My Girlfriend is Too Quiet (In Bed)

originally published on She Said, He Said

Dear Sexes: My girlfriend and I have great sex, but she’s just too quiet when we’re together. I am not saying I need a screamer, but she is completely silent! I really need some feedback, otherwise I feel like she’s not into it. How do I get her to loosen up? If she won’t be more vocal, I’m not sure I can be satisfied. Is that shallow of me?

She Said: It’s not shallow of you…She’s probably got some old issue at work inside of her that needs to be addressed. It could be someone told her to quiet down during sex when she was in a vulnerable place, and now it’s become a habit. If that’s the case, reassure her that you would be over the moon to hear her sounds, even if they feel ridiculous and embarrassing to her.

When you talk to her about it, don’t just say, “I wish you would be more noisy” because to some degree that just seems like another guy asking her to change. Ask her the history of her quietness, where it comes form, what sorts of thoughts go through her mind.

For some women, orgasms are reached through deep concentration, focusing energy, tuning out distractions. That may be causing quietness, but resulting in great pleasure that you can be proud of. If that’s the case, maybe you can convey that while she’s doing that, you’d love some directions on how to give her even more pleasure. There’s a cute scene in Friends With Benefits where they boss each other about how to make the other come… maybe good inspiration?

If, after all that, she is just a girl who is quiet in bed, look for the signs that she’s having pleasure, like the flexing of the abdominal muscles, clenching fists, curling toes, bucking hips, and feel for those awesome pulses of energy during orgasm. Try to focus on those and see if they can substitute for the noise you like so much.

He Said: You want your girlfriend to loosen up? She IS having sex with you. If you want your girlfriend to be more vocal in the bedroom, then YOU should be more vocal, and take the initiative to tell her how you like that, and how it turns you on. If her needs are being satisfied, I’m sure she’ll be happy to oblige you and your preferences.

And maybe your girlfriend is just quiet in between the sheets. It doesn’t hurt to check in and ask how you’re doing (and whether you’re pleasing her needs). Regardless, having a conversation about what you BOTH like is a good way to improve your love life. Sometimes the simplest and most straightforward approach is best.

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About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. I also have this problem. None of the ex’s were silent so it is not the norm and just doesn’t feel right it is harder for the man to get right into it. You recieve no feedback. You ask things like ‘do you like that’ when you stop for just a moment and she ignores the question and totally ruins the mood. It is strange because she has an amazing body which I tell her, I tell her I love her. We have been together for a few years now and have a child, and I really don’t want to leave, but I also really need this problem fixed.

    I seen a comment here about sexual inhibition and I am sure this is the problem. She is inhibited in every part of sex, because I always initiate sex, initiate every position change, and well basically if I took zero initiative on sex then it wouldn’t happen between us. It can be quite depressing.

    Please help!

  2. I am very quiet in the bedroom because I am inhibited in this area of my life. I tell you this information because it may be some issues that are running through her mind. Or perhaps seeing a few different ideas might help.

    I know I am not an attractive or sexy woman. I’m not young. I’m not thin. I’m not without blemishes. All of these flaws go off in my mind like neon signs when I’m unclothed. Even though I really am OK with my own body, I am still very logically aware that the majority of other people (including those I may bed with) are not OK with my body. Society has taught us all, both men and women, the basic lesson that those who are more attractive deserve more sex and attention and pleasure and fulfillment. That’s why the young pretty women are rewarded with those things both in the media and real life and older, bigger, less flawed women receive less of those things. If a woman perceives herself as less perfect, she is going to be aware that others probably agree with her assessment, and she may by way of socialization also perceive herself as less deserving of sexual reward.

    Some women really aren’t that into sex. I know that the women’s movement has made great strides in women’s freedom and liberty to sexual expression, but not ALL women are these hungry tigresses looking to roar their insatiable appetite in the bedroom. Some are simply OK with fulfilling the basic “I need an orgasm” physical act and moving on.

    Not all women view sex as a pair bonding experience. Although it can be, it just as often might NOT be. Are you doing other things together that accentuate the compatibility? My first husband (RIP) and I had a great marriage and we shared numerous hobbies and a profession in common but sex was just simply sex. It was something we did because we were a monogamous couple with physical desires. We bonded most strongly when we went on nature hikes together.

    The writer said something about his happiness depending on her happiness.
    I don’t understand why you would assume that her happiness is portrayed through noise. Have you been socialized to understand that somehow women always squeal or moan or something when they are happy? Most humans I know simply smile or laugh or light up when they are happy. Even physical pleasure generally tends to result in not much more than a quiet little “mmm.” Think about the last time you sunk into a jacuzzi or got a pedicure or back rub. Did you squeal and moan and scream? Or did you just melt into the feeling and remain more or less quiet?

