Illustration by Leo Walton
Collapsing in a post-sex haze of happy hormones, cuddles and (let’s face it) probably a sweaty mess, is supposed to be a moment to savour, to relish in. Privately. What is not supposed to happen is hearing Lonely Island’s ‘I Just Had Sex’ playing loudly through your door accompanied by footsteps thumping on the stairs and a fair amount of giggling. Moment ruined. Thanks ‘friends.’
I’ve been flatting for about five years now with a variety of housemates and their colourful sex lives. Some you get to learn about more than others - perhaps more than you ever wanted to. With this plethora of experience in mind, I feel qualified to offer you my advice to dealing with sex in a shared living situation.
When you want to ignore it:
Creaking beds, grunting, moaning, a weird kind of wet slapping – dear god make it stop. I’m sure most of us are well versed in burying our heads in the pillow like prudish ostriches. Surely there are better ways to avoid hearing just how much fun your flatmates are having. Especially when you’re not.
Basic – Headphones are your friend. Listen to music, podcasts, stick on a movie or have a very loud phone conversation to both distract yourself and drown out the amorous ruckus next door.
Basic – Just leave the house. Easier in the day, much harder in the middle of the night in your pjs.
Intermediate – Do some housework. The couple goes into the bedroom, the door closes and a suspicious silence ensues followed by the odd giggle. It’s on – you know it and they know it so take it as your cue to suddenly do some laundry, dishes or even mow the lawns. Or simply turn on any noisy appliance you like. Et voila, you can no longer hear unwelcome sexual noises and as a bonus, your house might actually see itself cleaned! Warning: standing patiently with an electric mixer or power drill whilst waiting for your flatmates to, ahem, finish, might look a bit weird to anyone else without context so maybe choose a loud activity you can justify as normal behaviour.
Intermediate – Have the ‘sudden urge’ to consider the feng shui of your bedroom and start moving furniture around. Maybe your bed looks better further away from the shared wall? May get a bit tedious if your household is quite sexually active.
Expert – Go out, find a date and get distracted by your own sex life. Then you’ll neither notice nor care about theirs.
When you’re the couple in question:
Still want to have sex but not sure how you feel about performing to a full house? Read on my randy friend, read on…
Basic – The old silent tactic. But let’s face it, mute sex with minimal movement isn’t exactly a turn on so, moving on…
Intermediate – Hide everything. Lube on the bedside table, vibrator somewhere in the duvet, sex games on the bookshelf (just me?) - it’s all got to go I’m afraid. Imagine you’re preparing your room for a visit from your parents. Just remove anything that implies you actually have a sex life so your flatmates can go on blissfully thinking you’re celibate.
Intermediate – Turn up the TV or put some music on to drown yourselves out, but be warned as this can backfire. The wrong song can totally ruin the mood and if you’re too habitual, your flatmates may cotton on to what a sudden change in volume is really hiding.
Expert – This one takes balls if you pardon the pun, but try announcing your intentions to the flat then it’s up to them how they deal with it. Be loud, be proud, it’s 2019 and having a healthy libido is nothing to be ashamed of.
Expert – With careful planning, think about it, if you’re the first to move in, you can safely have sex in every room in the house without being disturbed and then spend the rest of the year feeling smug while your flatmates are none the wiser.
When you want to actively cock block:
If this section applies to you, you’re probably either bitterly single, totally over the soundtrack of sex or have a very warped sense of humour.
Basic – Put on a cheesy playlist, creepy movie, or (my boyfriend’s suggestion,) videos of animals having sex. Any of the above are likely to dampen the mood and put the offending couple off their game.
Basic – Have sex loudly right back at them. Or just pretend to if you don’t fancy a weird competition.
Intermediate – Order a takeaway in their name so they have to get up and answer the door halfway through. This, however, requires impeccable timing and may cost if they then eat said food. Depends if you’re willing to pay to not hear them.
Intermediate – Have a flat pet? It is now your furry trump card. Simply unleash your weapon of mass disruption into the room with the unsuspecting couple and hope it’s cute/bouncy/drooly enough to halt any intimate relations.
Expert – Open the front door with a very loud ‘Oh hello [flatmate’s] mum, we weren’t expecting you today! Oh yes, they’re just in their room, let me get them for you…’
Expert – My personal favourite: go full David Attenborough. Think blow by blow (sorry) nature documentary through the door very loudly. Even better if you can get other flatmates involved too. Sporting commentary may be equally as effective. Either way, the poor couple should be embarrassed enough to stop and may think twice about doing it again when other people are home.