A Great Divide

My roommate (that had a problem with hearing sex) and I had the rest of our talk yesterday.  Our other roomie joined in too.  To be honest I was dreading the talk.  The roomie with the complaint had said that she had figured out something about herself that would hopefully help me understand her and that she looked forward to resolving this because it was making it hard for her to study because she was so upset by this.  Not a auspicious start.

ImageI sort of figured she’d explain why she was not okay with hearing quiet sex and where would that leave us?  Once I understood why me having sex would upset her, what do I do with that?  Say “listen.. I hear that you have this feeling or thought or whatever but I’m going to have sex anyway so screw you”?  Or “gosh, now that I understand why you are so disturbed I will give up sex?  Or never have sex in our home?”  Not exactly great places to sit.  This is a pretty un-mendable rift, right?  Either she has to not feel something she feels or I have to give up sex?

It wasn’t as bad as all that, but it wasn’t awesome.  I ended up crying at one point.  She was trying to explain and kept saying “so many men” and “so much sex”.  She wasn’t trying to be shaming but it felt like shaming.  I started to feel that we were likely not going to be able to solve this and wondering what I would do for 8 months remaining on my lease or thinking of the prospect of moving.

train station rainI feel like my entire life was dumped out.  I lost everything and not just my husband.  I lost ready contact to my friends and all my routines.  I moved across the water and to a whole new life.  I lost everything.  I lost my deli and my gym and my trainer.  I lost my massages and my Saturday farmer’s market rituals and Sunday coffees at Blackbird.  I lost my teas and my favorite places and knowing where things are and having people to just meet for coffee.  I lost my cat, that sat on my chest and snuggled me and liked me best of all the humans in all of the world.  I lost my dog’s kisses and their sweet faces when I came home.

I am just starting to feel like I’m getting some of that back or I might some day.  I’m finally figuring out where stuff is in the grocery store or where to park my car and where on earth I can buy those bags you wash your bras in.  You know?  I was seeing my little fledgling life uprooting again.

old groceryIt also felt like something I could never explain to her and no way for me to be comfortable in my home and meet her expectations.  If she is expecting to sit 6 feet over my head and not be able to tell I am having sex I would fail.  I have already failed.  She said she has heard me a few times in the last couple of months and I was being quiet and playing music.  The night she texted was the night the music was on low and we were going to sleep before we had this beautiful connected sex.  We whispered!  I’d asked him what he wanted and he’d whispered that he wanted to feel me move on him.  We’d watched each others faces and kissed and kissed and kissed.  I was so full of love for him.  When I could no longer keep my eyes open from the pleasure of him, I’d whispered in his ear how much I loved him and how good he felt and he’d whispered in mine too.  It was so warm and sweet and passionate and loving.  She heard our ragged breathing and made the point that it wasn’t just that she could hear our breathing.  She knew it was “sex breathing”.  I’d argued that she could hear it if I did jumping jacks but she said “but I know it’s not jumping jacks!”.

passionate coupleI cried during the conversation with my roomie because I feel powerless about this and I hate that it’s about my sex.  I felt stupid crying.  I hate sitting there like a bad kid begging to be okay quietly loving a man I’m in love with.  I hate apologizing for my sex.  I hate feeling like what I am doing is bad or dirty or hurtful or too much.  It’s beautiful. I hate that it’s still so easy to make me feel bad for wanting what I want or loving what I love.  I hate that I am carrying around this thing that makes it so easy to hurt me by saying “too much”.  That’s an old old old old old wound I have done so much work on and healed so much.  I’m so tired of being yet another woman apologizing for being too sexual or too passionate or too loving or too loud or too wanting.  I’m so fucking tired of deeper and deeper layers in me to find and ferret out of the little girl who felt ashamed for not being the quiet and patient and demure little thing I should have been.

little girl rainWe came up with a plan, that I will play my music and be considerate – which is very reasonable.  And that I will tell her when I am having dates come to the house – which is honestly really odd, but something I’m willing to do.  I asked her to consider wearing headphones or playing the TV louder and she kind of agreed and trailed off with.. well.. when I’m studying….  I was left feeling like it was worth a shot but not very certain.  I was relieved that my other roommate kind of came to my defense a little or interjected some thought too.  She had remained pretty neutral in the discussion.  I love my home and where I live but I think the writing is likely on the wall.  What is the old saying?  Hope for the best but plan for the worst?

Hey.. at least I know where that next layer of that old stuff to work on is.  There’s that.


  1. I so hate that you are having to deal with that. You are an adult and should be able to have sex when, where and how you want. You totally need your own place!! But I know that can be expensive.

    I have a hard time understanding why it’s so upsetting to them but maybe that’s just me. If I didn’t want to hear it I would leave the room or turn on my own music or do something to tune it out. As adult roommates I’d figure it was none of my business, unless we were close enough for me to do a little teasing and laughing about it, no shame.


    • Yeah, Seattle is an expensive town. It’s a long story, but I won’t likely be able to afford to live alone for another year or so. I actually like living with people. I tried to be very clear but somehow still wasn’t. When I said I would have dates here, maybe 3 times a week on average, my roommate thought I meant I’d have dates in the area, like dinners and such and come home alone. When I described who would be coming here and told her about them she thought I was just saying who’d pick me up or something. My real frustration is that nothing was said when I was month to month.. or before I moved in or before I signed the lease. But water under the bridge.. here we are. I hope we do actually compromise. I really like it here.


  2. Ugh. I feel you on so much of this. It is so easy to walk around filled with shame, because others don’t understand that we are sexual and the way that we express that. I get that your roommate is uncomfortable. Sex is always a tricky thing when multiple people are living in one house. It frustrates me for you, because even though you will continue to be considerate, the fact is that you will likely not be able to be comfortable having sex in your own home, with your lovers, and that your roommate will continue to be uncomfortable with the knowledge that you are having sex. It sucks.

    This is perhaps a shitty thing for me to say (I don’t know her, and it feels like I am doing some reverse slut-shaming), but I almost feel bad for her for being so uncomfortable with sexuality.

    I really hope you can figure something out. And I hope that if you do end up moving, you can find a place in the same neighbourhood so you can maintain your equilibrium. Good luck.


    • I like that you are trying to understand my one roommate’s position too. It is a difficult situation to both need something to be comfortable in our home that conflicts. I am happy to do what I can to make her comfortable and I hope she meant it when she said she’d try too, because there are things she can do too. I’m not sure if she sees that, but I hope so.

      In her defense I don’t think she WANTED to slut-shame me. I also wish she wouldn’t have gone into how once a week is a more “normal” amount. At the time I laughed at that because I think people vary widely on that and 2-3 times a week is not at all excessive, but yeah.. later it bothered me to feel judged for the amount. I don’t think she wanted to judge and she’s a sweet person who really wants to help people, but it bothered me. She tried to tell me that she accepted “my lifestyle” and that she wasn’t judging, because she is sweet and doesn’t WANT to judge me. But I think her comments about the amount of men, or the amount of times per week kinda betrayed her feelings about this and that kinda tweaked stuff in me that isn’t her fault too.

      Thank you for your comment and support and for understanding her too but backing me up. And thank you for the sweet wishes. I hope I stay here or close to here too! 🙂


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