Feb 14 2012
The other day, I was speaking with a woman who has chronic laryngitis. Her voice is very low and husky, and she gets lots of comments on “that sexy voice.” To me, it sounds tired and unhealthy, but I know people who want that sound because they DO think it’s sexy. So the questions I want to answer today are
- What is a sexy voice, and
- How do you create it? (and is there time before Valentine’s Day???)
What makes a voice sound sexy?
A now-famous study by Gordon Gallup and others at the University of Albany showed that both men and women with attractive voices also had more attractive bodies, and a larger sex life. The researchers were able to show that women felt that low voices were more attractive in men, but they were unable to conclude what makes a woman’s voice sound more attractive to men. In a later study, however,Dr. Gallup found that women’s voices are most attractive to both men and other women when they are at the peak of fertility, which in fact, causes their pitch to rise rather than drop. This is caused by the presence of more estrogen, just as a lower voice in men is associated with a higher level of testosterone. This makes sense. First and foremost, even in this modern world, we are attracted to people for procreation, and the voice seems to be an indicator of the right chemistry!
Perhaps the reason we think a low voice sounds sexy is because we are intuitively aware that a low voice means power. This is true in the most primal way, of course, but again, we cannot deny our primal roots! As women have sought to compete more and more with men in the workplace, they have lowered their voices. Anne Karpf discusses this trend in her book, The Human Voice: How This Extraordinary Instrument Reveals Essential Clues About Who We Are. It seems that the average pitch of women’s voices is no longer an octave higher than a man’s, but just 2/3 of an octave. The problem with this trend is that it is hazardous to the voice. Speaking too low can cause nodules, or calluses on the vocal folds, chronic laryngitis, and reduce the flexibility of the vocal mechanism.
So, I want to stop all this nonsense about a low voice being sexy and about power being demonstrated by a low voice and get to the heart of it. A sexy voice is grounded, just like a sexy person is confident. A sexy voice has vibrant resonance, just as a sexy person is vibrant. And a sexy voice is flexible, reflecting a sensitive, emotional person. If you have those three things, your sexy voice will be healthy and it will reflect your emotions and desires.
How to create a sexy voice
- Make your breathing low and expansive. Just like good sex, good breathing is low and deep (now you will never forget that about proper breathing!)
- Create a resonance that is powerful by using mask resonance. To do this, humming is a great tool, and music is the food of love, of course. (Research shows that music stimulates the brain in the same place as food and sex, by the way, so you know why I always recommend humming!!)
- Create variety in your sound by letting your voice show your emotions. An emotional connection with your voice allows others to feel closer to you too…hint, hint
Update: A post from Huff Post on love songs you can sing…that’s sexy too. Top Ten Love Songs That Are Easy to Sing