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Our nation of moaners

New research is shedding light on the question: Why do some people make so much noise during sex?


Lucy McKeon
February 23, 2012 9:59AM (UTC)

Every night in my building I’m treated to a concert of loud sex. Like clockwork, at 6:30, the soundtrack begins and “Ooh ooh ooh ooh!” rings out with the same rhythmic regularity and decibel level.  Frequently – “Oh God!” – the Lord is called upon to listen too. And between the young heterosexual couple down the hall and the man who regularly visits my door to slip a miniature Bible under the crack, I sometimes feel like I’m living in a Baptist meetinghouse.

But why is it always the woman making all the noise? And is it an expression of pleasure, or something else? As it turns out, recent science offers some tantalizing hints.

Researchers Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin A. Hendrie of the University of Leeds wondered too. In a 2011 study on copulatory vocalization (i.e., sex noises), published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, they asked a group of 71 sexually active, heterosexual women, ages 18 to 48, to answer a questionnaire about their vocalizations during sex and whether or not they correlated with orgasm. The answer most often was yes – but n...

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Lucy McKeon

Lucy McKeon is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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