    I disagree with the sentiment that either party should be expected to be more dominant or more submissive in the bedroom. We are what we are, and expecting either partner to change is no more fair than asking the other one to.
    That being said, if both parties are silent, they may be waiting on the other to get started. Beginning something is not the same as dominating it. You might try asking her. Not asking her to do or say something, but asking her direct questions. “Do you like that? Would you rather I do it this way or that way? Here’s A. Here’s B. Which did you like better? Am I doing it right? Show me where to touch you. On a scale of 1-10 where are you? I like XYZ, do you?”
    She may really want to be more vocal but at the same time maybe she doesn’t want to pretend she’s an actress, role player or porn star. Asking her direct and specific closed ended questions opens the dialogue without either partner feeling like they are being pressured to be the Top or bottom (dominant or submissive) partner.

    I hope these suggestions might help. I am no expert at anything with sex, but a few of these things helped me.

  3. When you are not cleared with Issues of Life most especially Sex thing, the best way out is to get Advice and Understanding, therefore, the writer is perfectly in order of been of good courage to post a sensitive question of this type which many relationships out there are going through but remain silent on it. those mocking this writer should henceforth stop the act. my advice to the young guy is this: when next they are in engaging sex, you should tell her to change style by her coming on top of you or doggy style position and note her reaction. If she connected to you and enjoying every bit of you, from her reaction you will know. For me personally, I hate the noisy type because is a source of distraction to me.

  4. I don’t think he is shallow but I do think that they would probably both benefit if they parted ways. He can find a “noisy one” and great sex and she will find a man who loves her just the way she is. They may be incompatable – she is required act the part of a “noisy one”.

    Most women need to focus to have an orgasm. It might be difficult to have one if she has to put on an act to reassure him. If acting interferes with her enjoyment then it is a losing preposition. That is why I think they should part ways.

    He is not happy and she would probably not be happy if she had to be an actress during what should be a mutually enjoyable intimate act. I am certain she can find a confident man who enjoys great sex with a quiet woman. To each his own.

  5. You want her to speak up. Talk to her while ur having sex. Ask her question like, you like that. be dominant and vocal.

  6. In my 20’s, I was always quiet during sex. My first few boyfriends complained about it. The truth is, I was inhibited. I was afraid to really get into sex and express myself. I rarely had orgasms, in part because I was afraid of losing control and looking ridiculous. The first time I had an orgasm with my first college boyfriend, he teased me about it. Not in a mean way, I think he meant to be affectionate and he hoped to repeat the experience, but it embarrassed me. I only got over these inhibitions with the help of a very patient partner, as well as the benefit of age and experience. At first, to be honest, I started making more noise just to please my partner. Later it became authentic as I got more relaxed. I think the LW needs to talk to his GF and find out why she’s so quiet, not pressure her but find what’s going through her mind and how he can help her. He should also tell her that he would be really turned on if she made more noise. And when she does make some noise, respond by telling her how turned on he is. Maybe they can do role playing where she pretends to be someone else.

  7. Copyleft says:

    If she’s silent during sex, you should stop seeing her immediately.

    Why? Because you’re not getting repeated vocal confirmation of “enthusiastic consent,” and that makes you a rapist. At least, according to some.

  8. “For some women, orgasms are reached through deep concentration, focusing energy, tuning out distractions. That may be causing quietness, but resulting in great pleasure that you can be proud of.”

    I can relate to this one. I can put on a show and love moaning and feedback, but my most intense orgasms are achieved with silence and concentration beforehand (and the weird embarrassing sounds mentioned by ‘Her’ above during or after). It confuses partners sometimes, because I’m moaning and being loud in some sexual encounters and moments, and then I’m not in others. They’ll think that they’ve done something wrong, when in fact they’re doing something RIGHT. I make sure to let them know this, though, which is why communication and compromise are important. Both types of sexual encounters are pleasurable, it’s just the the more intense orgasms are achieved with more focus, as wellokaythen mentions above.

    • It takes some time to become comfortable with your sexual responses, let yourself go, and embrace them. It’s also not very easy to communicate about something as intimate as sex. Good luck to both you and your girlfriend!

  9. wellokaythen says:

    I got the sense from the letter that it’s not just a question of noise but of feedback in general. It sounds like he’s not getting the pleasure or connection that comes from knowing that she’s enjoying having sex with him. This is most obvious when a partner vocalizes something (growl, moan, play-by-play, expletives, shopping list, gossip, etc.), but it may be that what he wants is just a little more of a clear response.

