When your flatmate goes HUMP in the night…
Sex is part of life. It’s natural, necessary, healthy even. Unless you’re living in shared accommodation and your housemate’s promiscuous sex life is beginning to make you feel awkward.
Are you kept awake at night by primitive grunting noises? Do you find random naked people roaming about your house? Or – please don’t tell us – used condoms keep appearing in obscure places… like your pantry? Ew.
Believe it or not, you’re not alone. How to deal with a housemate’s rampant sex life is a commonly searched problem across the internet (along with users ‘live-tweeting’ the ins and outs of housemate’s at it in as much erotic detail as 140 characters will allow).
Apparently, roommate etiquette is lobbed out the window when it comes to sex.
The thing is, you’re entitled to feel relaxed and comfortable in your own home – even if, technically, it isn’t yours. You have rights, so don’t be afraid to stand up for them.
Here are some pointers that might help –
Weigh up how bad the problem is.
Let’s face it, managing the whole sex thing was never going to be easy in a shared-housing situation. Living with someone else requires compromise. It would be unrealistic to expect to never have the odd bit of awkwardness in this area. So, how big of a deal is the problem? If it’s a small annoyance, you may have to cop it. If it’s becoming too difficult to live with, it’s worth taking action.
Discuss your feelings with your flatmate.
This is easier said than done. Your flatmate may be unaware he or she is making you uncomfortable. Bringing it up could make things even more awkward. Discussing an intimate subject like sex depends on your relationship and how close you are. It also depends on the nature of your flatmate and how open they are about their private life. Although – something tells us – if they’re parading their sex life for all to see and hear, it’s safe to say they’re probably the open type.
Pick your timing (you’re likely to be ignored if you storm into the bedroom when they’re in the middle of it). Wait until you’re in a calm frame of mind (ideally when the partner has left the house to make things less awkward). Offer to make your flatmate a cup of tea and broach the subject when you’re both relaxed.
Be kind, humble. Your goal isn’t to humiliate.
Establish some housemate rules.
It’s a simple matter of agreeing what’s communal (and what’s not).
They could agree to keep the tone down after midnight so you can sleep. Or they could ask their partner(s) to put some clothes on outside of the bedroom. Designate a bin especially for condoms and plop it somewhere obvious. Suggest they confine sex to the bedroom (any reasonable flatmate will understand why you’re not partial to preparing food on a bench top that’s had genitals smeared all over it. And, for that matter, why you’d prefer to sit on a spray-free couch while relaxing after a hard day’s work).
Show that you’re prepared to compromise and that your requests are fair, and your flatmate will be more open to agreement.
Plug in and switch off.
If it’s a noise issue, a good set of earplugs can do wonders…
Failing that, plug in and switch on.
Music can be a remedy for so many things – especially for drowning out unwelcome noise from the room next door.
Avoid the tantrum.
When all else has failed and you’re lying in bed with earmuffs on top of your earplugs, a pillow over your head and you can still hear your flatmate’s wailing, try to avoid beating the paper-thin wall and screaming every profanity under the sun. Unless the problem is so bad, finding yourself and your belongings on the street the next morning is a welcome alternative…
Understand why you’re so bothered.
It’s not easy when your flatmate is living like a rock star and you’re living like a nun – it kind of rubs salt into the wound. But (deep down) if this is the real problem, it’s not your flatmate’s fault. Maybe it’s a sign that you need to do something about your own life. Get out and about more. Consider joining some dating sites or your friend’s offer to set you up on a blind date.
Moping about a house filled with sexually active people will only make you feel miserable and envious.
Hopefully, your flatmate isn’t trying to make you feel uncomfortable intentionally. Maybe she or he just gets a little carried away. So be humble and respectful in your approach and with any luck they’ll understand and start behaving with more sensitivity.
If, on the other hand, you try everything and the problem doesn’t improve, you may need to bite the bullet and move out, or ask your flatmate to move out – depending on your living arrangement.
We’d love to hear your stories. Have you ever felt awkward because of a flatmate’s sex life?