I read something recently about women moaning during sex—that it isn’t necessarily related to her arousal or orgasm, but might actually be in response to the man’s orgasm. Is there anything to this? If so, how can you really tell if you’re on the right track, especially with a new partner?

The noises women make during sex are an enduring enigma to men. I think a lot of guys want to believe that if they could only crack the code, they would gain a special power, like the ability to talk to animals.

It’s frustrating, because men know that women can, and do, fake it. But sexual utterances can also be primal, spontaneous reactions to pleasure. In an outdated sense of the word, to “ejaculate” means to blurt something out suddenly. (“No kidding!” he ejaculated.)

In addition to being able to tell authentic ejaculations of pleasure apart from acting, I think a lot of guys want to understand why a woman would fake it.

You may be referring to a small but attention-grabbing study of women in England that showed women were most vocal—moaning, crying out things like “more” and “yes”—with a male partner during intercourse, leading up to his orgasm. But most women reported that if they had an orgasm with their partner, it was usually earlier on, during foreplay.

When asked, “What percentage of time do you make noise during sex, even when you are not going to have an orgasm?” about 80 percent of 71 women answered that they did it more than half the time. Why? The most common reason given was to inspire the guy to hurry up and come already, either because they were getting sore or bored, or were running out of time.

Nevertheless, many women also said they often made a fair amount of noise while being licked, frigged, or whatever else their partners did to make them come, before intercourse.

The takeaway here is that the best way to tell if you’re on the right track is to ask a woman what makes her come, instead of trying to decode her oohs and aahs. I also wouldn’t worry about whether she makes noise mainly for your benefit.

Think how often you go “ha-ha” when a friend says something funny, but not funny enough to provoke a genuine spasm of laughter. You fake laugh to show you appreciate the joke. And it makes you feel as if you’re having a good time as well. Sure, it’s fake, but not dishonest.

Voluntary vocalizing during sex serves the same purpose. It can make sex feel sexier, and it is, above all, friendly. “Oh, yeah, baby, that’s it!” is a lot nicer than “Are you almost done?”

Whether you’re looking for tips to improve your performance between the sheets, answers to a question or two, or help with an issue you can’t take to even your most trusted friend, our expert can help. It’s time to get schooled.

Have a question for Martin Downs…submit them to: sexed@ffn.com.

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