There are a lot of benefits of living in an urban environment, or even just living near other people. Quiet is not one of them. When we live close to other people, it would behoove us to be understanding of the various noises that are created by human beings going about their lives. They deal with our children’s noises, we deal with their occasional football shouts or sex sounds. We get some better insulation and do our best to eliminate what sounds we can and politely ignore all the others. That’s the social contract.
Sex sounds are particularly awkward. Nobody wants to hear it. Most people do not want to be heard. It’s all terribly embarrassing to talk about. But one woman, however, has decided that the response to hearing a bit of accidental sex noise is to launch into a homophobic rant complete with blackmail and demands that her neighbor not have sex because she has a small child living in the apartment next door.
This poor guy wrote in to Dear Prudence this week because his new neighbor has a 4-year-old son. The kid was a bit noisy, but whatever. Everything was fine.
But then one day the child’s mother approached him and said that her son’s bedroom shared a wall with the man’s bedroom, and that she could hear the man having sex through the wall. The poor guy was mortified! He didn’t even think the sex was loud. But he apologized and said he’d try to keep it down, though what the mother actually wanted was an agreement that the man move his bedroom so that it was not near her son’s, or that the man not have sex with his partner in his own home.
That’s a completely unreasonable request. If she wanted the bedroom moved, she could have moved her son’s. But reasonableness is not on the table in this story, because in a later occasion, the woman reportedly ran after the man in the parking lot and screamed at him for “exposing her son to lewd behavior” by having normal adult consensual sex in his own house. Then she said that she’d call the police and have him arrested as a sexual predator, which is just evil. I’d like to think that she couldn’t be successful in this day and age, but I worry that she could.
The poor guy says he’s looking into soundproofing options, but clearly he’d be flustered by the woman’s threats. He’s not doing anything wrong by having sex in his house, and it sounds like he’s being very conscientious about trying to get the house soundproofed. The woman blaming all this on her kid is pretty gross, too. Her 4-year-old does not know what is going on. Nobody wants sex sounds coming through the wall of their kid’s bedroom, but if that happens, a reasonable person explores her own soundproofing options, gets a couple white noise machines, or moves her own kid’s bedroom. She doesn’t demand that her neighbors stop having sex in their homes, and she certainly doesn’t threaten to file false criminal reports against her neighbors in an attempt to have them branded sexual predators.