Warning: This article contains sexually explicit references and is intended for an adult audience.
If you live with other people, you'll know there are a handful of things that will earn you the title of "bad flatmate". Dirty dishes, passive-aggressive notes, and non-silent sex all top my list. According to a survey of renters by realestate.com.au, loud sex is even more frustrating in shared flats than late rent payments.
Having sex without waking your flatmates up, or not drawing any attention to the fact you've jumped on the good foot to do the bad thing, is a challenge. You shouldn't have to resort to only having sex when nobody's home. Nor should you be resigned to only getting it on at roadside motels.
1. Get off the bed
Most beds – especially student beds that may be secondhand or old – will give you and your sexual exploits away. Those springs, coils, and headboard are not your friends, because they all may squeak, rub, or bang against other surfaces. There are some options to prevent sounds from your bed, like pulling your headboard at least 10 centimetres away from the wall and ensuring all four corners sit on a rug, not the carpet free floor.
To remove all chances of your bed screaming in ecstasy before you do, get off it completely. Throw cushions on the floor and you can have pretty silent sex, and still be comfortable. It also opens you up to loads of inventive positions.
2. Use technology
Music can be great to mask your sex sounds and make you more comfortable, but loud tunes are another great way to anger your flatmates. People who have trouble sleeping have always known there's a genius way of blocking outside sounds – white noise machines. But did you know they work both ways? If there's white noise playing in your room, those on the other side of the wall won't hear you either.
The gentle, wind-like whir of white noise covers up everything. It is so constant and inoffensive that nobody will know it's even playing. You don't need to buy a bona fide white noise machine anymore – any smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Alexa has it on tap, or you can find it in playlists on YouTube, Spotify, et. al.
3. Keep it hush-hush
Trying to be quiet during sex can be an incredible turn-on. Think of it like being drunk in public during the daytime: it's like holding in a secret from everyone around you.
For the occasional, unavoidable aural expression of pleasure, I recommend having an action movie like John Wick, or a series like Game of Thrones, playing in the background. Make a sexy game out of it, and hold in your yelping until you have a 30-second fight scene with gunfire or swords clashing to muffle your own sounds. Being as quiet as you can until you're allowed not to be is arousing on its own.
4. Utilise stealthy positions
Several sexual positions are quite quiet overall because they involve minimal movement and friction. Super-slow missionary position is basically silent, and you can roll your hips and instead of thrusting (which can create loud noises). Spooning positions also work well, and as a bonus are convenient for the aforementioned mouth-covering game.
Side-to-side mutual masturbation is a coming-of-age favourite for young people exploring their sexuality under their parents' roofs, and a good technique for not bothering the flatmates in adulthood. Or, there's various kinds of standing sex positions. And by holding onto a stationary and heavy piece of furniture like a table or couch, you can have firmly-balanced, quiet sex with relative ease.
5. When all else fails, head to the bathroom
The shower or bath is your best friend for clandestine sex when you live with flatmates. You just have to become good at getting in and out quickly. Shower sex is muffled by the rush of flowing water, you just have to be careful not to slip by choosing what to hold on to.
If you're worried about using all the hot water up (another sign of a bad flatmate), run the shower on cold water as an audible decoy, and have sex outside of it. Again, be careful what you grab on to for stability here, however. People do rip things like taps, sinks, and towel rails right off the walls during sex.