When Your Neighbor's Sex Is Too Loud

How do you deal with neighbors who have noisy sex? Or a lover who is so loud you feel like you can't look your floor-mates in the face?

Recently, someone I know was dating a man who was a noisy lover. (Mr. Noisy MAY have been the Junior Mint referred to in this post. Or not.) Mr. Noisy liked to say her name over and over again, quite loudly, at the moment of climax. This never bothered her when they were at his place; he had the entire top floor of a brownstone to himself, and she figured if anyone could hear them, it was probably only God, who was looking down, condemning her to Hell for her wanton ways. (Only kidding. But for some of us, the Catholic guilt can run deep.)

On the more rare occasions when they were at her place, she worried she was bugging her neighbors.

On the other side of her bedroom wall was the bedroom of the nice couple who shared the floor with her. Those neighbors were incredibly nice people, considerate and helpful, who did things like watering her plants when she went on vacation and offering to help carry her groceries up the four flights of stairs in their building. Even if she hadn't liked her neighbors, she wouldn't have wanted them to hear her having sex — and because she did like them, very much, she was even more concerned about not disturbing their sleep or harassing them with noise pollution of an illicit nature. On top of it, all the neighbors in her building were fairly close with each other — so what if they not only could hear her now and then but also mentioned her eager lover to the other brownstone dwellers?

Whenever she encountered her sweet neighbors, she began to wonder: "Have they heard us? Do they think I'm a lunatic? Have I woken them up at any point?"

But of course, she didn't feel like she could say to them, "Guys, am I having sex too loudly? You can tell me. I've tried to ask my dude to be more quiet, but sometimes, he forgets."

What's more, they lived in an old brownstone with thick walls. They probably couldn't hear — right? Also, if she and Mr. Noisy were bothering them, they would have said something about it by then — wouldn't they?

Then again, they were nice Southerners. Maybe they felt as awkward as she did — or more so — about broaching the topic.

So: Had they heard her — or had they not?

Before long, her anxiety was rendered moot: She and Junior broke up.

I myself was once bothered by a couple who was very clamorous in the bedroom. Way back in my early days in NYC, I lived in a teacup-sized apartment with a roommate. The place should have been a one-bedroom — it was split into two by a thin plywood wall. My roomie and her beau were screamers — so loud that they often woke me up. They also woke up our downstairs neighbor. I was friendly with him, and one day he said, "Have you ever noticed your roommate has really loud sex?" I blushed — even at that level of removal, it was an embarrassing thing to discuss.

By then, I'd already asked my roommate about 80 times to be more quiet, and I was starting to feel like a nag — a bitter, single nag. So I told my neighbor he should do it.

But the problem was only really solved — for me — when I moved.

Folks, I wonder: Have you ever been in a situation like this — either because you were dating a noisemaker or because one of your neighbors was? How did you handle it? I can imagine that even if you had the composure to ask a neighbor about it directly, it might not go over so well. Would you loop in the landlord?