how to feel more confident making noise in bed
Do You Feel Awkward Making Noise In Bed? Here's How To Let Loose

I’ll have what she’s having.

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If you cook dinner for someone and they’re expressionless while they eat, your brain is likely going to spiral. Did I skimp on the salt? Is it burnt? Do they hate it? Do they hate me!? And so on. The same goes for sex. At least, some of the time. If you and your partner are going at it and you decide to try something new — let’s say you lick their elbow because you’re a freak in all the right ways — and it’s so quiet you can hear the Succession theme song playing on your neighbor’s TV three floors above you, that could mean one of a few things: One, your walls are way too thin. Two, your partner was so into your new move that they were forced to absorb the overwhelming sensation with the stoicism of a Buddhist monk. Or three, they weren’t really into it, but didn’t know how to tell you.

Noisy sex — which can involve nonverbal communication like ooohs and ahhhs, plus verbal communication like, ‘it would be so hot if you licked my elbow right now’ — is sometimes exaggerated in media, and especially in porn. The extreme moans and groans of some porn actors are enough to make you question whether or not any sex noise is authentic or if it’s all purely performative. Sometimes, according to Montreal-based psychotherapist and erotic expert Amanda Luterman, sex noises can be a mix of both.

Younger women in particular may feel that they're supposed to motivate their partner with vocalized positive reinforcement because that's what they've heard in porn, she explains. And while insincere vocalizations can be jarring for some, Luterman says the connection between sound and arousal is powerful. Just the simple act of making sexy noises can ground you in your body and heighten your pleasure, even if you weren’t fully in the mood before.

“As long as it's not disingenuous or an act of self-betrayal — like if you sort of feel you're only doing what you're supposed to be doing, then that's not good. But if you're doing what you enjoy and it was something that makes you feel desirable, by all means.”

Whether you shout your pleasure from the rooftops or your orgasms are more like silent prayers, your sex communication style is unique to you and can be an asset in your quest for arousal. Here’s everything you need to know about noisy sex, from dirty talk to guttural yawps and back again.

What Are The Benefits Of Being Noisy In Bed?
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Luterman says that sexy sounds “absolutely add to your arousal.” But not only are sex noises super hot, they’re also super useful, especially when hooking up with someone new, explains San Francisco–based sex expert, therapist, and co-founder of the Somatica Method of sex Celeste Hirschman, MA. “[Sex noises are] a really good positive reinforcement,” she says. “If somebody is heading in the right direction, [sex noises] are like a pellet, like if you're training a pigeon or a mouse to walk through a maze or something.”

Adorable and hilarious pest analogy aside, if whatever they’re doing isn’t necessarily going to make you come, but it feels good and you want them to continue, a little nonverbal communication can give them the confidence boost they need to keep it up. “You might make a noise that's not actually commensurate with how much pleasure it's giving you but more like, ‘OK, I want you to learn that this is heading in the right direction.’ Sound is a good training mechanism.”

Hirschman agrees that sexual sounds have the capacity to enhance pleasure and that sounds themselves can even lead to orgasm for some. Sex noises can be especially affirming, she says, when getting acquainted with a new partner’s body. Hearing your partner express their arousal can heighten your own pleasure and “take you over the edge” to an orgasm, she says.

“Your body's trying to climb this hill and get over it and the sound is another thing that helps,” she tells Elite Daily. “[You may] have to squeeze your muscles really hard and [you may] have to fantasize, and then sound is another thing that helps you [reach orgasm].”

“Maybe hearing your own sound is also arousing to you,” she adds.

Plus, on a physiological level, opening your throat may actually connect you more with your genitals, Hirschman says. In August 2021, sex educator and doula Stacey Ramsower wrote about the “vocal-vaginal correlation,” citing the vagus nerve as the connector between seemingly disparate body parts like the vagina and the chest or throat. The vagus nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and it runs from the brainstem down to the cervix, uterus, and possibly the vagina, according to sex researchers from Rutgers University and authors of The Science Of Orgasm.

I’m not saying vocal chords are the eighth erogenous zone, but I’m also not not saying it.

