how loud is too loud?

Image from here.

Following yesterday’s post, I wanted to ask the question about whether there is such a thing as sex being too loud in romance and erotica.

I’ve already made my opinion known about scenes of orgasmic screaming, but what about those in which the bottom – or the chick if it’s m/f – muffles his cries of ecstasy by biting lips, pillows, ball gags ;), etc?

To be honest, I quite like the latter because it conveys, to me at least, the sheer intensity of what the character is feeling.

Actually, I probably enjoy it just as much as his/her lover when they finally lose control completely and yell out their pleasure. Just call me voyeur. *g*

What do you think though? How loud is too loud?

About Kris

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45 Responses to how loud is too loud?

  1. Val says:

    Whoa, Kris, how do you keep thinking about all these great questions? (Plus another great image) I'm truly in awe …

    How loud is too loud? I've got to admit that the thought of loudness doesn't bother me as much as the word choice.

    I read this one m/m in which the two lovers wailed. We're talking constantly. And, I'm sorry, but that just isn't manly enough for me, ha, ha! Wailing makes me think of colicky infants.

    I've also read m/m where the lovers whine and mewl. I'm not fond of either, especially the mewling. I'm finding it hard to picture what that would even sound like. Possibly like a kitty with an upset stomach?

    On the other hand, it's totally all right with me if m/m lovers moan discreetly, groan, whimper, and even scream. I mean, they've got to do something, right?

  2. JenB says:

    If they're alone and don't share walls with anyone, I like loud. I don't understand why anyone would bother trying to muffle their own noise or their lover's noise in an empty house. But that's just me.

    If they're not alone (sharing walls, sharing a home, staying in a hotel/dorm, etc.), the loudness makes me cringe. Unless, of course, someone else in the building notices and appreciates the loudness…and then maybe decides to investigate and join in, or just starts a party of their own. Then I approve! 😀

  3. Jenre says:

    I like to know they are enjoying themselves so loudness works for me. It's also quite sexy when they are supposed to be keeping it quiet for whatever reason and are finding it really hard to stop making a bit of noise.

    Moaning and groaning are the manly sounds, mewling and shrieking maybe not :).

  4. Tam says:

    “Possibly like a kitty with an upset stomach?”

    Dying here people, dying. Too funny.

    Muffling it is good and does show intensity, but I don't mind loud where no one can hear you unless you are making a point in the book that someone heard and they at least have the decency to be embarrassed about it. I just remembered a scene in the Addision Albright book (which I'm too lazy to look up the title of) where the younger brother tries to discretely mention to his older brother that the walls between their bedrooms aren't as thick as he thought and while their parents are in town he might want to keep it down. LOL The guys are terribly embarrassed as they THOUGHT they were being quiet. So realistic. They weren't screaming either, just sort of “normal” sounds.

    My little story. I got new neighbors in December. A youngish couple, early 20's maybe. I live in townhouses so share walls. My bedroom against their bedroom. I NEVER heard my last neighbors, mind you they were in their 60's (not that they can't get freaky either but …) Anyway, first night I wake up at 3:00 in the morning. What the hell? I'm laying there … ummm, are they hanging pictures on the bedroom wall? Hammering nails? Oh, I don't think it's nails he's hammerina. LOL He has stamina too. So I was starting to wonder how rude it is to ask someone in the next house to move their bed. But that was the last I heard of them so they must have figured it out and made sure the bed is pulled out enough, or they don't have sex very often. Either one works for me. (Jealousy is an ugly thing. :-P)

  5. I can see how being in a room next to one where loud sex is going on can be a possibility, but being in your own house with the windows and doors closed, how can you hear the sex noises?

    Maybe if your window is open and next to the open window next door, maybe then that's a possibility.

  6. It's too loud when IT'S ALL IN CAPS AND BURSTS THE LITERARY EQUIVALENT OF MY EARDRUMS. Especially when the words repeat a lot.

    It's also too loud when it's mostly a random bunch of letters: Nnnnnngahhhhllllllloooooovvvv

    Otherwise, I have found that I, too, like that loss of control that loud sex implies. It also implies sex of the more passionate, sometimes rougher, variety, which I rather like. Not that there's anything bad about slow and gentle, mind you.

    A thing that does bother me is the bottom's need to stuff his fist in his mouth to keep from yelling. Is that even possible? Biting lips, grinding teeth, sucking partner's fingers, using gags…those are all okay by me. But for whatever reason using one's hand or arm to muffle the sound just takes me out of the scene for sec.

    Now I've got some interesting things to think about while I shovel the driveway! Thanks!

  7. Chris says:

    Loud works in many, many books. I think in the specific books we were discussing yesterday, the ALL CAPS PRESENTATION OF THE LOUDNESS maybe influenced us negatively… as well as having loud sex down the hall from one's parents 10 minutes after coming out to them, while they're still adjusting their perceptions.