    It may be that her sexuality when she’s with him is just not very vocal. In that case, it would be good to talk to her outside the bedroom, when they’re both fully clothed, and talk about sex. Perhaps she could tell him what she feels when she’s having sex with him, what she likes about it, and what she likes about having sex with him in particular. In short, maybe some feedback outside the bedroom could offset the lack of it inside the bedroom?

    Sometimes people concentrate really hard during sex or otherwise turn inward, and it looks to the partner like the person is unresponsive when it’s actually quite the opposite. She may not be holding back because of some bad experience. It could just be that she turns inward. (Or perhaps he is such an amazing, overwhelming lover that she is speechless. Who knows?) Some people feel like they have to focus deeply in order to have an orgasm.

    Sounds like one more case calling for the standard reply – “Don’t ask us. Ask her!”

  10. Again, Schoma, you’re missing the point. Your job metaphor doesn’t really work, because no one here is talking about something they “don’t enjoy”. This question/issue is about someone’s desire for perfection. Since no one, and nothing is perfect, it’s a fruitless journey to require perfection from others, or else… If this guy wants to leave his girlfriend because their sex is great, but not great enough, he’s shallow. Or at the very least he’s lacking foresight. Also, you need to get your adjectives straight. Great is much better than average or mediocrity. If you want to say their sex is mediocre, you’re misinterpreting things. And KC, everyone has a right to be as picky as the wish in their relationships and life endeavors, but that doesn’t mean all their requests, desires, and standards are reasonable. I’m not trying to hate, but you guys/gals seem like apologists for ANY behavior in a relationship. Argue away.

    • Betty,
      I’m not sure if this topic has hit a personal nerve, if you’re trolling, or if you are seriously looking for discussion because my impression is A) That there is expectation for this to turn into an argument (not just a discussion) and B) that there was a complete disregard for everything that I had said with the exception of one point that you seem opposed to.

      1. There was no comment on my statement regarding great sex not being the same as satisfying sex, and this varies based on how each person defines “great sex” and “satisfying sex.” I for one do not consider them the same thing; I don’t, and he may not. Furthermore, the wording to me also sounds like he’s apologizing for the fact that he isn’t satisfied, it’s like when you tell someone, “Your clarinet solo was great. You did such a great job, but there were a few little places where your pitch was off.” It’s a common way people try to soften when they’re being critical or feeling guilty of being critical because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feeling.

      2. There was no answer about what if the roles were reversed? What if it was a woman saying that she wasn’t feeling satisfied in bed or that even though her partner is great and meets her physical needs, maybe he lasts a long time, maybe he knows just the right way to push her buttons to make her orgasm, but she doesn’t feel like he’s really enjoying the sex or she feels like maybe he’s thinking about something else. Would you call her shallow for this or would you commend her? This is an important question to answer. If you would consider her shallow too, well then that’s a clear personal opinion of how you view sex in a relationship. If you feel like she’s acting in a way that is empowered, then we need to address society’s nasty double standard of “Woman being assertive of sexual needs = empowered. Man being assertive of sexual needs = selfish and shallow asshole.”

      3. There is no response to the fact that the guy never once says that he wants to leave his girlfriend or is planning on leaving his girlfriend over this issue. That is a false assumption that has been added to the conversation by commentators. Wait?! A guy is saying that he is unsatisfied with sex if his partner doesn’t enjoy herself and suddenly he’s considered “shallow and lame?” A guy is saying he’s enjoying getting his release, but he’s not going to be happy just stabbing blindly in the dark because he wants to know he is doing what his partner enjoys and he’s “shallow and lame?” A guy goes out and attempts to get help on how he can improve his situation so that he can stay happy within his relationship and he’s called “shallow and lame?”

      Seriously how can this poor guy win? If he does nothing he remains unsatisfied and maybe down the road decides to just quit and he’s considered shallow since his needs aren’t being met. If he goes and trys to get advice on how he can improve things so that everyone wins because he wants to make sure he is pleasing his partner and won’t be satisfied unless he is pleasing his partner he’s considered shallow anyway.

      4. I am not apologizing for his behavior because so far I haven’t seen anything wrong he needs to apologize for. From my reading he is looking to fix and improve things. He is being proactive. He wants to make sure both his and his girlfriend’s needs are being met. I’m also not saying that relationships aren’t a two-way street that involves compromises and agreements; what I’m saying is that if something is a deal breaker for your, or a serious problem for you you shouldn’t just suffer through it because everything else is hunky-dory.