What Does Loud Sex Really ~ Mean? ~

It’s not better or worse to be noisy in bed than it is to be quiet; both are totally valid ways to experience intimacy. You may let out a moan or two here or there but never feel the urge to scream; you might shout and yelp during some super hot foreplay but when it comes time to release an orgasm, you go silent. Just as there’s no right way to have sex, there’s no “right” form of sexual communication.

You also may want to be noisier in bed than you feel you’re able to be, for any number of reasons ranging from your nosy roommates to feelings of shame or embarrassment. To understand your own authentic expressions of pleasure, Luterman suggests that you think about something non-sexual you've enjoyed more than anything else, like a food item. What gestures and sounds did you make as you processed that deliciousness?

“If you’re somebody who exclaims, ‘Oh my God! That's amazing!’ when you eat something yummy, there’s a good chance you’d be a little more expressive in bed,” she says. “Maybe you're really sensory and want to close your eyes and savor the moment. If you like to be present in your sensations, you may be quieter in bed.”

In that case, she suggests finding other ways to communicate to your partner that you're enjoying what they’re doing, even if it’s before or after sex. “You can tell your partner that you’re quiet not because you're struggling, but because you're present. Tell them no news is good news,” she says. “It's really important to help our partners along so they can understand what's going on for us.”

If My Partner Is Quiet In Bed, Are They Having A Good Time?
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As Luterman has explained, intense sensation can cause some people to be silent. If your partner was being vocal for a bit and then suddenly gets quiet, it’s not an immediate sign for concern. “Most people may not be reliably one or the other, noisy or quiet,” she says. “Don't judge someone one way or the other.”

If your partner rarely ever verbalizes anything during sex, it could also be an indication of their socialized shame — especially for cis men. “One of the greatest myths of toxic, masculine socialization is that men should be silent in bed,” Luterman says. “If you look at porn, it's usually a lot of very noisy women and a lot of very stoic men not showing much. But you don't have to be quiet to drive an erection. It is not unmanly, nor unmasculine. It is extremely sexy and very appealing to receive positive reinforcement and witness the enjoyment and arousal of your partner of every gender. Just let your reaction be organically what it is.”

How Do I Start Making Noise?

If you’re embarrassed to vocalize during sex, Hirschman says that’s also common.

“Shame shuts down a lot of different modes of communication, especially sexual communication,” Hirschman explains. “But practicing using your sound during sex can start to make you feel more free. And I think freedom of motion and sound and all of those things help our bodies towards deeper levels of pleasure.”

That being said, arousal itself isn’t defined by sex noises, and it’s possible to express or experience pleasure without making much noise at all.

“Somebody who is very verbal at certain points [during sex] might be very quiet at other points,” Luterman explains. “As much as there’s the old joke that ‘nobody's an atheist when they’re about to have an orgasm,’ a lot of people hold focus at the cusp of an orgasm. They're really attending to the strong sensations internally and may be very silent.”

How Do I Talk Dirty Without Feeling Awkward?
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Nonverbal cues are fun and all, but using your words to express your arousal is also a useful skill. If you want to do a little dirty-talkin’ or give your partner some verbal feedback but you don’t know exactly what to say, Hirschman suggests thinking more about the way you say it rather than the actual words coming from your mouth.

A lot of times, people in sexual situations will ask their partner for what they want in a regular tone of voice. But if you deliver the message in the same way you’d order a sandwich at the bodega down the street, it can feel awkward.

“It's all about tone of voice,” she says. “A sexier tone of voice is engaging and encouraging.”

“We have an exercise in [the Somatica Method] that's basically, like, how to ask for what you want in a sexy way,” she continues. “Then it becomes part of the sexual experience and it's a turn-on for your partner. Ninety-nine percent of the time, people are delighted when you say what you want.”

Good sex isn’t always the noisiest sex. You can have a really strong connection with someone, made even hotter by the silence shared between you. But noisiness and expression can absolutely contribute to your sexual pleasure, deepen your partner attachments, and connect you more to your own body. And that’s pretty cool. I scream, you scream, we all scream for orgasms.


Amanda Luterman, psychotherapist and erotic expert, founder of Center For Erotic Empathy

Celeste Hirschman, MA, sex expert, therapist, and co-founder of the Somatica Method of sex

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