This Is Exactly How And Why You Should Be Having Sex Like Your Noisy Neighbours
I once lived above a tattoo shop in London. They were nice enough people, but on Saturday nights, as I was settling down with a cuppa, things would get rather rowdy below. I put the shrieks, thumps and moans down to some late-night needling on someone with a particularly low pain threshold, but during one exceptionally vociferous session, I heard “Fred” scream: “Show me your p****!.” Putting the TV volume up and my head under a cushion did very little to dampen the sounds of their enthusiasm – and once you’ve heard your neighbour at their most, er, loose-tongued, you simply can’t unhear it.
While I was being all Bridget Jones about the weekly orgy happening in my hood, and saving eggboxes to line my walls, it turns out I should have been listening closely and educating myself on the benefits of noisy sex. Want to help your partner reach the finish line sooner, boost your confidence, create intimacy and bring sexy back into your life? It’s time to find your voice, says Dr Anthony Smith, a Cape Town-based specialist in sexual medicine. “The death of sexual excitement is repetition, monotony, lack of spontaneity and predictability,” says Smith. “So anything that increases a sense of risk-taking, excitement or danger, can enhance erotic responsivity. Changing the sights, sounds and smells of a sexual experience will throw the brain off guard, disrupt predictability and create a new tension, which has the potential to be more erotically charged,” says Smith.
Call of the Wild
Tricking your brain by switching up the stimuli is one thing, but vocalising (grunts, moans, panting) also intensifies the experience for both partners, says Dr Kristen Mark, director of the sexual health promotion lab at the University of Kentucky. You don’t need to kick things off by howling at the moon, but a well-timed moan when she hits a hotspot will let her know that what she’s currently doing to you is great – and you’d love more of it.
It takes a lot of the pressure off directing her, too. There’s nothing sexy about “more of that ball tickling please, love”, but a gasp of sheer delight is a non-intimidating way for people to express pleasure, and reassuring to your partner that they’re ringing your bell. If it feels like something that goes against your nature, take a leaf out of the book from our jungle cousins. Female primates make a variety of copulatory calls, including sounds while mating to incite male competition. Males, in turn, are more likely to ejaculate when a female makes a noise, says Dr Christopher Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn.
How does loud sex make the ape in you go wild? “Men like to hear women taking pleasure from their love-making. It gratifies one of the most basic wishes of a man to please his partner, gives him a sense of mastery, and is spontaneously more erotically charged because it dispels doubts and holds the man and his partner in an erotic space,” says Smith. With each “Oh yes!” she directs at you, your sexual confidence is given a boost. She knows she’s responsible for you feeling at your peak. She’s likely to feel more confident too… and feeling sure-footed enough to try some fun stuff she’s been too inhibited to try before. Lucky you.
Related: Spice It Up: How to Have Dirtier Sex
It’s your evolutionary destiny to let the voice of your inner Tarzan out. Ok, it may be a stretch to say that your partner is screaming the roof off so that everyone knows she is ovulating, but a 2012 study from Cleveland State University found that non-verbal communication of pleasure during the act predicted sexual satisfaction. Those cries of ecstasy are a private language shared between couples. They create a feedback loop – the more expressive one partner is, the more turned on the other can become,” says Dr Greg Bryant, an associate professor of communication studies at UCLA.
Those Who Play Together, Stay Together
Playing loud is part of the glue that keeps your noisy neighbours happily coupled too. Losing your inhibition with a partner you trust, whether it’s the words you use, or the volume you say them at, is one of the great joys of sex, agrees Dr Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist at Harvard University. Holding back, on the other hand, keeps you from feeling present in the moment, which can lower your libido. South Africans are at a disadvantage. Across all our cultures, we are hamstrung by traditional, conservative backgrounds (hands up how many of you were allowed a girl in your room with the door closed as a teenager or even had a pep talk from your parents about sex?). Raised as a nation of prudes, breaking “taboos” can go against the grain. So, taking the leap and unleashing some dirty talk on your partner demonstrates an element of trust and intimacy, and could help strengthen your bond. It comes down to whether or not you are ready to show them your dark side.
