This is an issue that probably plagues a lot of people these days; with jobs hard to come by and usually low-paying when they materialize, more people than ever living in cities, and everybody being so damn sexy. Most of us are living with at least one roommate, and unless you’re incredibly comfortable with your co-habitants, it’s awkward to get down to banging with someone in the next room. Especially here in New York, where most apartments have had walls hastily thrown up in the past few decades to accomodate more people, even relatively quiet coitus can be heard loud and clear from down the hall. Personally, I live in an apartment building with most of my apartment separated by a hallway from the one next door, and I can STILL hear every detail. Which, frankly, can be kind of hot. But I know that this means my neighbors can also hear ME when I’m bumping uglies (aww, gee, they’re not ugly!), and I don’t like it even without having to share a shower with them.
So I commend you on your planning skills. If you’re not into being evesdropped on by you our your partner’s roommates every time you want to get nekkid, spending a few minutes juggling schedules is a great idea and one that, frankly, most people I know wouldn’t bother with. You’re to be commended for forcing the time to materialize so you can get hot with your honey.
But I’ve been there and done that. Waiting until the roommates are all gone, planning ahead to be sure everything is lined up and ready by the bed (lube, toys, restraints, gerbils… whatever) for the big moment, making sure you’re wearing your nice underwear the day of… It can put a lot of pressure on the act and take a lot of the flavor out of the fornication. It feels like a presentation at work or a doctor’s appointment instead of the wild, spontaneous, sexy adventure you want it to be. Kind of like I’ve heard friends say trying to have a baby can be–fun and all, but the fireworks are fizzled down to a sparkler. And not just because it’s weird to negotiate time and place before getting down, but because half the time the roommates come back early and cut your enjoyment just when things are getting fun! (Not that you’d stop if someone came into the living room–I HOPE you wouldn’t stop!–but you might just try to keep yourselves quiet, which is only sex SOMEtimes.)
It’s a tough situation. If you don’t plan ahead, you might never get to boogie. But when you DO, the “sucking” part of the deal just took on a different meaning. I can think of a few options for you to try, but it depends a lot on the temperament of yourself and your partner, as well as your comfort levels with the libido-lowering roommates:
1) Just say fuck the roommates and do what you want, when you want. I’d imagine they know that you and your partner enjoy having sex, so it’d be a bit much for them to expect you never to do it when they’re around. Unless they’re some kind of weird no-sex-without-marriage cult kids (in which case… uh… move out, pronto!), or you and your partner are involved in some very out-there stuff that might make them decidedly uncomfortable (which is still weird, unless you’re the kind that likes to narrate every action: “Do you like it when I put that paper towel tube there? Yeah? How about this slice of PIZZA!”), they should be able to stand a little overheard moaning.
2) Or perhaps, even if rodents and shaving cream aren’t involved in the majority of your coital encounters, you and your partner are very loud sexateers. Some people really just are, and it would be insensitive and rude to ask those people to turn down their volume if that’s what they do when they feel good. If your decibel levels approach those of howler monkeys during the act, I suppose it’s best if the roommates aren’t around unless you’re prepared to ask them to don earmuffs every time you close your bedroom door.
3) But then again, you and your partner might be more secretive types who just don’t feel comfortable if you know that they might suspect you. Again, it’s all about comfort levels. Some people just can’t stand the thought that anyone might know what they’re doing. Especially if you and your partner are private people, or people who enjoy things that aren’t easy to keep private, this is an issue. For instance, I’m very happy to live alone these days because I have two partners and sometimes entertain others. If I had roommates, I would either have to be very open about my poly habits, or just not care that my roommates and their friends might someday see me leading my boyfriend and a third party into the bedroom only to proceed to make quite a ruckus while they were watching an America’s Next Top Model marathon. If you and your partner have other partners or anything else that requires an obvious parade-of-non-vanilla through the apartment, and if that makes you and/or your roommates uncomfrotable, then planning is your best bet. So kudos!
If (3) is the issue, then I have a few sub-suggestions.
3a) This is the important bit. DO NOT put tons of pressure on yourselves to have sex every time you’ve scheduled it. Sure, if you’re both really randy by the time you get five minutes to yourself, by all means, rock each other’s worlds. Or, of course, if you’ve invited over a friend or friends for sexy-play-time, then yes, proceed to feel a little pressured to make the magic happen. But if it’s just you and your partner, and it’s a Wednesday night and you just got home from work, and the roommates are out for their… I dunno, what do roommates do? …their football watching at the local pub (is Wednesday a football night?)… but you’re kind of tired and hungry… but you only have two hours before they might get back… but you really just want to order Chinese and watch Hell’s Kitchen (yes, I enjoy competitive reality television, so what?)… but you remembered to put your best undies on to impress your main squeeze and you were gonna try this new Kama Sutra position you read about… but your head really kind of hurts… Then, dude, don’t push yourself. The last thing you want is for sex to be a chore. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone. If you’re not in the mood, forcing it will just make planning the next time worse. Seems to me that if you’re in a committed enough relationship that you scheduel ahead for sexy time, you’re in a committed enough relationship to be able to stay on the couch and have a beer some nights, too. And hey, if you put it off this time and then feel a pang of regret and randiness, next time might be even better!
3b) If you can’t take the pressure and decide to push through and go for it… don’t make it too serious. Sex might be great when it’s spontaneous and passionate, but sex is also fantastic when you can laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. If you’ve got a 30-minute window you’ve been planning for a week and a half and you’re totally psyched for it but feel a little stupid about trying to make a strip-down happen in 5 seconds flat… well, laugh about it! Relieve some of the tension you’re both feeling. Shed some light on how ridiculous it is that your sex now involves juggling the schedules of multiple non-involved parties and get it over with. Enjoy it!
3c) Don’t tell your roommates I said this, but sometimes the best way to liven up something that isn’t so lively is to switch locations. You’ve got a few hours of total alone time in a usually-crowded apartment? Do it (cleanly, with no residue, please) on the couch. Bent over the kitchen table. Up against the refrigerator. In the shower. Right there in the hallway in front of the front door (quietly, so if anybody is coming home early you’ll hear them)! Spicing it up doesn’t have to involve trips to the beach if you’re on a roommate-living budget. I’m not suggesting you go to town on your roomie’s bed (although… if the roomie is hot… hm…), but as long as you’re clean about it, and respectful enough to wipe up afterward, nobody ever has to know. How’s that for spicy?
3d) When in desperation, a little surreptitious work WITH the roommates might be in order. Remember college? Remember the sock or tie over the doorknob, or whatever other delicate (to preserve your partner’s sense of dingity) signal you may have used that meant DO NOT FUCKING COME IN HERE? If your partner is worried about people knowing what’s going on but is willing to work on being a little quiet in the bedroom if it means you can have some spontaneous sex… have a talk with your roommate(s) beforehand. Tell them to be respectful when you give the sexy-time signal, and reward them with something nice if they’re willing to do it. In the end, most people understand that alone time is necessary, and even if they’re not the most delicate of individuals, they’ll give you your space when you need it if you’re honest.