call of the wild
June 3, 2008 9:32 AM   Subscribe

In pornographic videos (I'm told that) 100% of the actresses are, uh, highly vocal. What's the percentage among women in real life?
posted by paphun123 to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not the most experienced dude out there, but I think many, many people (men and women) make some sort of vocalization during moments of shared intimacy.

However, I think the dialog-type stuff you hear in porn if fairly uncommon, or at least more along the lines of fetish-type behavior, at least in my fairly limited sample size (less than 20,000 2,000 200 20 women). Then again, maybe I don't inspire a running commentary...
posted by maxwelton at 9:49 AM on June 3, 2008

Do you mean moaning/vocalization during "orgasm" or talking dirty?
posted by tatiana wishbone at 9:51 AM on June 3, 2008

I don't think this is answerable unless you have a microphone in every bedroom -- maybe someone in the secret police in a repressive state would be able to provide accurate statistics?

Purely anecdotally, I can report that some women are completely silent, others vocalize, and some make an effort to mimic the vocalizations of porn actresses, which sounds to my ears just as weird in the bedroom as it does in a movie. Sex is a social behavior -- you take cues from others and learn from the examples in front of you, and sometimes people learn from porn (or, learn to please a partner who wants a real-life copy of what he sees in porn).
posted by Forktine at 10:00 AM on June 3, 2008

Response by poster: I meant nonverbal vocalization: moans, groans, grunts, yelps, screams, gasps, gurgles, take your pick. Weapons-grade pandemonium asks a good question too, how much of it is acting to make the experience more intense for everyone in the room. So, acting or not, are those seemingly quiet types exercising their vocal cords behind closed doors?
posted by paphun123 at 10:01 AM on June 3, 2008

Well I certainly dont have the breast.... err breadth of experience of most folks (not to mention your average porn actor) but I imagine it varies considerably with the individual. I been with women who were almost silent and one whose vocals threatened to deafen me, crack the windows and bring the cops. I mentioned to her that while I appreciated the enthusiasm, she really didnt need to go to all that trouble, it's not like I was leaving. She said something like, "What the hell are you talking about?" It was just normal for her.
posted by elendil71 at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2008

By "highly vocal" do you mean "an enthusiastic moaner or screamer" or do you mean "chatty?" Oh, you just answered that.

In my experience relatively few people are chatty or into "dirty talk" (maybe 10% by measurement of wild-ass guess?) and a somewhat larger population -- let's call it in the range of 30% and then laugh at the arbitrary number -- are frequently enthusiastic nonverbal noisemakers. The remaining majority of people seem to keep their lovemaking noises at least somewhat moderate, and some people are nearly silent. But my experience is hardly going to be representative of the population in general.

"100% of the actresses..."

Your source has access to an insufficient variety of porn. There's plenty out there with fairly quiet actresses who seem to be either quietly enjoying themselves or simply focusing on their partner.

"So, acting or not, are those seemingly quiet types exercising their vocal cords behind closed doors?"

I've found no correlation whatsoever between how sexually vocal someone is and how socially vocal someone is. It might exist, but I've never seen a link. Some socially quiet folks are screamers, some aren't.
posted by majick at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2008

I meant nonverbal vocalization: moans, groans, grunts, yelps, screams, gasps, gurgles, take your pick.

In my experience every woman does this to a lesser or a greater extent, no one (in my experience) is ever silent. Actually screaming though is less common, but a moan or a grunt is just natural. Of course this is in no way representative of anything and it proves nothing, but there it is.
posted by ob at 10:15 AM on June 3, 2008

representing for the screamers.

Seriously, it depends on how intense the session is. It's not about words, it's all involuntary response. I can't see how anyone could stay silent.
posted by misha at 10:32 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

In pornographic videos (I'm told that) 100% of the actresses are, uh, highly vocal.

