Ever wonder how your orgasm sounds compared to other people's? Well, good news — you can figure that out by consulting Bijoux Indiscrets' orgasm sound library, which features colorful sound maps that visualize the peaks and valleys of the sound waves people make when they moan in pleasure.
Showcasing the vast differences in how people experience sexual pleasure was part of the impetus behind the orgasm sound library, a project that collects recordings of real people having real orgasms. Elsa Viegas, the creator and co-designer of erotic e-shop Bijoux Indiscrets, says that the company started the orgasm library so that all people, but especially women, could shed any expectations or anxiety about their sex sounds. "It's important to empower women to enjoy their sex lives, and enjoying it is also forgetting about what it's 'supposed to' be or 'supposed to' sound like," she says.
The orgasm sound library celebrates its 2-year anniversary this month, and the creators have collected some interesting insights into sexual pleasure all over the world. Take those sound maps, for example. At first glance, they're just a fun and colorful way to look at the orgasms that people have uploaded to the sound library. But, mapping out the sound waves from each orgasm also paints a pretty picture of the vastly different ways people experience sex.
Despite the snowflake tendencies of orgasms, there are some interesting connections from country to country. "It's amazing to discover that some countries are 'loud' and the art representation is explosive, full of color and with big shapes, and some countries are 'low' and the art representation is minimal and 'shy,'" Viegas says. It might have something to do with how people in "loud" countries were socialized differently than people in "low" countries. Maybe people in "loud" countries feel that they need to perform during sex, and so the moans are less-than-genuine. Or, maybe those people feel free to express their pleasure, neighbors be damned. We just don't know.
Even though data collected from the orgasm library can't tell us why someone might moan louder than someone else, the project is built around surveys that do examine the ways in which our sex lives are affected by porn, pop culture, and social myths. Bijoux Indiscrets sent online questionnaires to more than 1,400 people, asking about their first sexual experiences, the porn they watch, how often they orgasm, and whether or not they fake it, among other aspects of their sex lives. "We got some very 'scary data,' some of which we already were suspicious about," Viegas says. Many of the people Bijoux Indiscrets spoke to said that moaning or screaming was the only way to know if sex was pleasurable. And more than half of women surveyed said that they fake orgasms because they don't want to hurt their partners' feelings.
These kinds of assumptions about sex — that you have to be loud, or that orgasm is the only way to show a partner that you had a good time — are what make the orgasm sound library important, even though some question why listening to other people orgasm does anything more than get people off (which is great, too!). "We needed to not only share the results [of our study], but also show that there is no right or wrong sound of pleasure," Viegas says. "Pleasure is so plural and diverse, just like women are."
More than just showing an array of sexual pleasure, the library gets people talking. Scrolling through recordings of more than 1,500 orgasm sounds generates curiosity and starts conversations, Viegas says. And that's hardly a bad thing. After all, we know that talking about sexual likes and dislikes can help people get over sexual anxieties. So it makes sense that listening to other people orgasm could make people feel better about their own sex sounds.
Read these stories next: