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There’s talk about women faking orgasms during sex but what about fake moaning? We learn a lot about how to act during sex from the media and porn but what if all those high-pitch, passionate screams we are bombarded with taught us to moan for something other than our own pleasure?

Female pleasure or lack of in heterosexual sex is a freshly debated conversation. Research from Planned Parenthood suggests that 1 out 3 women have trouble reaching orgasm during sex. Of course, sex is more than orgasming but that means that more than 30 percent of women are trying to have an orgasm and can’t. It’s not that surprising considering we just found out how powerful the clitoris is in 2009 (wait, what?).

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This difficulty getting off is probably why a whopping 80% of women fake orgasms. That’s 80% of women! That’s a lot of oohs and aahs when there should be vocalizations telling your partner what to do. I mean I get it. I’m totally guilty. I used to fake all the time (and sometimes still do). It’s just so much easier to pretend and make your partner feel good than to have the awkward conversation about how to navigate your pleasure spots.

But are all the oohs and aahs during sex fake, as well? This new study suggests that a lot of the noise women make with their male partners isn’t primarily out of pleasure. Rather, 66 percent of women said they moan to make their partner cum faster and 87 percent they made noise during sex to boost their partner’s self-esteem.

Women also reported moaning to relieve boredom, fatigue and pain and/or discomfort during sex.

So basically women are moaning for male pleasure, not their own. It’s important to note that this research was done on heterosexual couples. It would be interesting to explore this in same-sex couples or polyamorous relationships.

Personally, I understand the pressure to moan for your male partners. So many of the men I’ve been with (both bad and good) have been so attached to the idea of making me cum. I once had a boyfriend walk out of our bedroom in anger because I couldn’t orgasm (I started faking it after that). But in conversations on how to make sex more pleasurable for women, men also need to understand their role and stop putting pressure on women to get off just to validate their sense of masculinity.

For me to orgasm, I need to relax. And I can’t relax if I’m worried about my partner’s self-esteem.

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The research isn’t surprising at all. But it does show us how much work needs to be done for women to claim their bodies and pleasure during intercourse. Not only are women faking the climax but are also faking a lot of pleasure leading up to it. And that’s troubling.

Of course, the pressure to make noise could be from too much Sex and City and the thousands of porn clips with women clutching the sheets and making loud vocalizations. The media teaches us that we should be moaning in ecstasy during in sex instead of telling partners what we want.

How do we begin the process of making sex more pleasurable for women? It will be a long road but reducing shame around female sexuality is a start.

Top photo screenshot from Harry Met Sally

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Journalist and Stripper. Reporting on sex work specific challenges and the secret lives of women with autism. Co-founder of the FckShameProject. Follow her unfiltered stories of the industry at @nudereporter

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