Do you need a volume control in bed?

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QUESTION:

I”m a pretty uninhibited sort of person and have always been quite voluble in the bedroom. This hasn’t fazed any of my previous boyfriends, and I’ve got to the grand age of 38 without it proving a problem. But my current partner, who is from a very repressed family, is always telling me to “Shh!” when we’re making love - and he’s so quiet in bed. He’s worried the neighbours will hear something, but I think that’s the last thing that should be on his mind at the height of passion. How can I get him to loosen up?

ANSWER:

Many people wish their beloved had a volume control. There are those, like your boyfriend, who are mortified by their partner’s deafening expressions of ecstasy, while others just long for some vocal sign of their sweetheart’s enthusiasm.

I’m not sure which is worse: the lover who wakes the entire street or the one who’s quiet as a mouse. But it seems to me that both examples are disobeying the basic rules of etiquette.

It’s clearly inconsiderate to inflict noisy lovemaking on anyone within earshot, but it’s also discourteous to give no murmurs of encourage-ment to a partner who’s striving for your pleasure.

It sounds as if you and your boyfriend have to find a balance between these two extremes. It’s not just a question of getting him to “loosen up”; you’re going to need to modify your behaviour, too.

Have you tried asking any of your exes if they ever thought you were a little too loud in bed? They may not have mentioned it (I think chaps tend to have more manners than we give them credit for), but they might have longed for a little restraint. At least then you’d know whether your boyfriend has got a reasonable case.

Your boyfriend may have a good point, too, when he worries about the neighbours. In 2009, Caroline Cartwright, from Sunderland, was served with an Asbo after her loud lovemaking was deemed a nuisance for her neighbours.

One resident told the magistrates’ court: “There was a lot of moaning and groaning and screaming, as if in pain.”

Don’t delude yourself that just because previous boyfriends haven’t been deterred by your raucous lovemaking others in the vicinity haven’t been offended.

I stayed in a hotel in Paris a couple of years ago and was kept awake all night by the sound of a neighbouring couple making ear-piercing love.

The woman sounded as if she was auditioning for Meg Ryan’s infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally when she fakes an orgasm in a packed restaurant - only this moaning went on ad infinitum.

Another friend talks dolefully of “the squealer”, who was her flatmate’s girlfriend for one sleep-deprived year.

Having said that, there’s nothing more disconcerting to an exuberant suitor than someone who makes love in hushed shame, like a fugitive. But you have to understand the reasons for such rectitude.

Some, like your partner, have a repressed background where all sexual behaviour was seen as shameful; they will need to be secure in a partner’s love before they can begin to allow themselves to express their feelings.

You don’t want to hector or intimidate your partner if he feels inhibited - it’s far better for you to tone down your own liveliness a little and encourage him to emote.

Did your partner attend boarding school or any similarly regimented institution? Many middle-aged men with that background were trained to keep rowdy emotions in check. I was amused by this passage in U.S. writer Tad Friend’s hilarious account of WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) culture, Cheerful Money: “I realise now that my family and their set equated sex with a loss of control and reputation . . . So sex, like sleep, ought to be practised quietly and in the dark.”

The remark could equally be applied to a generation of British stiff-upper-lip types. You can’t expect such a man simply to stop worrying about the neighbours.

Likewise, you need to bear in mind how mortifying it is to such a soul to be bullied into warbling in bed like a kettle on the boil.

So here’s the deal I think you should strike with your man. He has to stop his shushing in bed because that’s really disconcerting. No one wants their lover to behave like an over-zealous librarian. And it’s reasonable to ask that he expresses enough passion to let you know that he’s close to climax.

But you, in turn, need to modify your noise levels to accommodate his concerns. There’s a difference between carefree self-expression and exhibitionism.

Most of us believe sex is a private matter and should not be shared with the Joneses. Remember that we talk about people making “sweet music” together, not a terrible cacophony. - Daily Mail


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Anonymous, wrote

IOL Comments
08:52am on 1 March 2011
IOL Comments

Well i say tone your volume down a little bit and do it softly in his ear so that he can too feel what you feeling and i promise you he will be making the same maoning sound that you are...maybe even more intense, he'll grasp you even harder.....My husband is exactly the same (do not like to make noise) and i do that as i am still living with my parents and i definetly dont want them to hear me, so i do it softly but hold him against me and moan in his ear and oooooooooohhhhh does he not like that and his sounds are soon to follow.....

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Susan, wrote

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06:39pm on 28 February 2011
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Sheesh...all that just to say "find a compromise"? This isn't even article-worthy...

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masiya, wrote

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06:04pm on 28 February 2011
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i hate a silent partner...the noise spices things up. i cant afford to have my chick silent when making love. i would rather have a real scream than a fake one though.

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Anonymous, wrote

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04:32pm on 28 February 2011
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hear hear Lionel!!

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Lionel, wrote

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01:09pm on 28 February 2011
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The louder the better providing she is not faking it of course or calls out her ex boyfriends name. Nothing worse than silent sex, like going to a live concert and no sound. Noise just adds to the ocassion.

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