Auralism Is the Experience of Getting Turned On By Sound—Here Are 8 Ways To Explore It

Photo: Getty Images/FJ Jimenez
I was re-watching Phantom of the Opera recently, and in the middle of "Music Of the Night," I started to ponder how the Phantom was able to Svengali a smoking hot soprano. No spoilers, but it wasn't because he was a looker. What became clear to me in that moment, as he sang, was that using sound for sexual arousal—aka auralism—is a very real and powerful thing, and you don't need to be a master composer to harness it for your pleasure.

"Auralism is a legitimate sexual fetish, defined as sexual arousal or excitement caused by sound," says Tatyannah King, a sex educator and sex coach with Blex Technologies. "This sound might be music, ASMR-style videos, voices, or natural sounds of sex."

Experts In This Article

Notably, there's been a rise in availability of audio erotica, with audio porn sales skyrocketing ever since quarantine hit and masturbation became widely accepted as a form of self care. And for those to whom the experience of sound is accessible, leaning into auralism can enable the listener to customize their erotic experience, thus amplifying its pleasure effects.

"Using an audio-only platform allows the listener to use their imagination and conjure images that are tailored more to their specific preferences and desires," says Madeline Concannon, a producer at &Jane, an erotic storytelling app. "It leaves more room for your own fantasies to come to life and get lost in a story, while remaining highly engaged with it." So go ahead, tune yourself into sound, and savor each sensation as you explore auralism to increase your pleasure.

8 ways to use auralism and enhance your sexual pleasure with sound

1. Invest in the right headphones

"For those who listen to audio porn and need headphones to maximize sound, I recommend buying Urbanears," King says. "This investment provides excellent and refined sound with deep bass."

Shop Now: Urbanears Plattan 2 Headphones, $30

2. Find the right audio erotica for you

"It can be an audiobook with sexy parts, or it could be a tale designed specifically for the purpose of getting you off," says Searah Deysach, sex educator and owner of sex shop Early to Bed. "If you have a long-distance lover who can read you a sexy story, have them record it so you can listen to it whenever you want. You both can even listen to the same thing at the same time, creating a connection via voice."

3. Explore different times (and locations) for tuning in

Because audio porn doesn't require your eyes to be glued to a screen, you can really go on an erotic journey wherever you please—even if that's not during explicit sex play.

"If you want to just be entertained and titillated, listen on your commute or while you do the dishes," says Sarah Turner, head of content at &Jane. "Maybe it will get you excited for later when you have time to yourself or time alone with a partner. If you want to use audio erotica as a tool for self-pleasure or [partnered] sex, you can certainly light some candles and lie down and take it all in while in a sexual or sensual state of being.”

4. Turn to nature to turn you on 

Just as auralism can switch on a person's arousal, sound can also shut it all downCacophony can be a major turnoff, no matter how it manifests in your life. It could be rambunctious children outside your door, traffic blaring from the other side of the window, or anything else. Luckily, nature sounds have been shown to de-stress (and drown out the outside world).

"Grab a pair of headphones and enjoy the sound of crashing waves or light rain to relax into getting turned on," says Deysach. "Some people find that wave-like sounds are particularly sexy, since it's all about wetness. Use sounds that evoke a sense of place, and imagine you're there while touching yourself or using your sex toy. It's much easier to imagine you are making love on the beach when it actually sounds like a beach."

5. Use ASMR to give yourself a brain orgasm...and then some

ASMR (autonomous meridian sensory response) doesn't have to be a sexual thing—I utilize it for sleep, and that's itBut, yes, you can use ASMR to facilitate auralism and give you sound-sparked tingles below the belt.

"What we love about ASMR is the ability to stimulate the brain and the sensory nerves that emulate the feeling of touch," says Michael Dill, founder and CEO of &Jane. "This added dimension of delivery gives listeners an almost-physical experience of contact, though it's delivered entirely through audio voice and stimulation."

6. Use a lube that makes sex play a little bit louder

"To maximize sound, especially during sex with a partner, go out of your way to make it sound like 'macaroni in a pot,' as Cardi B would say," says King. "To do so, incorporate long-lasting silicone lube that won’t dry up or leave sticky residue, like Uberlube."

Shop Now: Uberlube Luxury Lubricant, $28

7. Get noisier during sex play

Being loud and proud during sex is a great way to dial up your pleasure for a couple of reasons. For one, expressing your needs with a moan or scream can help you feel more sexually satisfied in the long run, because, hey, you're literally giving indicators on what is (or isn't) feeling good. Also, dirty talk can be just plain hot—so go for it.

8. Or make your sex sounds louder by changing your technique

Some people can get riled up from impact play and the sounds of skin-to-skin contact. For example, if you're really into spanking, the way you position your hand can affect what sound it makes when it strikes. "Cupping your palm and keeping your fingers together will increase the depth of the sound produced," King says. "Using a flat palm makes more of a typical slapping noise."

Or, maybe you enjoy the sound of queefing during sex. If so, "spend more time in positions like doggy style, where the pelvis and vagina are tilted upward and the penetration from sex causes an emission of trapped air from the vagina," says King.

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