Telling your roommate you need the room for sex can be one of the most awkward conversations you’ll have to initiate during your time at college. But what follows if you don’t give fair warning or a polite nudge that adult activities will be happening at some point in the near future is inarguably worse.
One CAS junior, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her privacy, has a story that will make you want to iron out the wrinkles of your roommate agreement sooner rather than later.
Living with three other guys in Third North Residence Hall, it was always a laid back environment for hookups in this student’s dorm room. Bringing people home was never a problem — until one night when things got uncomfortable. His inebriated roommate stumbled into their bedroom, took his mattress off the bed with the sheet still on and walked into the next room.
“We started hearing some moaning and panting. It was so loud. The girl was like screaming ‘oh my god’ this whole time,” he recalled. “I felt so so bad for my friends because now we’re all stuck in my room until they are done.”
After 30 minutes, the unwanted show finally stopped. The trapped friends ran outside to find the girl still lying on the mattress and their drunk roommate in the bathroom. Burned in their minds, the image of this night hasn’t faded. “He never apologized to me afterwards, I don’t know if he was too drunk or what,” he said. “But yeah, we just pretended that nothing happened but it was really awkward.”
Sometimes, roommates don’t even have the courtesy to go to another room when the moment strikes. A Stern junior, who also asked to remain anonymous for reasons of privacy, has experienced this first-hand.
“My roommate straight up had sex in her bed next to mine,” she said. “I just pretended to be asleep until they were done. It was really quite traumatic.”
The sock on the doorknob used to do the trick when people were too shy to ask their roommates about having the room. However, that doesn’t always work, especially if the scenarios are as dramatic as the ones experienced by these NYU students. To Steinhardt senior Mecoly Dong, the sock isn’t enough.
“People need more info and context than just a hanging sock,” she said. “There are more and better ways to communicate now that we have texting and phones.”
Perhaps we do need something more, something that can give our roommates a heads up and at the same time, avoid the awkward encounter that almost always accompanies upcoming sexile. CAS sophomore Brian Shih, who lived in a suite of five, came up with a rather creative way with his roommates.
“We have a sex-dule,” he said. “It’s basically a schedule for sex.”
They keep a calendar on the wall in the common room to keep track of who’s bringing people home every night. They book the days they need by sticking the color-coded condoms on the date to inform their roommates.
“I always just check the condom wall to see if anyone’s coming over,” he said. “It’s weird and extra but it works. I never had trouble with my roommates.”
Many people find it easier to just be frank about it. CAS senior Eisen Huang, who has been living with roommates for almost four years, said that communication on this topic is the trick to a harmonious living environment.
“We would just text each other that we’re bringing girls home,” he said. “Just be specific about the time and how long you need. It would be nice to have a few hours notice, but it’s definitely better than no notice at all.”
College is stressful, but we are all here to have some fun too. It is understandable that it can be tough to be straightforward about sex, but it’s important to figure out a system that works — to avoid suffering or awkward, unwanted voyeurism.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 24 print edition. Email Eugenia Yang at [email protected]