How much noise do you tend to make while having sex? I know that I am often pretty noisy and while it’s a sign that things are going well it can make my partner self-conscious if the flat-mates are in, and if you have kids or live with your parents then those problems can increase exponentially!
Type ‘Noisy Neighbour Sex’ into Youtube and you will find reams of people recording the sounds coming from the flat/house/bedroom next door and either laughing derisively or complaining, and following a recent piece in The Guardian about noisy sex, comments seem to suggest that the general public are intolerant of other people’s sex noises...but is it just me or does this attitude smack of jealousy?
I am reminded of a piece from a Nancy Friday collection of reader sexual fantasies, by a person who bases their adult fantasy life on their childhood experience of living in a large block of flats in a hot country. All the windows around a central garden would be open at night and the chorus of sex noises of the many couples in the block would keep the child awake, filling her head with images of what may be going on and a longing for future romance and excitement. This seems to me to be a far more loving way of viewing any noises that infiltrate your space than any sanctimonious frowning or gossiping, however I do appreciate that there is some sort of line.
People have to get up in the morning (to go to work!) and can’t be kept awake all night, and if the problem is the volume of words spoken during sex as opposed to general noises, then perhaps this is something that the children (or anyone else) in the neighbourhood shouldn’t hear. I see that someone’s advice in The Guardian is ‘buy a detached house’, which I am sure is an effective approach for the dependent-less rich among us, but perhaps not for the majority.
This all seems like a marvellous opportunity for people to use that most rarefied and delicious of personal attributes: common sense, and to add to that: generosity. If you feel that your neighbours are being ludicrous in their noise-making, you might send them a gracious note asking for a little less volume and explaining that they can be heard very clearly – perhaps they don’t actually know. If you feel that you’re loud yourselves, perhaps tone it down a little and don’t be noisy late at night. It may be, if you are always excessively loud, that you are demonstrating some kind of exhibitionistic tendency that could be varied to allow for more intimacy – is it not a bit repetitive to scream your head off every single time? If you can’t yet cum without loud noise then learning how to is an opportunity to expand your repertoire and get closer to your partner.
By the same token, I find a silent man disturbing, why is he so quiet? What is he withholding? If you tend to make no noise then of course it may just be your preference, but you could also ask yourself if you are feeling self-conscious with your partner. Might you and she/he enjoy some talk or a little moaning in bed? I know that I needn’t feel insecure with quiet men and that that’s my issue, but if this is a constant it is worth thinking about what’s underlying it.
I remember when I first fell for my current partner – oh, those early summery days of abandonment – and we were making love one morning in his flat which overlooked a cafe, windows open. All was fairly quiet until my very loud outburst at climax, to which someone in the cafe below replied, “Bloody hell!” and they and we all fell about laughing.
If you live in a situation where you are in conflict with your neighbours or intimidated in your area then perhaps this gentile kind of approach will not work for you and you must stick to more formal channels around noise regulation; if that is your situation then I sympathise, but for everyone else can we not just be a little thoughtful and tolerant and live and let live rather than write repressive put-downs in The Guardian?
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