjoyment either, it just means that, in that moment, I’ve chosen a different way to express myself sexually.
So, whether you make no noise, loads of noise, accidental noise, or deliberate Darth-Vader-esque noises, just remember that there is no shame in owning your audible expression, whatever form it may take.