The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Sexclamations: In Dorm Sex, Roommate Communication a Must

4 min read


For some students, returning to school presents new barriers and limits to their sexual activity. For others, it opens a completely new realm of opportunities and locations to experiment with sex.

Whatever the case, one thing is certain; all students come to UMW with different levels of openness regarding sex, as well as varied experiences with sexual activities. Since you will probably be sharing a room with at least one other person, I highly recommend that you and your roommates set the ground rules regarding sexual activity in your shared living space as soon as possible. A conversation about ‘dorm sex rules’ will only get more awkward and difficult if you wait.

You do not need to state explicitly your sexual desires. Rather, you and your roommate should decide what sexual activities you will tolerate in your room and when. I highly recommend developing some sort of communication system or signal for private, sexual matters, such as a code illustration on the dorm room door. You could draw a banana on your dry-erase board, signaling that your roommate should call before entering the room. If you are comfortable having your roommate know something sexual is occurring in the room, the clearest way to communicate is via text message or in person.

Tell your roommate in advance if you plan to do something that might require some alone time in the room. Remember, your roommate would much rather leave the room than be awoken by the sounds of a bed creaking rhythmically. Moreover, having sex with a third party in the room ruins the heat of the moment. Agonizing over whether or not your roommate can hear your lovemaking takes away the pleasure and intimacy of coitus.

To make the discussion easier between you and your roommate(s), I have laid out a few dorm sex rules you may want to consider.

If your roommate is not actively and willingly engaging in you and your partner’s copulation, do not have sex while they are present—even if they are sleeping. Do not have sex while your roommate is in the room unless you have his/her permission.

Do not have sex in your roommate’s section of the room. In other words, do not have sex on his/her bed or desk. Your roommate will not find those sexual fluids on their sheets and chair as erotic as you and your sexual partner do.

Do not hog the room. This applies not only for sex, but also as a general guideline. Having a non-sexual ‘hermit crab’ roommate royally stinks; as does having a nymphomaniac constantly occupying the room. Give your roommate ample time alone in the room, regardless of whether or not sexual activities occur during that time.

Reassess these rules throughout the year. Make sure your arrangements for sexual activities are working well for everyone in the shared living space. The dialogue regarding sex between you and your roommates will become easier as you get to know one another better. Do not hold back when it comes to talking about sex, especially dorm sex rules. Explicitly state whether you are okay with certain activities.

Be proactive! It is much easier to say, “How do you feel about this,” or “what if…?” than “I did this last night. Was that okay?”  Chances are, if you ask your roommate how they feel about it after the fact, they will not tell you their genuine feelings about the issue.

Perhaps reading this article or thinking about having this discussion with your roommate makes you uneasy. If so, consider the possible outcomes of avoiding the discussion and making assumptions about what your roommate’s feelings are regarding sexual activity. If you do not talk about it, you are more likely to walk in on the act or wake up to passionate moans in the middle of the night. Simply having the conversation is much less awkward.

Do not postpone your discussion about dorm sex, for setting these rules during foreplay is neither stimulating nor sexy. Having this conversation with your roommate will not only make sex more intimate, it will make sex safer. Talking to your roommate about sex makes storing condoms and other forms of protection in the room less awkward. Overall, communication about sexual activities in the dorm room is essential in maintaining a pleasant, comfortable living space.

If you need help getting the conversation started or are gridlocked by conflicting viewpoints on the matter, ask you RA for some ideas on how to handle the situation.