the-scream.jpg Living in San Francisco inevitably means living in an apartment, living with a roommate or several, or sharing a wall with someone you’ve never met. And that inevitably means people are going to know your business. Your business-time business.

No one should shame you into being quiet or make you think you shouldn’t express your pleasure while having sex. A lot of people enjoy having vocal partners–it’s another indication that your partners are enjoying themselves…with you. Of course, if you’re screaming your head off and disturbing the entire block, that’s another issue entirely. And also an anomaly.

You can, of course, take steps to muffle the noise from your bed: music, towel at the bottom of your door, pillows between the bedframe and the wall, a hand over the mouth, or if you’re kinky, some sort of gag. But I’m not going to tell you how to hush up your hubba-hubba. I know I’m not alone in admitting I like loud sex. And that includes listening in.

Plus, trying to remedy the situation as if it’s a problem just makes you paranoid about sex. Sex is about relaxing and enjoying. I say if your roommates give you shit about your sex noises, screw ’em. Not literally, I mean. Well, maybe. Then that’s at least one less person complaining about your squeaky bed.

In this scenario, you’re either an Amelie or a Fussy Fanny. Amelies are the people excited–even fascinated–by their roommates’ romps. Three cheers for Sally getting loud! Wow, it really sounds like she’s enjoying herself! I’ll have to ask her about it when her partner leaves. Or Fussy Fanny…it’s 4 a.m., I can hear every single brush of pubic hair next door, and I have to get up in two hours for a Big Meeting at work. What. The. Eff.

Both sides have their points. Of course, you can bring up the noise issue with your roommate/neighbor, but usually it’s just easier to embrace the loud sex. Celebrate someone else’s pleasure and good fortune for a change. Sure, it’s difficult to study for a midterm when there’s a fucking rodeo beyond the wall (Yeehaw, cowboy!), but that’s what earplugs and noise-canceling headphones are made for. And libraries. And cafes. Get over it. Welcome to one of the joys of the city and apartment-dwelling!

For some people, sex is a magical, luck-of-the-draw event that happens once in a blue moon. Or plain not enough. And when you finally get that mouth on your crotch, you don’t want to think about whether your roommate can hear your ecstatic moans of pleasure. In fact, I don’t think it’s mentally possible to compute absolute pleasure and roommate worries at the same time without sacrificing one for the other. Solution: you’re the one having sex. All y’all just jealous.

Image: The Scream by Edvard Munch.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at

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