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Auntie SparkNotes: Should I Tell My Roommate I'm Having Sex?

Auntie SparkNotes: Should I Tell My Roommate I'm Having Sex?

Hey Auntie,

I am 18 years old, a senior in high school, about to go off to college. Yay! I have a WONDERFUL and AMAZING boyfriend who will be staying in my hometown while I go to school two hours away. We have been doing the HND for about five months now. Everything with that is great, safe, and fun. None of this is the problem.

At my college of choice I am rooming with a girl I know from high school, a friend but not a close one. We both have boyfriends and agreed "overnight guests" are fine (we are even getting a futon, partially to accommodate such guests), and that if one of us wants some "alone time" with said guest the other is happy to go see a movie or something *wink wink*. But I'm pretty sure she has no idea what "alone time" could entail for me, and that she is not participating in the same... extracurricular activities.

Now here comes the problem: Should I tell her that I'm having sex, and more importantly, that I want to have sex in our shared space and perhaps on our shared futon? (We are lofting our beds so, my BF and I could not both fit up there even for just a nap.) I have kept my sex life private—my parents know, my partner is obviously aware, but the only friend I've told is my best friend who lives in the next state over.

I don't think my roommate will judge me, but because she is not a stranger, and still has connections to my hometown... WHAT IF? Holidays and stuff I will see our old group of mutual friends, and we live in a pretty conservative area, I don't want my life to be the subject of gossip.

So here is what it comes down to, does my roommate have the right to know, and then express her preferences on my HND activity in our shared dorm room? And if I tell her, when? I have talked to my mom and my BF but they kind of had conflicting answers I would really love to hear what you have to say!

Well, first and foremost, what I have to say is this: I don't know where you got the idea that you and your guy couldn't confine your activities to your own bed—is one of you seven feet tall and several hundred pounds?—but I can assure you that right now, as we speak, many a college couple are very capably dancing naked and horizontally on lofted mattresses in their dorm rooms.

Which, y'know, you might want to consider and perhaps attempt at least once yourselves, before you start grinding your naked buttocks all over the shared furniture.

But that said, for the love of everything, the answer is no—and by "no," I mean, "NOOOOOOO!"—your roommate does not have a right to know the precise details of your physical relationship or declare certain acts off-limits to you when you and your boyfriend are alone in the room. And if she has no idea you're HND-ing in there? GOOD. Because the whole point of having a private space is that nobody else knows what's going on in it.

So if one person vacates the room in order to give her roommate (and any guests) their privacy, all bets are instantly off. Once that door shuts, the remaining roommate has carte blanche to do whatever she wants, whether it's having sex, playing naked Twister, eating her way through a jumbo-sized bag of Cheetos, or having an argument with her goldfish about which One Direction member has the nicest butt.

And if the absent roommate wouldn't like your Cheeto-eating, sex-having, naked Twist-a-thon ways? That's why you only do this stuff when she isn't in the room. What she doesn't know won't hurt her, and in return, all that's required on your part is to show basic respect for her space and her things—or in other words, you don't play Twister on her bed, and you clean up the Cheeto dust before she comes home. (It also technically means that you shouldn't get busy on the shared furniture, i..e. the futon... but let's be real, everyone has sex on the futon, usually while simultaneously pretending that they've never done so, thus allowing all parties to preserve the comforting illusion of a futon undefiled. Because, y'know, college.)

So, the good news is, your private time in the room is exactly that: private. Behind closed doors, what you do with your body, and with your boyfriend, is your business. Please feel free to keep it that way.

That said, please be forewarned: you're kidding yourself if you think that this (or anything else) will insulate you from being the subject of gossip. If people want to talk about you, they're going to talk about you, and if they don't have any reliable information, they'll be perfectly happy to make something up. The point being: since you can't control what people think or say about you—because none of us can do that, ever—it's up to you to live your life in a way that makes you so happy, and so fulfilled, that you couldn't care less.

And if that means keeping your sex life a relative secret while also getting busy on the futon... well, good for you. But at least put a towel down. Please. Thank you.

Do you tell your roomie all when it comes to your solo room time, or do you keep your privates private? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at
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Topics: Advice
Tags: etiquette, auntie sparknotes, college, advice, roommates, dorms, hnd

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Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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