  8. Helllllllll no. Although it is sexier in m/m romances when he is supposed to be quiet but can't contain himself.

  9. Ingrid says:

    I agree with smokinghotbooks. But sound is good when alone.

    And I love your comic Kris 🙂

  10. K. Z. Snow says:

    I'm with wren on this one, but I'll go a step further and combine her objections. Drives me nuts when the nonsensical strings of letters are all in caps. That's like the verbal equivalent of listening to somebody vomit.

    Yum. Tres sexy.

  11. KZ: Good point. Nonsense Caps = bleah

  12. Kris says:

    Val, it's a gift *and nothing at all to do with random brain waves* what can I say.

    Funny you should mention 'the whine' cos I just read an excerpt with this word used in a sex scene and I thought to myself 'what is he? a dog?' Blech. I also remember that great post you did on the topic of sex descriptors in m/m. Something a number of authors should read.

    JenB: “Unless, of course, someone else in the building notices and appreciates the loudness…and then maybe decides to investigate and join in, or just starts a party of their own. Then I approve! :D”

    Colour me surprised. LOL. I'm with you about cringing where people can over hear you unless, of course, it's deliberately done so as to entice a 3rd to join in then I'm all for it. ;D

    Jenre: Yep, the sex-in-a-public-place-so-we-have-to-be-really-quiet-or-at-least-try-to-be scenes can be extremely hot reads.

    Kittens mewl and banshees shriek. Just sayin'.

  13. Kris says:

    Tam, I've already talked to you about your green-eyed voyeuristic tendencies, naughty girl. 😉

    I remember that AA book. That was a hilarious scene. I also just read a similar one in TC Blue's Conventional Educational, although it was less funny and more scary because one of the guys aren't out yet.

    Katiebabs chook: Is this like a tree falls in a forest thing? Like, if there's no voyeur to hear it does that mean the sex is LOUD??

    Wren, maybe it's cos your worried about where he's just put his fist??

    My fave sex nonsense word is 'ungh'. You read that quite a bit.

  14. Kris says:

    Chris, true. Perhaps an issue was also the content of that all caps screaming; for eg, SHOOT THAT MOTHERFUCKING LOAD. Probably not exactly what a recently come-out-to-parent wants to hear.

    KC: “Although it is sexier in m/m romances when he is supposed to be quiet but can't contain himself.”

    Oh yeah. Definitely delicious. Yum.

  15. Kris says:

    Ingrid: The comic seemed very appropriate to this topic. A fated find. 🙂

    KZ: I now have this image of someone vomiting upper case nonsense letters. It's actually quite fun… albeit not sexy in the context of what we're talking about. Stupid random brain.

  16. Tam says:

    I love “ungh”. That's a great word. I can hear it in my brain, sometimes there is no other way to write that sound.

  17. I like “nngh” too.

    If whimper and mewl aren't good words for those little sounds ones makes (usually before or after the big sounds), what other words would you use?

  18. Chris says:

    “Nngh” and “ungh” so work in this context.

    Heh, go look up “whimper” or “mewl” at None of the synonyms work for those quiet little noises. I think “whimper” works, actually.

  19. Lily says:

    I don't have a problem with loud sex although I don't think it needs to be written ALL IN CAPS.

    As for the words, I detest mewl and wail in all forms.

    Reminds me of cats.

    Give me a good old-fashioned yell and shout. I'm iffy on scream and roar, the first makes me think of pain and roar brings to mind shifters.

  20. Lily says:

    I do like nngh, ungh and whimper, too.

  21. Kris says:

    Tam, Wren & Chris: Yeah, 'ungh' is a great word.

    I just looked it up, Chris, and you're right none of those sounds really work in a sex scene context. At least we now know where the whines, mewls and wails come from though now. LOL.

    Oh, and I kind of like the word whimper too. 🙂

    Lily: 'I'm gonna make you mewl' doesn't exactly have the same effect as 'I'm gonna make you scream' does it. LOL.

  22. Tam says:

    Yeah, I like whimper. Actually I'm pretty easy going although mewling is a bit odd, it's just a weird word in general, say it 10 times in a row, it starts to sound totally stupid then. Wail? Whatever, doesn't bother me.

  23. K. Z. Snow says:

    This is from an actual story. I kid you not.


    “YAAAAAA. YAAAAA.” That was me.

    “AAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH. CHCHE. CHCHE. CHCHE.” It was like he had the hiccups.

  24. Tam: But if you say any word too many times it sounds weird. Try “the”. Am I right?

    And gosh KZ, was that from literotica? I get a picture in my head of someone sitting at the computer, trying to remember all the sounds he makes during sex, sounding them out!

  25. Chris says:

    KZ, you tease! What story?

    Groaning, panting, gasping… those are good.