This is incorrect, so you're starting out from a faulty premise when you ask a seemingly impossible question to answer. It's similar to noting that all action hero males have well defined muscles, and then asking how many men in real life have well defined muscles. At least with the muscle question, you could at least look at men and count them all up. Sex is (usually) a private act, so people aren't going to admit what they do behind closed doors usually and there's not way to look behind those closed doors.

Also you don't seem to be taking into account the different kinds of porn or even the different cultures which may liberate or oppress women from being vocal in the bedroom. Hell, you're not even taking into account the various changes a woman might go through over the course of her life, where she might start out one way and then gradually (or suddenly!) transition to another or it might vary from lover to lover or even with a single lover.

It's almost impossible to know this answer with any certainty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on June 3, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed - this question is in shaky territory anyhow, please try to answer it and not be like "oh hey I had sex once" thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2008 [5 favorites]

Best answer: What's the percentage among women in real life?

This review indicates there is no scientific data to answer this question. The paper notes that one unpublished survey of 400 18-19 year old college students found a "large majority" of men and women reported making nonverbal vocalizations (NV) during sex. No percentages are given. Women are reported being somewhat more likely to vocalize in this manner.

Analysis of audio of married couples having sex found that female, but not male, NVs intensified with heightened arousal. Video recordings of female genitals during masturbation suggest the sounds are correlated with the contraction of the perivaginal muscles.
posted by dgaicun at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2008

A friend of mine once told me that if you yell / scream while going through the scary drops and loops on a roller coaster, it intensifies the sensation.

That said, I think that in order to fully answer this question, one would have to have both had sex with many, many female partners, and have watched lots of porn, to understand what "vocal" means. I don't exactly qualify, for one reason or the other.

But I understand that the percentage is less than 100% of women.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2008

I'm not a stud or anything, but in my experience I'd say about 20-30% of women have been uncomfortably loud for me in my apartment-with-thin-walls.
posted by rhizome at 11:31 AM on June 3, 2008

What's the percentage among women in real life?

Anecdotally, about 86.3 percent of women make sexy subhuman noises if you're doing the right (?) things... though about 10 percent of those, pace jabberjaw, make a little too much noise for my taste. People get more vocal as they get less guarded, so early-relationship sex is sometimes held-back, in my experience. Later, as everyone gets more comfortable, all of you will be less guarded and the 'natural' noises will follow. Heck, I'm pretty sure I descend into some kind of reflex guttural caveman state, myself, at the right (?) moments.

Silence creeps me out. I think: What's next, lights out missionary while wearing nightgown and cap?

I don't know if it's insulting, really, or just distracting.
posted by rokusan at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2008

Best answer: 83%. A further 32% of those will cause your housemates, the ones who live two floors above you and listen to music on their headphones while they sleep, to pointedly talk to you about how little they slept last night because "someone" was "being rather loud last night", and a further 16% will actually cause structural damage to the dwelling the activity takes place within during the course of the activity. I will be publishing these figures in a noted research journal shortly, so do be on the lookout.

Hope that helps.
posted by cmonkey at 12:25 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Even asking someone for their anecdotal self-vote won't help... I used to think of myself as a screamer, until one day when I apologized to a girlfriend for half-deafening her.
Her: What do you mean?"
Me: "... When I screamed.."
Her: "You just kinda said, 'Uh-uh-uh'. That's what you usually say when you come."

Wow. NO reliable self-awareness at that point!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:23 PM on June 3, 2008

In the movies, they're acting. They're indicating to you, the viewer, who is not the one fucking them, that they are indeed having a great time.

It is not unusual to make some involuntary noises. Intentional noises which communicate enthusiasm to your partner are also not uncommon, particularly if he seems encouraged/turned on by such. Sometimes, additional motivation towards noisiness is inspired by a tendency towards exhibitionism.
posted by desuetude at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2008

Sometimes a silent type of gal can turn into a more vocal one when in a umm, better situation? (or uh, so I'm told.) YMMV.
posted by CwgrlUp at 2:53 PM on June 3, 2008

Personally, I find that some orgasms are vocal and some of 'em are quiet. They're very special snowflakes.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:55 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

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