The other day, while trolling a few sexuality-related forums, I found a question that kinda struck a chord with me. A woman asked how she could encourage her husband to be more vocal in bed. She asked if anyone had ever been with a lover who, aside from the fact that they were actively having sex, showed no outward signs of enjoying it...and how to get them to change that.

I've been in that situation before. But it wasn't my partner. It was me!

When M and I met, I was completely open with him. I even went so far as to tell that I have a rather high libido, and I will go searching for sex elsewhere if he can't keep up. I wasn't telling him I'd cheat, mind, but that I'd want an open relationship. After our first honest conversation about the potential between the two of us, there was no confusion about how much I love most things sexual.

You can imagine my embarrassment when we got down to it, and I was way too shy to express my pleasure vocally. All the questions running through my mind during sex had rendered me mute.

What if I sound dumb? I certainly don't sound like a porn star. What if my moans of pleasure sound like a dying calf to him?

Plus, I'm loud. Not just when I'm having sex, but in general. I have issues with background noise, so I yell to make up for it, as if that somehow makes the sounds I'm trying to hear more clear. Logical it is not, but it's true! What if someone else hears me?

So instead of risking traumatizing the neighbors or turning him off with my ear-splitting yowls, I bit my lip and clenched my teeth and...didn't make a single sound during intercourse for at least a month.

 Eventually, M said to me, "I can't tell if you actually like sex with me, or if you just endure it because you want to be with me on an emotional level." and all the comments of the guys I'd been with before came back to me in a rush.

I was frustrated. There are all sorts of signs a person is into sex besides just the noises they make! The way they smell, the shape of their genitals, the look on their face, their breathing...why did this one thing mean so much to him? I didn't get it! But I made an attempt to be a little more vocal since he'd expressed an interest.

The aforementioned woman, though, said she'd tried talking to her husband every which way, and he just wasn't complying. Fifteen years of marriage, and she still isn't sure her husband is as turned on as she is when they have sex because he's quiet as a mouse the whole time.

 And that's where this situation gets tricky. Because here's the thing: If it's been fifteen years (or five, or sometimes even one), and they've discussed how quiet he is, chances are, being vocal just isn't his thing. It doesn't mean he's not interested, or that she doesn't turn him on. It just means he doesn't express his pleasure with sound. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Because it happened to me, I'm willing to bet there are a number of you going throughthe same thing. And whether you're married with kids, or you just started having intercourse with your partner, not knowing whether or not they're into having sex with you is really hard! But there are some things you can do to combat the anxiety.

Observe your partner in all situations and learn how they express their non-sexual pleasure. Do they yell when their favorite team scores? When their favorite band steps on stage, do they “woo” or clap politely? When something good and out of the ordinary happens to them, are they rowdy with their celebration, or are they the type to respond with a nonchalant, “That's cool.”? Because if they don't hoot and holler about at least one of these things, chances are, they're never going to piss your neighbors off with their moaning. Which could be a good thing.

If they are louder than the average bear about non-sexual things, then try letting them know how much hearing their pleasure turns you on. It's possible they're embarrassed or worried what you'll think of their sexy sounds, and it's just easier (and less of a mood killer) for them to be quiet.

But if it turns out being vocal during sex just isn't something they're into, then you have to learn to accept it and find other ways of recognizing their pleasure. They're there. All you have to do is look.