Whether it's honey-drenched voices, or deep, low-pitched ones, some voices are so fascinating that you want to hear them again and again.
Voice colours our every interaction and conjures up the image of who we are talking to. Friend or foe? Appealing or unappealing? Err.sexy? A downright vocal aphrodisiac?
Our reactions are often to the voice itself than to what it actually says. Voice is an integral part of a person's sex appeal. Voices have made careers, and also broken them. Check out what happened to some stars of the silent era after the arrival of the talkies. From Norma Talmadge, the star of more than 250 silent films, who was laughed out of the talking films because of her voice and accent, to model Deepak Malhotra, whose great body could do nothing to save his career, once the weak, pity-evoking voice of his called out to "Pallon!" in the blockbuster Hindi film Lamhe.
Male voice and sex appeal
Anthropologists have found an interesting relationship between voice and sexuality. Researchers with Harvard, McMaster and Florida State Universities examined the correlation between voice pitch and child-bearing success, and found that deeper voice pitch predicted reproductive success in male hunter-gatherers.
The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, talked about how the researchers had looked at the reproductive patterns of the Hadza, a Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe that lives much the same way humans did 200,000 years ago. It said that while they did not know the exact reason why men with deeper voices had fathered more children, it was definite that the women of the tribe chose mates with deep voices because they were perceived to be better providers. A deeper vocal pitch, indicating a higher level of testosterone, possibly contributed to the male's ability to hunt. Given their similarity with the lifestyle of our ancestors, the reproductive success of the Hadza could be indicative of the way that human beings evolved.
Since there is an established relationship between testosterone and deep vocal pitch, a man's voice - since time immemorial - could have functioned as a broadcast for his testosterone levels. Researchers have long known that women find deep male voices more attractive and that could explain why some ugly-as-toads men with great voices have had wonderful luck in sex and romance.
Female voice and sex appeal
It's harder to determine what makes a woman's voice appealing to men. Some studies show that men prefer high-pitched female voices, but there haven't been many experiments so far. Ethnicity and cultural factors too play a big role here. There are those who prefer sweet, high-pitched female voices and others who prefer lower, fuller voices. Psychologists have found that breathiness is one quality in female voices that adds to its sex appeal. Breathiness comes from air whistling through a gap at the end of the vocal cords. The gap is larger in women, thus the breathier voice.
Psychologists believe that men might find a very breathy voice sexy. However, as Japanese psychology researchers Takashi Oguchi and Hiroto Kakuchi write in the book Voice & Interpersonal Attraction, "Bright, generous voices, low vocal pitch, and a small range of pitch, increase interpersonal attraction."
Voice and physical attractiveness
But, is there an actual link between voice and physical attractiveness? Research has found that a good, firm voice is an indication of a person's health but that's not all. Psychologists of the State University of New York at Albany, in their study published in the journal Evolution of Human Behaviour, believe the voice of an individual could reveal important information to potential mates and that people with sexy voices get more sex and have more symmetrical body shapes. Their findings say, "The link between voice, body configuration, and sexual behaviour may be due to hormonal influences, attractiveness promoting sexual opportunity, or both."
The study also indicates that during human evolutionary history, voice may have played a role in how men and women made reproduction-related decisions, particularly at night. The study noted that men with good voices had more sexual partners, lost their virginity at a younger age and had broader shoulders and narrower hips while women with attractive voices had narrower waists and broader hips and also attracted more sexual partners.
An article published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour in 2006 said, "[While] women's preference for men with more masculine voices increased in their fertile phase, when infertile women were likely to be attracted to a softer male voice signalling a more caring man, more likely to invest in a long-term relationship."
Voice and posture
Moon, a self-professed Tantra expert and a practitioner of Magick, who I bumped into a couple of times, advises her clients on striking the right chords with a dream person. "Sensuous voices haunt you in the dark of the night," she says. "Use husky low tones of a whispery invitation or then the best of a bass timbre. No one can be immune to their insidious seductions. A good posture helps you vocalise from the abdomen. Hatha yoga techniques help better your posture and lead to better phonation. You can make best use of the stream of air from the lungs and diaphragm," she adds.
My friend Linda works in a phone sex chat service in New Jersey. I've spoken to her on the internet and know her voice is as sexy as a drone bee's. "On the job, I've my special bedroom voice," she had told me once. "I use the deeper side of my voice, like when I'm in the mood."
Linda is a busy woman and runs her own office with a full-time staff. Had she not used her own voice while talking to me, I wouldn't have known her real voice.
The use of voice-changer software is quite common in cyberspace. You can modify your voice by changing the pitch and timbre, apply effects, adjust advanced tuner, and set equaliser. You can also try different tones to enhance your voice for better sex appeal.
Here are some tips that voice trainers offer to make both men and women sound more appealing:
- Both women and men prefer a lower register and find deeper notes sexually attractive. There are times when we sound fine but our pitch is less than alluring. Our throat, neck and shoulders are often tense without us realising it. The result is a pitch, higher than the natural, which makes us sound uptight. To get it to a lower, richer pitch one needs to relax the neck, shoulders and jaws consciously.
- Renee Grant-Williams, author of Voice Power: Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention, advises people to breathe from the lower body. Hold your fist right below the navel and isolate and flex only those lower abdominal muscles where the fist is. Squeeze out a little puff of air from below the waist. To let air back in, let the lower ab muscles relax while loosening the jaw and opening the throat so air can flow in. She claims that with practice, this can give an irresistible voice.
- Experts advise people to speak slower, softly and in a lower tone than normal for it to sound better.
- To communicate sexual desire, a low, husky 'bedroom' voice seems a natural choice.
- Finally, sexiness of voice seems to come not from great clothes or an expensive lifestyle but from self confidence, a great attitude, a sense of humour and how keen one is to make their presence felt by using their voice.
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