“Much erotic energy resides in the residues of our unconsciousness – in the same place where dreams and demons can potentially live. So our sex lives will reflect the shadow side of our socialised selves,” says Smith. It takes oodles of trust to feel safe enough to expose the bad boy if you, he continues. The (dirty) communication exchange is like Velcro for your relationship, because it breaks down those walls, one sexy syllable at a time.
What can you assume about your neighbours when your chandeliers start to rattle? “They could just be inconsiderate and being loud is the single string in their sexual repertoire,” says Smith, “but there is also the strong possibility that their loud lovemaking is a reflection of an openness to be creative and engage with different erotic roles and scripts, and that they therefore are enjoying pleasurable sex,” says Smith. Perhaps they even get a kick knowing they are keeping their neighbours up. “The risk and danger of voyeurism can add to sexual titillation, and is a common kink. And while it may add to the frisson of excitement, it can’t be called a true kink, as they aren’t getting the direct feedback of knowing they are being heard,” says Smith.
Setting Your Brain on Fire
Your sexual vocabulary may make your eyes water when you think about it now, but under the sheets it’s highly appropriate. Your brain certainly thinks so. So, what exactly happens when she blurts out some X-rated dialogue? “Dirty talking will help activate centres from the brain that are relatively primitive and less influenced by the inhibitory role of the frontal cortex. Most of the role of dirty talk, though, will come through the meanings we give them – and will be different for the speaker or the listener. This involves the cortex and higher centres of the brain, communicating with those areas most involved with desire, including the prefrontal motor cortex, the nucleus accumbans, the medial preoptic area and other parts of the hypothalamus. The dopaminergic reward centre is particularly important in being able to connect with and identify that which is likely to give the most pleasure. Core erotic drives, if facilitated by erotic talk, can augment and ramp up the reward pathways,” explains Smith. In short, your brain is set on fire when you start tossing four-letter words around. Letting it rip with your partner may be the opposite of tantric sex, but the effects it has on your breathing has equally beneficial effects to those that can be tapped into through meditation. “Vocalisations increase the rate of heart rate and breathing, which helps to regulate the autonomic system, distracting from inhibiting factors – like negative thoughts – and facilitating the flow of neurochemicals that induce feelings of pleasure,” explains Smith. “Accompanied by the distracting focus of producing a sound, our brains are induced into a state which is less likely to get hobbled by inhibiting thoughts – like, is my partner satisfied, will my erection last long enough, am I good enough, and so on.”
The Highs and Lows of Noisy Sex
You may still need to find your vocal mojo, but it’s more than likely your partner already has – and your muffled moans and clenched teeth during climax are mismatched to what comes naturally to her. Women are more likely to get vocal during sex than men. Vocalisations can also help a woman to reach an orgasm and extend its length – unlike men, a woman will go through four different stages of sexual arousal before she has an orgasm, and these sexy sounds can help her move through these stages. Research done by our colleagues over at Women’s Health also revealed that 58% of women polled wish that men would be louder in the bedroom – and 64% of them believe that the louder the sex, the better it is. Time to find your voice.
Let It Go
Easier said than done. If loud sex makes you cringe rather than come, dip your toes into erotic talk at your own pace. “It really depends on where you are in your experience and familiarity with erotic talk. Not all erotic talk has to be about loud exclamations; it can be more of a conversation,” explains Smith. Get yourself used to saying or using the vocabulary of dirty talk when you’re masturbating alone. You could also work with your partner to incorporate it into your sex life by reading from erotic books to each other, or, describing each other’s bodies, suggests Smith. Blindfold each other if you find the initial experience too intense (or embarrassing). Remember that sex is a form of play, and anything you do out of the ordinary will loosen inhibitions – which is bound to prepare the ground for further sex talk.
Guys are not good at talking at the best of times, but if you want to benefit from this erotic form of pillow talk, you may have to change your ways. “Vocalising is an exchange, but one in which you can explore the boundaries of your erotic self – it requires some risk-taking and a suspension of judgment so you can be free to play,” says Smith. To get it right, be open to the cues of your partner, get a sense of what they want, and feel out what you like. Then enjoy, and give those neighbours a taste of their own noisy medicine.