Hey there Captain-
My roommate-BFF has heard me have sex. Multiple times (to clarify: we have separate bedrooms in an apartment). I enjoy sex that sometimes involves some/copious spanking, slapping, or flogging, so I’m especially sensitive to the fact that some people just Don’t Want To Hear It. My two previous girlfriends were super aware of her disinterest in overhearing us, and the dudes I currently sleep with have been informed, and everybody kind of agrees, “well, yeah”. We (the sex havers) basically do one of three things: we have super quiet, no spanking/slapping/flogging sex; we wait till roommate goes to sleep; we do not have sex and/or go somewhere else (if an option, I’m usually at a partner’s place 50% of the sextime).
I could handle doing all three of these things in combo, but- the quiet sex sometimes doesn’t work, apparently, because my roommate will come tell me as I’m headed to the bathroom after a super quiet whispery sex session that she heard us. Which has resulted in me crying to my partner, who assures me I was very quiet indeed, and it feels silly writing it, but I’m crying because it’s just frustrating, to think you’re trying your best but you’re clearly not, cause sex noises. It’s also frustrating because we usually tend to try some quiet sex after waiting around for a bit to see if my roommate will go to bed.
Which is the other issue- I don’t think she sleeps? She has a very weird schedule of waking up/sleeping, and just finished school and doesn’t work, so is free to nap during the day. She finally saw a doctor and therapist in the past year, and is now on anxiety meds. Yay for her! I am really happy she is taking control of that stuff and doing good work towards getting better (having been hospitalized multiple times for depression/suicide and BPD, I empathize deeply). But her sleep schedule is still fucked. And as a result, I’m not getting fucked. It’s exhausting waiting around to see if she’ll fall asleep, deciding not to do the sex, and waking up to pee at 4am and seeing her sitting at her desk wide awake.
To be honest, writing it out makes me feel like this is such a silly problem. But it’s impacting a part of my intimate relations with people, which is a part I enjoy very much. The inverse of this problem has never happened in two years cohabiting – I go to bed between 11-11:30, take sleep meds that conk me out good, and use a sound machine. I’m tired (literally) of waiting up past my bedtime to see if my roommate maybe will fall asleep soonish and my partner and I can get down to business.
My question: am I way out of bounds to sit her down and say, “listen, I love you, but after 12am, any sex noises you hear from my room are not be reported on. After 12am is sex time. You can sex up your awesome boyfriend, I can sex up my partner du jour, whatever, but if you overhear something, you don’t gotta say something. Also please talk to your doctor about your wonky sleep schedule if it is not working for you.”? Or is this the worst idea?
-Sex (Not) Having Lady
Dear Sex (Not):
I think you are perfectly within bounds to say “Bedtime is/might be sex time. When my door is shut, please don’t comment on or inform me of what you hear from my room, thanks.” Keep it short and direct. Don’t bring up the sleep issues or health issues unless roommate mentions them. As long as you are being on the quiet side when you know she’s home, you’re setting a very reasonable boundary and the other stuff isn’t the issue.
If roommate mentions sleep issues, then you can say “I know your sleep schedule is wonky; I hope you and your doctor can work on that. I will do my best to keep it down when you’re home, but like I said, from now on, what happens in my room when the door is closed is my business. Please don’t comment on it.” It doesn’t sound to me like your nighttime sex is necessarily even waking her up, it sounds like she is upset that you are doing it when and where she *might* be able to hear it. I can’t tell if she’s telling you because she wants you to stop doing it at home at all, or she thinks she’s being considerate for your sake (like, if you knew she could hear it, you would be even quieter). So one other strategy, the next time she corners you on the way to the bathroom, is to ask: “When you tell me that, what is it that you want me to say or do?”
If everyone has separate sleeping spaces (so, apartment-mate/housemate, not literal ROOMmate), everything is consensual, and everyone is of age, for me a roommate’s closed bedroom door works like a magic seal of plausible deniability. If it requires earplugs, white noise machines, headphones, music or other filters or distractions to maintain the seal, by all means use them, but if you live in shared, communal housing with fellow adults, life will go better if everyone simply refuses to acknowledge or comment upon one another’s nighttime activities. You can certainly feel annoyed or amused or any which way you like about what you hear (I certainly laughed to myself when my former upstairs neighbors played Wicked Game every single time they got it on in the year + I lived there), but, you don’t say anything. Roommate’s Bedroom = Roommate’s Business.
Music To Make Your Second Baby By, apparently.
I don’t think the answer here is that you agree to stop having sex in your own house where you live. And if your roommate really can’t tune y’all out, then maybe the usefulness of the living situation has run its course and you should both look for more compatible housing when the lease is up.That said, I think there is room for negotiation not around whether you have sex in your room room but about how many/which nights are cool for overnight guests, period. I get tons of questions along the lines of “I signed up to live with my friend, not my friend and his/her partner, who is allllllllllllllways home, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.” For a visual aid, here is a clip (which has blurred/masked nudity and a song with lyrics but no audible profanity) from Broad City when one of the main characters comes home and finds out that her roommate’s boyfriend Bevers is not home for once in her life:
That dance is a dance of JOY, and among my friends, “Edge-of-Glorying” now describes “the feeling of joy from unexpectedly getting the house to oneself.”
You say that you spend 50% of your sexy times out of the apartment, which is considerate. Maybe you and your roommate can work out a more predictable schedule where you agree, for instance, that certain nights of the week will either be just you or when you’ll pitch an away game if you’re going to see your partner. If she knew that Monday-Wednesday would be free of sexy sounds or worrying about who needs to get into the shower at what time in the morning, she might relax a bit about the rest.