      For example: I have a friend who hates mayonnaise, absolutely despises the stuff. He broke up with a girl because she like mayonnaise. Now me, I don’t like mayonnaise either, but it doesn’t matter to me if my girl likes mayonnaise; we can just keep it on the side and she can eat it on her own. Do I think my friend is silly for this? Yeah, a little, but it’s because to me whether my girl does or does not like mayonnaise is not a deal breaker that’s going to drive me crazy and sit in the back of my mind slowly adding more and more vitriol to my relationship. The way I see it here is the process:

      1. Determine what is a deal breaker, what you would prefer not, what you prefer, and what is a must in a relationship and decide how important each of those things are to you in your future with this person.

      Check: He says that he would prefer if his girlfriend would provide feedback and it is pretty important to him and his sex life. If it wasn’t important why would he feel guilty or worried about being seen as ‘shallow?’

      2. If its not an outright deal breaker and you’re not sure how to address the issue with your partner get advice on how to improve the situation.

      Check: He asked for help on how to bring the issue up with his partner. He is pursuing advice.

      3. Address your issue with your partner based on the advice you got and see if you can get things to improve.

      Can’t check this one off because we don’t know if he did so. My guess is that his intention is to take the advice back and address things with his girlfriend. His intention seems to be to improve things, not to just pack his bags and leave.

      4. Take some time to allow for changes to take place. Gently remind and make sure that you are behaving in a way that is positive and uplifting rather than negative or condescending.

      5. If she refuses to take your input into account or you do not see changes taking place, re-evaluate how important this issue really is to you. Is it more or less un-important when compared to the rest of the relationship or is it a big snag that is not going to go away?

      6. If it is otherwise minor in the grand scheme of the rest of the relationship and you can still feel satisfied in your relationship then let it go. If it is going to be an ongoing problem that will continue to diminish the quality of your relationship you’re better off moving on earlier than later.

  11. Artemis: “Well, that kind of sounds like he’s trying to make her pleasure all about his own pleasure.”

    Your point being? At base of it, all people do things for others because it makes them feel better/validates them. Rationalize it how you will – “improving the pair bond” – but it really boils down to accruing the benefits of being an engaged lover. In this case, he merely feels he needs extra feedback to improve the validation experience.

    betty: “In the end, it just sounds like he’s seeking something perfect – something better than “great”. If he’d rather leave the relationship, rather than trying to improve on their greatness, that is, without a doubt, pretty shallow of him.”

    Again, I disagree. There is nothing “shallow” about seeking perfection. I know that for some people the attitude is that it is okay to be okay with mediocrity, but others want the ideal best from their lives – career, relationship and yes, sometimes ridiculously noisy sex. I’m not saying perfectionists have it easy or even that perfectionism is sensible in all circumstances – reality rarely lives up to dreams, else I’d add a few points to my IQ, a few dollars to my bank account and a few inches to… well, doesn’t matter. Point is, if it were me I’d stick around and try to coax a bit more noise from her but if our questioner wants to bail and go chasing the dream then that’s his prerogative. He shouldn’t be expected to stick around in a situation he’s not happy or comfortable with for the sake of not being seen as “shallow” (by anonymous Interwebz commentators, I might add). You wouldn’t stick with a job you don’t enjoy when you could just as easily find one you do. Differing mindsets, is all.

    • “At base of it, all people do things for others because it makes them feel better/validates them.”

      I don’t really view that as a healthy sexual relationship. I would not be comfortable having sex with a man who thinks that my pleasure is all about him. And I would expect the same reaction from a sex partner. That is the same mentality as using a woman’s orgasm to assess your own prowess in bed, and I don’t consider it to be a healthy relationship.

      If you are making your partner’s happiness all about you, that’s a problem. You can share in their happiness, and be glad they are happy, but if you are demanding they be happy because otherwise you are not happy (not because you genuinely care about whether they are happy or not), that is just selfish and egocentric.

      I am not saying the writer is necessarily doing that, there seems to be other evidence he genuinely cares, but that sentence stuck out to me.

  12. You’re missing the point (Stephen and Schoma). The person who wrote the question said he and his girlfriend have “great sex”! Great sounds pretty satisfying to me. So if great won’t satisfy him, then it sounds like he’s trying to make her a perfect puppet. And as Artemis said, it “sounds like he’s trying to make her pleasure all about his own pleasure”. In the end, it just sounds like he’s seeking something perfect – something better than “great”. If he’d rather leave the relationship, rather than trying to improve on their greatness, that is, without a doubt, pretty shallow of him. Again, as I said before, that’s certainly his free will. But let’s not coddle him, or ourselves in his shoes, and pretend that it’s not shallow. It’s lame.

