What Can Listening to Orgasms Tell Us?

Pleasure Queer Relationships Sex positive Sex Toys Sexual Freedom

The sounds we make are as diverse as our sexual experiences

Photo by John Soo on Unsplash

I was on Twitter yesterday, when I ran across this article by Kinkly. It references the Orgasm Library, which is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of people recorded themselves during their orgasms, and it gives a unique insight into into the way people express themselves in their most intimate moments.

Hearing people have orgasms is incredibly erotic, yes, but much like learning about the way people eat breakfast or spend their free time around the world, it’s fascinating to hear someone’s orgasm while learning the cause of it and how that influences what it sounds like.

This takeaway in particular from the Kinkly article made me reflect on my own sexual experiences and how I express pleasure:

[The] way we sound when we orgasm — and probably also the way we experience orgasm — is very diverse. Some people wind up really quietly. Others come in with a roar. You can actually hear the experience and get sense of how different each one is.

“This library gives us the idea that there is no right way to sound,” says Elsa Viegas, co-founder of sex toy manufacturer Bijoux Indiscrets, which launched the project. “There are so many sounds. I think it shows our diverse experience of pleasure.”

One of the best piece of sex positive advice you’ll ever get is to listen to your partner. While it’s true that some people aren’t very vocal, “According to a survey conducted by Bijoux Indiscrets in conjunction with the launch of the Orgasm Library, 60% of women and 52% of men use moaning to excite their partners during sex”. Much of our (United States) cultural shyness about being heard during sex has to do with our culture’s sex negative attitude towards sex.

I asked a few people if they’ve ever felt self-conscious about the noises they make during sex and I learned that within our society, one’s social identities not only impact their approach to sex, but how they express pleasure. Men, in general, don’t care if they or their partners are heard during sex by strangers (like neighbors). I’m sure there’s an element of wanting to let the world know about your successful conquest within that reasoning.

Women on the other hand, are on the whole more likely to be self-conscious about the noises that they make. Not only for others, but for their partner too. I think this has to do with social conditioning around how women are expected to desire sex. We’re not supposed to actively want it or seek it out; it’s something that should be done to us. Having loud orgasms can indicate too much enjoyment, which means you’re probably actively participating which is the worst thing a woman can do. For masculine-of-center women, moaning or making loud noises during sex can be seen as un-masculine, which is its own set of challenges.

In general, it doesn’t matter what kind of noises your partner chooses to make or not make. Some people are screamers, some are criers, some are sighers, and some are just quiet. As long as everyone is enjoying themselves and is communicating about their needs, no one should feel weird or uncomfortable about the noises they make (or the lack thereof). Regardless of the reason why, I would suggest taking a listen to the Orgasm Library. It’s not only sexy, it also gives insight into how we express ourselves in our most intimate moments and can help dispel stigma.

What Can Listening to Orgasms Tell Us? was originally published in The Sex-Positive Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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