Just a couple of months back, the Internet went haywire when Sweden’s health minister Gabriel Wikstrom told a complaining man over Twitter that his neighbours’ loud sex romps are good for their well-being. “Sounds nice for them, I think. Good for their well-being and thus public health as well,” was his reply.
But what is noisy sex good for anyway? And what does science have to say about it? Well, I’ve got you covered.
Yes, loud sex IS good for you. A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by researchers from the University of Leeds found a direct positive correlation between expressing enjoyment to enhanced pleasure. In the study, 92 per cent of participants felt that vocalisations boosted their partner’s self-esteem and it was found that women mostly use vocalisation by way of encouragement. In fact, multiple studies have shown that women who vocalise during sex, do it more to signify to their partner that it’s okay for them to orgasm than to indicate their own pleasure.
Dr Ian Kerner, psychotherapist, sexuality counselor and the author of the best-selling book She Comes First says, “Couples who are able to communicate around sex are healthier and happier and loud sex can be part of that communication. Copulatory vocalisation — making noise during sex — is an essential way of communicating with your partner, letting them know what feels good, what doesn’t.”
This leads me to the second point. Women tend to be more ‘vocal’ during sex than men. While it’s true that women do really get turned on by the noises that their partners make, another study found that men make 94 per cent less noise than women. But is it all linked to evolution or are we socially conditioned — thanks to mainstream media and porn — to vocalise during sex?
“There isn’t a lot of research in this area,” says Kristen Mark, a sexuality researcher at Indiana University, “but we’re bombarded with images through mainstream media that tell us moaning is associated with orgasm and sexual pleasure. So it would be a fairly wise faking strategy to moan since men already tend to associate moaning with orgasm.”
Sex expert Tracey Cox feels that women may feel pressured to be louder in the bedroom to pretend or to show that they are enjoying themselves. She also casts doubt on the latest research by saying that she was skeptical that louder lovemaking equals better sex.
But on the other hand, we do know that women aren’t the only primates who vocalise during sex. Research in the animal kingdom reveals that female baboons, for example, have a variety of copulation calls — which appear to relate to their fertility. The vocalisations tend to become more complex when the females are closer to ovulation and also vary when a female is mating with a higher-ranked male baboon. Which indicated that perhaps it is not all social conditioning at play.
But no matter how — or rather, how loudly — you’re having sex, it’s all part of the human experience. So go ahead, make some noise. It’s good for your health after all!