There are tons of names people like to be called in bed. You’ve got your textbook “babe” or “baby,” your kinkier “Daddy” or “Mommy," or even sweet names like “sweetheart,” or "kitten.” But what about your own name? Often, hearing your partner moan your name as you’re pleasuring them — or being given a downright dirty command with your name attached — can send a tingle down your spine. But what makes hearing your name in bed so arousing? And how do you moan someone’s name in a sexy way? Well, if you’ve ever wondered why hearing your name in bed is so hot, good news: There is a solid answer rooted in psychology.
Dr. Michelle Drouin, a professor of psychology at Purdue University Fort Wayne who also researches sexting, breaks it down. For starters, hearing your name is almost always attention-grabbing. It’s like when you go out for drinks or go to a party with friends, and hear someone next to you mention your name. You’re more inclined to tune in. “We are, by nature, looking for belongingness and love as one of our primary human motivations. When someone says your name, they are acknowledging you within their circle and validating that you are known to them, possibly enhancing a sense of belonging,” Drouin tells Elite Daily. And so, during sex, hearing your own name might have a similar effect. Guys like when you moan their name, just as girls and non-binary folks do, too — all humans possess that inherent need for validation.
When you’re getting busy with your partner, and it's so good they just have to say your name, it can tap into your innate, human craving for love, belonging, and acknowledgement. “Your partner is communicating to you, ‘I am with you as I am performing this act,’” Drouin says. “‘And watching you or just being near you, you are the one on my mind.’ This can be very validating, enhancing self-esteem, belongingness, or feelings of intimacy.”
Clinical sexologist Cyndi Darnell echoes this sentiment, telling Elite Daily that hearing your name in bed "may be a form of validation which can lead to feeling[s] of being turned on, if validation is a source of sexual excitement for you." That is to say, for some people, Darnell acknowledges, this kind of validation just ain't it as far as turn-ons go.
"It's hot to those who find it hot. Not everyone is into [those] things, and like with everything, some may find it off-putting. It's very subjective," Darnell says. "There are only theories, at best, about why we find things hot in the way we do." If you're not sure whether using your partner's name in bed turns them on, just ask — the same way you would about using "Daddy," or "Mommy," or "babe," during sex. As for how to moan a guy’s name, just do whatever feels right in the moment, and try not to overthink it.
Hearing your name in bed can be a turn-on in the same way that other kinds of sexy, affirmative, auditory cues can — or any cues, for that matter. “Moaning and dirty talk can be used as verbal affirmations to one’s partner during sex,” Drouin says. “Any of these affirmations, whether verbal or physical, might be very gratifying to a partner because they indicate that a partner is doing something right and (likely) pleasurable.”
If you’re hoping to incorporate more dirty talk into your sex life, start by just doing it and seeing how your partner responds. "One of the easiest ways to introduce dirty talk into your relationship is to lead by example," Courtney Cleman, relationship and sex expert and founder of The V Club, previously told Elite Daily. "If your partner is less adventurous in bed, start slow by using less explicit language and watch their reaction. If your partner isn't readily reciprocating, find a time to have a conversation about your desire for dirty talk — the best time is when your partner is relaxed, in a good mood, and you’re not having sex."
Tell them how much you love having sex with them and why you think it would be super hot to say each other’s name more often. Chances are, they’ll love hearing your turn-ons and be excited to try this out. And if they’re shy about it, just be encouraging and supportive! Nothing is perfect the first time around, but you’ll both grow more comfortable with dirty talk over time
Affirming moans, back scratches, or yes, even name-dropping, can be integral to a positive sexual experience, because everyone just wants to know they’re doing OK. “Sex is anxiety-provoking for some people and at some times. They have fears about anything from their performance, to the way their body looks, or the way their body responds to stimuli,” Drouin says. “When a partner gives cues that they are enjoying sex, it can help to lessen anxiety and increase self-esteem and sexual satisfaction.”
So, next time you get a little more aroused when your partner says your name, chances are your heart will also get a little warmer.
Dr. Michelle Drouin, professor of psychology at Purdue University Fort Wayne
Courtney Cleman, relationship and sex expert and founder of The V Club
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