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Ever Wonder What The Sounds You Make During Sex Mean?

"All sex is about energy, and sound brings energy."—Barbara Carrellas

Sex

The best lovers know that the best kind of sex incorporates all five of our senses—sight, touch, taste, smell and yes, hearing. And so, on my constant quest to make sure that couples (continue to) have the best sex possible, one day, I found myself wondering why we make some of the "sex sounds" that we do. While that might seem like a bit of an odd question, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were quite a few published articles on the topic (including one on TIME's website entitled, "What Our Sex Sounds Say About Us").

While on the surface, it might seem like we're moaning or even screaming, "just because", as with most things that have to do with sex, it actually goes a little bit deeper than that. As someone shared in the TIME piece, "sound serves as a type of communication". So, if you're curious about what you—or your partner—is actually "saying" during throes of passion, here's a little cheat sheet that could make you see how your sex life is going a little bit differently.

1. Heavy Breathing

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Chances are, you've probably heard of the phases of an orgasm before— excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. In order to work up to the orgasm or climax, deep or heavy breathing is required. Is sex good without orgasms? It can be. But let's not act like climaxing ain't our preference. When you make or hear a lot of heavy breathing going on, oftentimes that's an indicator that some plateaus are transitioning over to the orgasms portion of the program. Yeah, heavy breathing is like music to a lover's ears.

2. Moaning

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Moaning is an interesting—and very common—sex sound. The reason why I say "interesting" is because the definition of moan is actually about a sound that we make in response to physical or mental suffering. The only real exception is when it comes to sex. In that case, it's typically a response to super intense or inexplicable pleasure. It's when something feels so good and incomparable that there really is nothing else that can be said; all that comes out are random low-pitched hums that translate into being moans.

3. Panting

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Out of all of the sounds that can be made during sex, probably my personal favorite is panting. While it does consist of heavy breathing, when you pant, it's more than just a physical response to sexual stimulation.

Panting for your partner means that you deeply desire them; that you yearn for more of…whatever it is they are doing (or are about to do).

I once penned an article for the site entitled, "Experts Believe Passion (Not Love) Makes Sex Better. You Agree?" I'd venture to say that all of the heavy pant-ers around the world would totally agree.

4. Grunting

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If your man ain't doing, at least a little bit of grunting, I'll be blunt—he needs to put in more work. In short, grunting is what we tend to naturally do when we're exerting effort. When it comes to sex, it oftentimes happens while thrusting is going down. If a man never grunts, I've got questions. And a few side-eyes. I'm just sayin'.

5. Screaming

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Although screaming is oftentimes incorporated with fear, there tends to be another reason why we do it; it's in order to release any suppressed emotions that we might have. That said, one of the reasons why I encourage the wives that I work with to be cognizant of how they turn down their husband when they aren't in the mood is sex is one space where a lot of women are 100 percent vulnerable. Rejecting the sex sometimes translates as rejecting them and that doesn't just bruise their ego; it can literally hurt their feelings.

But you know what? A lot of us pin up certain thoughts and feelings until coitus is going down. Then we totally let loose. So, if you're a screamer, while it could be that you're in the middle of having a really intense orgasm, what it can also mean is you're a big time suppressor and sex is the only place where you're comfortable "losing it". Definitely something to think about.

6. Laughing

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Any die-hard Insecure fan will remember the episode where Issa was having a Tinder date with Luke James's character. As he was trying to seduce her, she started incessantly giggling (bless her heart). It was basically her first time getting back out there since she broke up with Lawrence, so things were a bit awkward. So yeah, sometimes we laugh during sex because we're self-conscious. However, another reason why we do it is because we're actually overjoyed. We either feel so safe or so satisfied in the moment that we don't know what to do but laugh. How precious is that?

7. Dirty Talking

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I've got a girlfriend who absolutely hates the word "p—sy". She thinks it sounds gross and is totally degrading. That is, until it's time to have sex. Then she and her husband are suddenly fluent in it. Dirty talking is interesting because it's basically a way for you and your partner to gas each other up, cheer each other on…tap into one another's "nasty" side.

There's a scientific angle to all of this as well.

Did you know that when we dirty talk during sex, it activates the same side of our brain that cussing comes from? They say that folks who cuss are more honest and people who dirty talk during sex are way more open and relaxed.

It's a surefire way to heighten arousal, tap into each other's fantasies, and express yourself in a way that doesn't really "fit" other than when it comes to bedroom action.

8. Words of Affirmation

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Let's see. When I think of words of affirmation as it relates to sex, Kelly Rowland's song "Motivation" comes to mind. It's not about barking instructions or stressing your partner out with incessant demands (oh, those kinds of partners exist, y'all. I counsel them often); it's about letting your partner know what you adore about them, what turns you on and what they are doing right. It's about esteeming them so much that they want to give you more of what you need to get more of what you want. Words of affirmation definitely has its place in the bedroom. Great sex partners speak it frequently.

9. Silence

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There's a guy that I know who actually hates to make any sounds during sex. He grew up believing that sex outside of marriage was wrong (not so "wrong" that he's not doing it, though) and so he has some guilt during the act. Hmph. The interesting thing is that a lot of people who are silent during sex also carry some level of fear, apprehension, self-consciousness or yep—guilt. When sex is good, it's hard to not say anything, so if you are playing the "quiet as a mouse" game (and you don't have kids), chances are that either you're scared to totally let lose or—and this one really sucks—the sex is bad. I mean, really bad.

Just think about it—it's hard to watch a 30-minute sitcom in complete silence. You're gonna laugh, say "hmph" or something. That's because the show entertained or stimulated you in some way. How is it that a program can pull something out of you, but copulation can't? Yeah, exactly.

10. Faking

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When it comes to faking orgasms, women do it. Men do it too. And while a lot of people "pride" themselves on how well they are able to pull that off, I personally believe that if a person is truly in tune with their partner, they can tell, even if it's via subtle differences, when something is…off.

And just why do people fake it? The answers vary. Sometimes it's to hurry up and get the act over with. Sometimes it's to avoid hurting their partner's feelings. Sometimes it's because someone would rather act like they are pleased than actually show their partner how to please them. Whatever the reason, at the end of the day, it's pretty counterproductive. Plus, just think about what faking it means. It means that you are being deceptive and fraudulent. Not only that, but a lot of times, folks who fake orgasms are being super over the top, unnecessarily so, too. Out of all of the sounds that I've shared, since sex sounds are a form of communication, why would you want to convey to your spouse that you are being disingenuous? That's not helping your relationship or your sex life. Not one bit.

Like I said at the top of all of this, nothing that we do (or don't do) during sex is for naught. Whether we realize it or not, we've got the reasons for what we do—and how we sound. Think about that the next time you're with your partner and sex sounds start coming out. You both may be communicating some things that you never considered before; some things that, for the sake of your connection—both in and out of the bedroom—you both need to hear.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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