Until I watched porn, the idea of people making noise in bed was completely foreign to me. It had never occurred to me to make noise when I masturbated. But then, when I started having sex with partners, I felt all this pressure to be louder than I was. I began to resent the expectation that people, especially women, should be loud in bed. It seemed like just another way women were taught to perform for their partners during sex rather that think about their own pleasure.
Then, I went to one of Betty Dodson's Bodysex masturbation workshops, where Dodson's assistant Carlin Ross told me that orgasms live on the breath. She suggested I try making noise when I masturbated with the rest of the group. I was skeptical — I'd tried making noise with partners before, and all it did was take me out of the moment — but I took her advice and gave a few yells during my orgasm. Something about that orgasm felt different. Like I had fully experienced it rather than observing it. Like I had really felt it, not just physically but emotionally.
I've since been trying to recreate this type of sex noise that actually feels good, but I haven't been able to figure out what it was about it. Normally, I have to think about what kind of noise to make, and that thought process alone detracts from the sensations.
I'm not alone in making sex noises due to pressure rather than pleasure. "Research suggests that the sounds we make during sex may not be commensurate with sexual pleasure," Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly tells Bustle. "Women, for example, make noises to stroke their partners' egos, heighten their partners' pleasure, and for expediency (i.e. to get it over with). The differences in sex sounds between hearing and Deaf people suggest that the sounds hearing people make may be culturally acquired (learned)."
However, as I learned in that workshop, there's a benefit to making noise for you, not just your partner. Here's how to make noises in bed in that actually feel good to you and don't feel like a show you're putting on for someone else, according to sex experts.