“There isn’t a lot of research in this area,” said 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.”
Of course, there’s nothing smart about faking it.
“If you’re faking an orgasm, you are signaling to your partner that he is doing everything right, when in fact he isn’t,” sex educator and author Patty Brisben said. “Use moaning as a way of signaling that you are excited and things really are feeling good, not as a way to hide that they aren’t.”
Fake or not, women aren’t the only primates who vocalize 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 vocalizations tend to become more complex when the females are closer to ovulation and vary when a female is mating with a higher-ranked male baboon. Female macaque monkeys give a shout to help trigger their mates’ orgasm, too.
Performances and primatologists aside, vocalizing during sex can actually be a great tool to help women get what they want in bed. As I discussed in my column on the topic of talking about sex, it isn’t always easy to translate sexual thought into action, so a little strategic moaning can definitely help get the point across.
“Women are learning to take responsibility for their own sexual needs and wants in the bedroom,” Brisben explained. “We need to take this one step further and give ourselves permission to become teachers. Use vocalization to teach your partner what feels good. It can help you say, ‘stop, go, yes, more please,’ without sounding like a traffic cop.”