Here’s Why You Moan During Sex

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

Moans during sex can be a turn-on, but there are actual scientific reasons for why you might moan during sex. Here's why a certified wellness specialist says a little vocal expression can be an important part of the experience.

When it comes to sex, every individual has their preferences. That’s because sex is a very intimate experience between partners, where inhibitions can be lowered…and sensations can be heightened. That’s one of the reasons individuals end up making noise or moaning during sex.

But why do people really moan during sex, what does it mean…and does it have a purpose? We spoke with a certified intimacy coach to learn the ins and outs of moaning during sex.

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Why do people moan during sex?

Similar to when you eat food you love or experience a good foot or back rub, you might make noise to convey the pleasure you feel. That’s because during sex (and other joyful, pleasant, or relaxing activities), the brain releases a hormone called dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the Cleveland Clinic points out acts as a reward center in the brain.

This means moaning, for some, is a natural physiological response if you experience pleasure during sex. “On a more intimate level, it comes back to communicating,” explains Margo Badzioch, certified intimacy and wellness coach for Mindbody + ClassPass. “Moaning is the body’s way of communicating with your partner that your body feels good”—and, “you want more of what’s making it feel good.”

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Is moaning important during sex?

Badzioch says moaning can make a sexual experience more enhanced and pleasurable, which is why it can be important during sex. “It is an extension of communication, or a way of communicating with your partner, when they do something that feels good or the moment feels amazing, and you don’t feel like using words,” she says. “The sounds come out involuntarily indicating pure enjoyment.”

While moaning may be a natural response for many individuals, there are some who don’t moan during sex, and that’s OK too. “If a person tends to be more on the quiet side during sex, they can also experiment with making more audible sounds, which can activate vibrations in the body,” explains Badzioch. “The breath, along with circulating oxygen, can help carry the vibrations through the body, allowing an individual to feel more relaxed. This can help him or her be more present, and can trigger the body to be more aroused.”

Here’s where more of the fun science comes in. According to research, such as one 2012 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, moaning enhances the intimate experience. “Moaning and activating your breath generates vibrations through the body, leading to a heightened sense of pleasure,” explains Badzioch, who also highlights a Zen effect, saying moaning “can also allow an individual to get out of his or her mind, and be more present in the body and in the moment, allowing him or her to feel stronger sensations, which can lead to a stronger orgasm.”

If you’re not used to moaning or making noise during sex, don’t overthink it. Instead, just let yourself naturally make noise when something feels good.

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Is moaning during sex a natural, automatic response, or is it initiated?

If you’ve heard of “faking an orgasm,” you know that moans can be initiated as well. Plus, you can also amplify this automatic response, which involves initiating more sound as well.

Louder moans during sex can indicate more pleasure felt in the body at the moment, and that the individual making noise is comfortable in his or her own body, explains Badzioch. “It is possible not to moan, but moaning is a natural response,” she says.

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What does it mean when your partner moans during sex?

Communication is key when it comes to having good sex, and moaning can be a distraction when it’s overdone, too.

Badzioch illustrates this point: “Typically, the right partner should be excited about their partner’s moans, but if the partner is not used to a specific volume or sound, it can be a little surprising to them.” She continues: “If the partner is out of control with their moans and makes unusual sounds that are not in sync with the partners tempo and just sound off, that can present a challenge, and it might be a good idea to check in with your partner about the experience.” None of those inauthentic moans, please!

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