Is moaning a self-love statement, or a societal imprint?
Like most horny teens, I’d spent a significant portion of my school years building up my expectations of what ‘sex’ would feel like: that it would be this earth-shattering, mind-altering experience turning me from a young girl into a fully-fledged woman. In reality, I found myself having a meaningless one night stand with a guy from school who hopelessly and uncomfortably rutted away on top of me for an unsatisfying amount of time.
As it normally goes, my first time was more The Inbetweeners than The Notebook (soz Sam). Yet, despite not having been written a single letter over the course of 365 days, I still found myself making noises that resembled the backing vocals of Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love. So maybe I actually did have a good time? (I didn’t). Where were these noises coming from? Was I actually in pain? Had I already been subconsciously conditioned to stroke the male ego? I didn’t have the answers then, but I think I might have a better idea now…
Stroke Clits Not Ego’s
Fast forward to 2020, and a series of underwhelming sexual encounters lead to a study by CNN. It found that for lots of women, moaning has almost nothing to do with coming, or even basic pleasure. Some do it to end the monotonous thrusting or to speed the whole thing up, others because they’re bored or even in pain. And the most common reason, leading with a whopping 87%… doing it to massage their partners’ ego.
Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘moaning during sex’ and you’ll find hundreds of articles telling you how to sound sexier, or endless forums full of women worrying about the strength of their vocal cords rather than their underlying enjoyment, and ironically, caring about how you sound (or don’t sound) is actually gonna take you out of the moment completely. So why are women giving in and not putting themselves first? Like it or loathe it our experience of sex has porn at its centre: all you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of a female orgasm on screen to see earth-shattering moaning. But we have to remember that porn is performative. Actresses are paid to make sex look like an orgasm-enducing experience. Porn is not about their pleasure, but for the pleasure of the viewer, who in most cases, are men.
So, how about we focus less on ego stroking and more on clit stroking to create a more authentic sexual experience for both parties (or more, big up orgies)… Just a thought!
Too scared to moan in your girl’s ear? Sing the halo theme instead.
Ok we’ve covered lady moans, so what’s going on in a guys head when he is (or isn’t) letting out that sweet siren song? Moaning for men can be seen as ‘emasculating’ for sure, there’s even a whole thing on Twitter mocking men for being #scaredtomoan, and while we hashtag feel for them, a quick internet search of “men moaning during sex” will pull up porn videos as the top hits. What does this mean, you ask? It quite simply means that men aren’t asking each other on the internet (and probs not irl either) whether they should moan or not, and men’s magazines aren’t telling you how to make your gal’s sex life better. Basically, men get to have sex for themselves, and aren’t held to the same standard or expectations. Guys get to moan if they want, and remain silent if they don’t want, because it’s unlikely that they’ve got their mind’s set on how you think they sound.
…And this isn’t entirely their fault. It’s porn’s fault.
Staying quiet can hurt your tennis game
It’s at this point, I want to play devil’s advocate. Contrary to the whole first part of this blog I don’t believe that moaning during sex has to be a bad sign, as long as it’s not purely performative for Brad’s benefit. Making noise can actually improve your pleasure. Confused? That’s probably my writing style but take tennis player and all round feminist legend Andy Murray as an example. The importance of the grunt to his performance in tennis is pretty imperative. As he exerts himself, his body makes a sound. If he was to squash the grunt, he’d have to use energy that he could be using for his stroke to suppress vocalisation. In other words, staying quiet can hurt your game. Get out of your head and into your body. Science!
So if you live sans flatmate (probs not the case if you live in London) and you’re doing it for all right reasons, then go for it. If you’re naturally quiet – that’s great too. It’s common to have a complicated relationship with sex sounds (thank u patriarchy) but a good place to start is to learn why you’re doing what you’re doing, and go with what feels good for you. Simples.
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