If you’ve ever lived in a college dorm, you know there are a plethora of annoyances that come with the perk of living right on campus. We’re talking nosy roommates, disrespectful neighbors, and out of control “Thirsty Thursday” parties. Your sex life, however, should never be one of the things that keeps your entire dorm up all night. Even if you’re not in a dorm but maybe share an apartment or live in a multi-family home, you should still be aware of the impact your sex life has on those around you. Here are some tips for keeping the peace while being a sexually-active roommate.
It should come to no surprise to regular readers that communication is #1 on this list because that’s my go-to for everything related to sexuality. For good reason, too! I’m not saying you have to disclose any information you’re not comfortable with to your roommates, but having some open communication on the matter of sexuality is very helpful in a shared living situation.
If you practice BDSM and you’re okay with telling your roommates this, it might be a good idea. You probably should leave out the gritty details but simply letting any housemates know that the occasional scream for mercy is all consensual might put them at ease if they do overhear your play.
It’s also a good idea to be willing to let your roommates know when you’re expecting company. A quick text is a good way to give them a head’s up without having to have an awkward conversation about any possible noise they might hear. It’s also just common courtesy to let your roommates know of any guests in the house, even if they aren’t home.
2. Be aware of your roommate’s schedule.
This one is especially important for college dorms or in situations where you literally have to share a room with someone else. In college, my roommate and I would post each of our class and work schedules in the room for the other to have access to. If we planned on coming back early for whatever reason, we’d give the other a head’s up text. This was a great way for us to be able to have a set time where we knew we’d have the room to ourselves for any necessary alone time or for guests to come over where we wouldn’t be interrupted.
If you’re a little more loose with your schedule, have a system in place like the ol’ sock on the doorknob. Some things never change.
If you’re planning a big scene, try to work it out when you have the house to yourself. It’s a real awkward situation when your roommate is woken up by loud moaning or a corporal punishment session. Be respectful and don’t play loudly when others are trying to sleep. This goes for morning sex, too!
Keep in mind what your roommates have going on in their lives, as well. If your roommate has a huge exam in the morning and needs to study, be mindful of their need for a quiet space. If your roommate works third shift and can only sleep in the afternoons, maybe hold off on playing until they’re gone for the night.
I know sometimes the mood strikes at inconvenient times, but in order to be respectful you should be aware of the clock.
3. Be tidy and hygienic.
Cleanliness is important when you share a bedroom or bathroom with other people. Don’t leave dirty dildos all over your shared dorm room and be discreet with throwing out condoms where your roommate doesn’t have to see them. Keep your toys clean to avoid any gross smells in your shared space and make sure you have a private place to store them.
When cleaning toys, try to do it discreetly. Don’t do a mass cleansing soak of your three dozen dildos in the tub when your roommate needs to shower before work. Also, for the love of god, please don’t boil your anal toys in the communal pasta pot. (This was a living nightmare I actually experienced with a roommate of mine and I pray no one else has to go through it.)
If you share a dorm, be sure the room is free of any visible kink toys or anything else that might make your roommate (or their guests) uncomfortable. Please don’t put your roommate in a situation where they have to explain the cuffs attached to your bunk bed when their mother comes to visit.
4. Be mindful when having semi-private sex.
Chances are even if you don’t share a bedroom with someone, you share a bathroom or living room of some sort. It’s important to remember that common areas are risky places to have sexual encounters. Having your roommate walk in on you having sex is not only awkward for you, but also your roommate. Even if they can’t see you, overhearing your steamy shower session can make their next bathing experience feel…well, dirty. Keep things private by having sex in spaces only you have access to. Hold off on having sex on the kitchen table until your roommates are out of town for the weekend (and wipe down the table when you’re done, please!).
5. Explore alternative kinks.
Some kinks are louder than others. If you’re afraid to use the giant paddle because it makes too much noise, try swapping it for a cane, which can be much quieter. Make good use of your gag in shared space. Explore new kinks that tend to have quieter noise levels like wax play, bondage, or sensory deprivation when others are home. Save the loud scenes for when you have an evening to yourself.
It can also be really fun to incorporate silence into any roleplay scenes you normally do such as a kidnapping or rape play scene. It’s a fun little game to stimulate your partner and see how quiet they can stay. Cover their mouth with your hand if necessary. If they’re into humiliation, remind them how embarrassing it is to be so unnecessarily loud.
6. Don’t let partners become rent-free roommates.
Some people are totally cool with roommates having their partners over all the time, but that’s definitely something you’re going to want to discuss with everyone on the lease. If your partner is around most weekends, that’s one thing. When they have spent the last 27 nights at your place, there may be an issue.
Don’t let your partner over-stay their welcome. Switch around whose place you crash at from time to time, or consider getting a hotel room every once in a while for a little romantic get-away without putting out your roommates.
Even if your housemates are cool with your partner spending a lot of time over your place, remember that there are small financial costs to adding another person to the household that can accumulate quickly. Maybe consider paying a little extra on the electric bill or picking up some communal groceries as a thank you for their flexibility.
7. Do not involve your housemates in your kinks.
Although it may be hot to fantasize about being humiliated in front of your roommate, it’s not good in practice. Be sure you and your partner(s) aren’t exposing non-consenting parties to your kinks. This means that ordering your partner to fetch you a drink from the kitchen in only their collar isn’t a smart idea when your poor roommate might have to encounter them. It honestly just makes things awkward for everyone and can be really harassing for your housemates.
Keep in mind that some people don’t want to hear details about your sex life, either. Some people have strict boundaries when it comes to other people’s involvement in kink or sex in general. This means you might not want to call your partner “Daddy” at the breakfast table, either.