Sex talk
Speaking of Sound

Simon Sheppard,

"I went over to this guy's house," says one fellow, "and once we were in bed, he reached over and turned on his sound system. For the next two hours, we fucked to a steady soundtrack of the Ramones, nonstop, loud punk rock." He smiles. "I would have asked him to shut it off, but honestly, the whole experience was so weird that I kind of enjoyed it. Eventually, though, he had to turn it down when his neighbor started banging on the wall."

Whatever one's musical preferences, the era of MP3s has made it simple to program a whole horny evening's entertainment, and the less technologically adept can always push the "shuffle" button on their CD changers. But there's still no accounting for taste. While some men prefer unobtrusive background sounds – the sexual equivalent of elevator music – others go for something a bit more noticeable. And that's when the problems can start. A middle-aged man says, "I was dating a much younger guy, and he wanted to bring over his gangsta rap CDs. He said that he enjoyed having sex to Snoop Dogg, but I had to draw the line."

If music is, as the cliche goes, the food of love, then moaning and groaning is the dripping red meat of lust. Some men find hearing other men getting it on to be infinitely arousing, but that may not be your cup of carnal tea...particularly if the gasping is prerecorded. "Why is it," complains one frequent fucker, "that so many men leave the volume up on the porn videos they play while they're getting it on? It's bad enough to spy a TV from the corner of my eye when I'm sucking cock, but the last thing I want to hear is stilted dialogue and overamped orgasms. And if my partner seems to have learned to speak by listening to those videos...well, I hate to giggle while I'm having sex."

Of course, there's always that old-fashioned fallback – man-to-man conversation. "I know that men are supposed to be visually oriented, but for me there's nothing like hearing another man describe his enjoyment, the more explicit, the better," says a dude into aural sex. "I love phone sex, too. Just hearing dirty words gets me off."

But even short, encouraging phrases like "Yeah, that's it, suck it" – need not be used. Mere groaning, moaning, and heavy breathing can be a sexual symphony. "I make it a point not to censor myself," continues our aural sex fan, "but just let the sounds flow. It's like speaking in tongues, but with a stiffy."

Kinky stuff can be pleasantly noisy, too. One SM fan recalls, "When I walked into my first leathersex party, just hearing the sound of spankings and whippings was totally amazing´┐Żand totally hot."

But then there are those who prefer the sounds of silence. For every man who finds sound – be it thumping techno music or murmured sweet nothings – to be an aphrodisiac, there's another who finds it dick-deflatingly distracting. "I was with this one guy who kept going on and on about how hot I was," says one hottie, "and though it was sorta nice to hear, after a while, I was like, Can't you just shut up?"

As with so much else that's erotically involved, a bit of pre-play conversation may go a long way toward resolving differences. But there can still be sticky moments. Says one man, "Yeah, you can say all sorts of things to your partner while you're in bed. But how can you say, 'Jeez, I really hate your taste in music?'"

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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