Not for those who easily blush, the noises women make during sex was the actual subject of a research study.
Researchers refer to sex noises and orgasm screams in much more scientific language: copulatory vocalizations. The question they wanted to answer was whether the noises a woman makes during sex are voluntary or a reflex, or consequence of orgasm.
You have to wonder where researchers come up with these questions.
The researchers were interested in exploring the relationship between sexual vocalizations and orgasm. Their primary question was whether such vocalizations were an involuntary reflex of orgasm (or associated with orgasm), or whether they were independent of the act of reaching climax.
They recruited 71 sexually active, heterosexual women from the local community with a mean age of 22 years old, and administered a questionnaire asking the subjects about their vocalizations during sex.
Consistent with prior research, women most often reported reaching orgasm during masturbation or self-manipulation, and secondly by manipulation by their partner. Oral sex was the third most likely way to achieve orgasm, followed by the way women least frequently achieve orgasm: penetration by a man. Women in the study reported they most often experienced an orgasm during foreplay.
What about vocalizations? Did they most often appear around a woman’s own orgasm?
Surprising to some, the answer was no. The researchers found that a woman’s vocalizations occurred around the man’s orgasm, most often just before or simultaneously with male ejaculation.
The researchers theorize why this may be, saying, “The data clearly demonstrates a dissociation of the timing of women experiencing orgasm and making copulatory vocalizations, and indicate that there is at least an element of these responses that are under conscious control, providing women with an opportunity to manipulate male behavior to their advantage.”
According to this study, whether they know it or not, women appear to vocalize during sex — not to express their own enjoyment, but to help the man reach climax.
This is keeping with the idea that we all have sexual scripts in our head of our idealized sexual encounter and what we believe our partners want:
Another study said, “Both men’s and women’s perceptions of their partners’ ideal duration of foreplay and intercourse were found to be more strongly related to their own sexual stereotypes than to their partners’ self-reported sexual desires, suggesting that people rely on sexual stereotypes when estimating their partners’ ideal sexual scripts.”
Maybe these vocalizations are a part of that idealized sexual script, or at least done in response to what women believe their male partner wants.
A good question for a future study, but in the meantime I hope I didn’t ruin it for anyone who thought women were making noises only because they were enjoying it. It appears to be a little more complicated than that.