The idea of having roommates makes total sense when you consider the concept of splitting costs and chores and satisfying the need for human interaction. However, it certainly can make some aspects of life tricky. First, you gotta get to know your roommates, at least a little bit. Then you have to stop being polite and start being real. (Yes, I just quoted The Real World.) Part of being real includes getting laid. And clearly, there's rules to having sex when you have roommates.
Of course, there's always the option to hunt out sex partners who live alone (aka, my strategy for all of my mid-20s) and just get down at their place, but what about all your things? I mean, unless they keep an extra pack of make-up remover wipes and an arsenal of your preferred condom variety, it's kinda easier to keep it local at your place. However, if you have roommates, you gotta keep them feeling as comfortable as possible while you and a pal make a quick (or long) trip to Bonesville.
To be real, this was the second topic approached with my first-ever roommate duo freshman year in the dorms. We literally went from, "Oh, your hometown sounds chill," (a total lie, whatever) to, "Great, so since we have one room we're all expected to share, please keep all sex stuff relegated to the bathroom with a door that locks and maybe consider keeping it quick since surely one of us will have to pee at some point." We got real. And seriously, you must get real with your roommates about sex protocol, as soon as possible, so as not to immediately ostracize or otherwise piss each other off. Here's some super vital rules all roommates should follow with sex in your shared home:
Keep a courteous volume
This isn't just confined to moaning and groaning, although obviously that's important to keep fairly quiet too, especially depending on the apartment floor plan or general wall width. No one wants to be chillin', preparing a nice macaroni-for-one and hear you or your partner bellowing dirty talk in a way that doesn't leave a lot of mystery. Also, it's pretty rude to remind your roommate they're not currently getting laid, and even if they are (that's some synchronization, bb), don't distract them with your own bedroom adventures. Speaking of...
Stick to your individual spaces (except the shower IF it's going to be quick)
Rubbing bare genitals on the kitchen counter is not only in poor taste, it also spreads weird germs and...liquids...around in a very unsanitary way. It's also a little questionable to stuff organs in another person on a communal couch. Try to contain sex stuff to your own bedroom or the shower where you can easily and sneakily wash away all evidence. (Although, I gotta warn you that shower sex sucks, but hey, maybe you're game for a little self-punishment.)
Play some music, please
Even if you're doing everything in your power to keep the rapturous romping sounds down to a dull roar, outside factors still might be problematic. For example, I have the loudest, most comically creaky bed known to man. I can be doing something very innocent such as reaching for a magazine or adding more soy sauce to the fried rice I am currently enjoying in bed (don't act like you don't know) and the frame screams as if I'm stabbing it. So when I've got a special friend over and we're pants-less and all, it's...not a mystery what's happening in there. It's just good manners to flip on a record to at least partially disguise or obscure. At least, at that point, your roommate has the option to delude themselves into thinking you and Mr. or Ms. Tinder had to crank some New Order at 5AM.
Encourage everyone to keep earplugs by their bed
Music and stealth-mode aside, someone is probably gonna hear you getting down and vice versa. Handy earplugs are a good preventative measure because sometimes people get drunk and forget all the rules—however, that doesn't make your early-morning presentation disappear. This way you can catch adequate shut-eye without having to corral cats (i.e., explain any basic concept to wasted people). Plus, sex with earplugs is actually super fun. It makes your other senses heighten which...yup. Try it, maybe.
Explain basics to your sex partner
As in, don't let them think it's cool to traipse off for the crucial post-coital pee in the full nude. Or better yet (and yes, this is a personal anecdote), with a small small small towel hastily draped across a drooping boner—especially if there's only one bathroom in the living space. Your roommate almost definitely does not want or need to see that and if that isn't true, YOU definitely don't want or need to know that. Make your partner wear a freaking robe if you have to.
Make sure all of you respect closed doors
My most recent (and hopefully last forever) situation with roommates involved a bunch of doors that didn't lock. So that option was out and honestly, if you get close enough to the door to knock, you can almost certainly hear all the porno noises on the other end. Instead, if you gotta chat with your roommate and their door is closed with a ~friend~, resort to either waiting to circle back or texting them if it's an immediate issue.
Get permission for "date nights"—but use that power sparingly
Every so often, it's cozy AF to cook up some pies with your boo and pretend you live alone. That's totally expected and permissible—your roommate should know this and allow you and bae to have the place to yourself every one in a while. And hey, Roomie can ask for the same from you. Make sure you have a little pow-wow beforehand to clear specific evenings or hours so you can get freaky freely. (Still no kitchen counter sex; Blowing someone in the kitchen isn't the same as grinding crotches on oven handles or whatever.) However, don't get too zealous with these requests even if your roommate seems to be of the utmost chill caliber. You still split rent and no one made you Pharaoh Fuckmaster of the whole dang apartment, so don't go nuts.
Try to be as understanding as possible
Did I particularly enjoy hearing a former roommate shout various dude names on the reg from the other side of our paper thin walls? Not rally, but I was kinda doing the same often, too. If your roommate doesn't respect the whole limited-screaming rule and it's a Saturday night but you have nothing pressing the following morning, restrain from absolutely freaking out. You know for sure you'd appreciate the same effort if that was you getting mind-blowing head and you accidentally moaned kinda loud. Choose your battles wisely because obviously there are exceptions that need to be discussed with housemates before it becomes a serious problem.
Don't break up the party
Even if something is seriously not OK during a roommate's obvious bang sesh, wait until later to discuss (unless, like, the house is on fire). Busting up someone's sex sesh (even if it's just by sending them a text!) isn't a smart way to remedy the situation—not to mention, it's unlikely to be successful. Be patient and bring it up to the offending roommate in a non-threatening scenario when their boo isn't there.
Get on the same page with overnight guest practices
Sleeping together doesn't mean the same as sleeping together. Make sure you and your housemates are on the same page with acceptable overnight guest practice. Like, can those happen at all? How much is too much? Are permanent toothbrushes OK? And what's cool regarding morning routine? I had a roommate whose boyfriend stayed over often which didn't bug me, but what was an issue is how his super long shower time preference always seemed to fall just five minutes before I needed to bathe before heading to work. Also, if someone's partner is getting generous in borrowing coffee, there's no way that can stand. (Coffee is the one true bae.)
Agree on what's communal (if anything)
Maybe you guys have a designated condom bowl or drawer, or maybe not. In an effort to help protect an especially forgetful/frisky roommate of mine, I told her to not hesitate in borrowing condoms from a certain desk drawer in my room. But that kind of openness and sharing isn't for everyone, so figure out what honestly works for the house.
Consider letting your roommate know if you're not coming home at night
This is like throwing them a freebie. Although it isn't completely mandatory, I really think giving a heads up is courteous because, as it turns out, vocal, loud sex can be immensely satisfying. And if you hip your roomie to the fact that there's no chance you'd return to the apartment mid-romp hereby forcing them to dial back their auditory enthusiasm, that's pretty nice of you. Let them be free—because, I mean, you weren't planning on sleeping at home anyway.
Never have sex with your roommate
If I have to explain this to you, I'm officially worried.
Images: Holly Lay/Flickr; Giphy (13)