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Factors Influencing Sexual Vocalization in Human Females

Abstract

Human females use numerous signals to attract male attention which can be ultimately motivated by enhanced paternal investment in the offspring. Sexual vocalization is a form of female sexual signaling. The majority of hypotheses attempting to explain the functional significance of vocalizations have been applied on non-human primates, while research on human females is scarce. This study investigated factors underlying sexual vocalization with a sample of 403 heterosexual Slovak females. Sexual vocalization was most frequent during penetration itself compared with other forms of sexual activities, which supports its signaling function. The most frequently reported sexual vocalizations were moaning/groaning, followed by screams and instructional commands, squeals, and words. Both the frequency and intensity of sexual vocalizations were significantly and positively associated with sexual arousal during the last sexual vaginal intercourse and sociosexuality. About 38% of females reported that they pretended vocalization and, in turn, pretended vocalization was exclusively associated with pretending orgasm. No direct evidence was found for any associations between self-reported frequency and intensity of sexual vocalization and partner satisfaction/physical attractiveness/ambition/dominance, self-perceived attractiveness, or occurrence of orgasm. The frequency (but not intensity) of sexual vocalization was positively influenced by the conception risk. On the proximate level, it seems that sexually less restricted females may use sexual vocalization to increase their sexual attractiveness to their current partner by means of boosting their partner’s self-esteem. Enhanced vocalization by sexually unrestricted females may ultimately secure higher paternal investment and increase the confidence of the paternity of current sexual partner.

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Acknowledgments

Three anonymous referees made insightful comments on an earlier draft of this MS. David Livingstone improved the English. This work was partly funded by grant VEGA no. 1/0286/20.

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Correspondence to Pavol Prokop.

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Prokop, P. Factors Influencing Sexual Vocalization in Human Females. Arch Sex Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02018-4

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Keywords

  • Female attractiveness
  • Human evolution
  • Female orgasm
  • Sociosexuality