Neighbors Hear My Sex

Neighbor objects to my noisy sex

Q. Five months ago, I bought an apartment unit in a building full mostly of people who are sixty years and older. I’m in my thirties and very sexually active so, from time to time, a lover will come over – and our sex can get rather loud. Anyway, I received an anonymous note in my mail box from one of my neighbors. All it had in it was a newspaper clipping from a well-known advice column with the title, “Neighbor’s loud lovemaking makes me blush.” I spent all this money to buy the unit and I should be able to have sex in it how I want – it is my home after all! I think I know who sent me the hint and I want to confront them about it, but my best friend advised against it. However, I still feel strongly about doing it anyway. What do you think I should do?

A. Before you make this situation any more awkward, stop and think about what you will really likely accomplish. As reluctant as you might be to change to your lifestyle, to accommodate this new living situation, you need to compromise. Sharing walls with others means that it’s easier for them to hear everything you do – whether it’s moving furniture, playing loud music, or (in your case) exercising your vocals cords, etc. in the bedroom. It isn’t fair for nearby residents to be hyper vigilant about noise levels, but it also isn’t courteous of you to assume that your midnight yodeling won’t affect others.

When apartment buildings cater to an older population, they usually make it known in the real estate listing. Did you take into account the type of people living in your building before you purchased the unit? If so, you might have been able to foresee the potential effect of your sexual habits on the seniors living within earshot. Either way, your activities do have an impact on other people in the building – and for that, you need to accept responsibility.

Your neighbor approached the issue with delicacy, tact and above all else, a pretty good sense of humor. Think about it; there is no easy way for anyone to bring this up delicately, let alone someone double your age that you barely know. They didn’t scold, they didn’t threaten; they simply brought their concern to light without putting either one of you on the spot. Using the advice column clipping was impressive, and the title alone suggests their embarrassment over the situation, rather than hostility towards you.

It’s also quite possible that you have upset other neighbors who have not spoken out yet. If you antagonize this neighbor further, you may end up turning this into a very big noise indeed! Most condos have rules about excessive noise. Do you really want to risk this all going ‘public’ with them possibly lodging a formal complaint to the Condo Committee?

Despite the annoyance of restricting how you behave in your own home, it’s all a part of communal living. Take comfort in the fact that those living closest to you are being very accepting when they could have been jerks about it instead. Don’t confront them; just tone it down and save the loud lovin’ for your lover’s place, or for periods when other daytime noises can cover your other more rambunctious activities.

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