    • KC Krupp says:

      Great sex does not equal satisfying sex. I have been with some partners who were absolutely amazing in bed, and does that mean I was always satisfied or felt fulfilled at the end of the night? No, not always. He might be getting his physical needs met and the sex may be great in that respect, but maybe he just doesn’t feel like he’s connecting with his partner due to her lack of feedback.

      I hear this thing from a lot of people, actually. Usually it’s the other way around where the woman is complaining about her boyfriend and she usually says something like this: “The sex is great, but sometimes I feel like he just isn’t that into it.”

      Now if a woman left a man because he “didn’t seem into it” or because she “just wasn’t quite satisfied” in bed would you call her shallow or commend her for standing up for her own sexual needs? My guess is you would give her a rousing “Good for you, girl.”

      Also why are you stuffing words into the poor guy’s mouth? He never said he wanted to ditch the relationship that’s why he’s trying to get help and advice to improve things.

      Everyone has a right to be as picky about his or her sexual and relationship needs as he or she wants to be. After all he or she is the one who has to deal with his or her decision for the next one, two, five, ten, or even fifty years. I sure wouldn’t want anyone to spend ten years of their life never feeling quite “satisfied.”

    • If he’d rather leave the relationship, rather than trying to improve on their greatness, that is, without a doubt, pretty shallow of him.
      So he is writing in to an advice column for help on how,” to improve on their greatness” and you somehow managed to get figure out he is shallow if “he’d rather leave”?

      And ditto on what KC Krupp said. If this were a woman that wanted something more from her guy (like wanting to cuddle more after sex instead of just falling asleep after a few minutes) I wonder if she would be called shallow.

      But let’s not coddle him, or ourselves in his shoes, and pretend that it’s not shallow. It’s lame.
      I say that its not us coddling him but you trying to shame/insult him for daring to want to speak up about his sexual desires.

      If its that important to him (wanting a partner that’s more vocal) and/or that important to her (if she simply prefers to not be noisy) then this might just be a simple sexual imcompatibility.

    • u are so rediculous. he seems to care about this girl. they have a decent time together. It’s not shallow of someone to have a preference. he likes feedback. I don’t blame him. it can be a little disappointing if u think your not adequate or ur not doing a good job, and silence can be taken that way. nonetheless, he obviously noticed that its not really too important otherwise he wouldn’t have asked what you and I think. it’s reasonable to have a preference. nobody mentioned leaving the girl over the problem. so stop bein so judgemental, and try and understand where he’s coming from

  13. “If she won’t be more vocal, I’m not sure I can be satisfied.”
    Well, that kind of sounds like he’s trying to make her pleasure all about his own pleasure. :/ But the rest of it is a legitimate question.

    It really shouldn’t be that weird to have a conversation with the person he’s having sex with. There may be no previous relationship issue, maybe she’s just not a noisy person. Honestly, if it weren’t for the necessity of positive feedback, I doubt I would make a sound at all.

    Maybe he should start by giving her an example, too. If he’s dead silent during sex also, that probably won’t help make her feel more comfortable about making noise or see the benefit in making noise.

  14. Oh, wow – I had exactly this experience with an ex (I’ll forever remember our sex-life as “The Hunt for Red October” – crude, but true) and felt exactly the same type of insecurities – was she just naturally quiet, or not really enjoying it? We broke up for entirely unrelated reasons – I hope – but I was pretty relieved when the next one turned out to be a noise-maker.

    “Also, it IS sort of shallow of him. ”

    I don’t agree at all, or at least it should be seen as no more shallow than pursuing other types of sexual behaviour (we wouldn’t call a BDSM “shallow” for not wanting to have vanilla sex). If people want noisy sex, they want noisy sex. No one should be expected to settle for a less-than-satisfying sex life.

  15. I have to agree with He Said on this one! Different strokes for different folks. He doesn’t need to freak out too much, they just need to communicate about it. And if he wants a different behavior from her, he can make sure he practices what he preaches. Also, it IS sort of shallow of him. It’s his right to be shallow, but still… If they have “great sex”, but he can’t be satisfied, then it sounds like he’s looking for the perfect puppet, as opposed to a partner.

    • I have to disagree about the shallowness. Sex at its best is an act of connecting with another person — if he needs to hear her to feel connected then that’s important. Would it be shallow if she didn’t talk much during dates and he wanted her to talk more? I don’t think you’d argue that. So why is sex in a relationship suddenly so different?

  16. “You want your girlfriend to loosen up? She IS having sex with you. ”

    What was the point of that?

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