Sage & Blunt Advice: Sex Shamed


Cornelia Di Gioia

Graphic by Cornelia Di Gioia.

Sage & Blunt

Dear Sage & Blunt,

Last weekend my housemate cornered me and told me that I have really loud sex and that it kind of bothers them because sometimes they are trying to sleep. They were really nice about it, but they also didn’t offer a solution. My partner and I aren’t having sex during crazy times of the day or anything like, we aren’t breaking quiet hour rules. I guess I’m just bothered because my other housemates play loud music and have people over late into the night, so I can’t help but feel like it’s not about the noise itself but the kind of noise.

I feel sex shamed. I can’t always control my volume when being pleasured, but I also don’t want to be a disrespectful housemate. Now I’m scared to have sex in the house, and I feel really awkward around my housemate. There’s still a lot of the year left — what should I do?


Sex Shamed


Dear Sex Shamed,

First of all, congrats on the sex. (We were all thinking it! I just want it in print.) It sounds like you’re having fun, which is wonderful, and you deserve to feel comfortable getting down in your own house. And you’re right, it does seem like your housemate is taking issue with one particular kind of noise … but I might be with them on this one.

I want to make one thing clear: I do not think sex and shame should go together. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having loud pleasurable sex with your partner in the comfort and safety of your own bed — in fact, there are many things that are very right with doing so, as you may be aware! But, I’d argue that your right to vocalize has limits when it comes to the people you live with.

Would you sit down on the couch next to your housemate and start talking to them about the sex you plan to have later in your shared house? Would you come up to them in the kitchen and start to imitate the noises you make in bed at full volume? There’s no analogy I can find that perfectly captures the circumstances of overhearing a private act, but it’s easy to understand that there are contexts in which being made aware of the particulars of someone’s sexual deeds can be uncomfortable, whereas being made aware of their loud music is just irritating.

Call me sex-negative, but I think your housemate is allowed to object to this kind of noise. I also think it’s possible they were offering the excuse of trying to get sleep as a white lie to cover the real issue, which is that they just don’t want to listen to you have sex. A college house is a delicate ecosystem where, with a basic awareness of the schedules and moods of those around you — and a little bit of coordination — you can achieve equilibrium. Don’t ruin it by using up your loud sex karma all at once! It’s just (and this is the worst insult I can possibly think of) not tasteful.

I doubt your housemate wants to talk about this any more than they have to, so I don’t think you need to bring it up with them again, as long as you do them some favors. Tone it down a little when you’re at home, go to your partner’s place more often, have sex when the housemate in question isn’t around, etc. Then, on the very rare days when you really can’t help but let out totally uninhibited moans of ecstasy, your housemate will hopefully be much more understanding. Remember: delicate ecosystem. Oh, and have fun! 


Sage & Blunt