    *wishing this book would get to the good stuff so I can see how it's handled*

  26. nichem says:

    I like loudness in books. I haven't come across mewling in a book yet, though. That sounds odd. Was the person a werecat or something? I am kinda tired of the guys yelling “need” and “mine”, though (or maybe I've just been reading too much Sean Michael lately). Does anyone really say that during sex, btw?

    Loud sex in real life is a different story entirely. Don't like it so much then (well, unless I'm involved in the sex of course). Twice recently I've stayed at hotels with very loud people in the next room. One of those times, the couple watched a porn flick at full volume before actually going at it themselves. Fortunately my kids slept through it cuz that would've been really awkward otherwise.

  27. Tam says:

    Yeah, I like whimper. Actually I'm pretty easy going although mewling is a bit odd, it's just a weird word in general, say it 10 times in a row, it starts to sound totally stupid then. Wail? Whatever, doesn't bother me.

  28. Tam says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Tam says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Chris says:

    Um, you ok there, Tam?!

  31. nichem says:

    Tam just really wanted us to know how much she likes whimpering. 😛

  32. What about ploot ploot uh huh?

  33. Tam says:

    Yeah, well whimpering is HOT!!!!

    My internet is so screwed. LOL

  34. Hmm…I like the ones where they have to bury their faces in hands, arms, whatever's handy to stifle themselves. I'm super quiet, so I dunno. I actually had a boyfriend ask me if I was enjoying myself because I was so quiet. What can I tell you? I'm shy! lol

  35. Oh! I have to share this. Heh.

    Many years ago, I was with a group of friends (3 of us girls and 1 guy). My friends were all drinking (not me 'cuz I'm a good lil girl *snorts*) and we ended up staying the night at the guy's studio apartment. My friend S & I shared a mattress on the floor and the other girl slept up on the bed with the guy.

    It's about 1 or so in the am and we're all drifting off to sleep when I hear J & M making out. We were in this itty-bitty studio not even 5 feet from the bed and we could hear EVERYTHING. And I do mean EVERYTHING. This went on for HOURS! Oy! I've never been so disgusted in my life.

    So…yeah, if there are more than two people in the room and it's not a menage…do not start having sex, yeah? Sheesh!

  36. Kris says:

    KZ: Sounds more like a mating call if you ask me.

    Richelle: “or maybe I've just been reading too much Sean Michael lately”

    Yes. That is all.

    PS – 'Mine' has to go with 'pounding' or it doesn't work, imo.

    Tam, can you clarify what you think about whimpering cos I'm a little confused?

    Katiebabs chook: That sounds like the chorus in a bad arse rap song. 😉

    Hey Shy Bridget. 🙂 Maybe the guy had hopes of enticing you into a threesome, but still… *scrunches nose* Also, kind of awkward the morning after, especially if either of the people regret it. They can't exactly call the other person I liar since there were witnesses can they.

  37. K. Z. Snow says:

    DING-DING-DING! Wren's a weener! Yup, Literotica, a treasure trove of orgasmic exuberance.

    I'm sorry Chris. And I apologize to the author, too, since I should have named the story right off the bat. Credit where credit is due.

    That was from “Ethan's Wife.” But I think it involves two guys.

  38. K. Z. Snow says:

    Well duh, Kris, it is a mating call.

  39. Argh-uh, Argh-uh, chee, chee, chee!

    I've never been a weener before.

    It's kind of…slippery O_o

  40. Kris says:


  41. Chris says:

    I love how out of control Kris' comment section always gets.

  42. Kris says:

    That kinda implies that there was some sort of order to this madness in the first place, Chris.

    Umm, yeah… no.

  43. Tam says:

    I have a story similar to Bridget's. In my last year of high school one of my friends had an apartment. (Yes, a 17 year old was allowed her own apartment, go figure). She had a roommate so two beds in the one bedroom but I used to stay over when the roommate was away. Party central anyway.

    Well one night I felt crappy so went to bed while a party was going on. Well my friend and her boyfriend sneak in thinking I'm asleep and she proceeds to give him a handjob. Ack! Then he starts going on about “you should use your mouth”. I was all young and innocent (well of that stuff). LOL Do you have any idea how HARD it is to lay there and not fidget when you can't? I never did say anything but I'm telling you I didn't forget. Being 5 feet away even though they were quiet I could hear them whispering.

  44. Emilie says:

    Jordan doesn't do this, but in some of the other books I edit, characters whine and mewl, growl animalistically if they're werewolves, roar or purr if they're cat shapeshifters… I've especially been recommending that the whining and mewling should be taken out, and the “he growled” dialogue tags should be kept to a minimum.

  45. Kris says:

    Tam, I don't believe it. You were young and innocent? You???

    Emilie: Don't forget the howling. 🙂 Animalistic noises occur frequently in shape shifter sex scenes. The purring is the one that always freaks me out the most. After all, you don't often read about werewolves barking do you so why would werecats purr. It's weird.

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