“My boyfriend [in Boston] lived in an on-campus apartment last year, and his roommate and he decided to split up the space so they didn’t have to share a room. So, my boyfriend’s bed was in the living room/kitchen area, it wasn’t a real room, but it was his bedroom. It was really inconvenient waking up in the morning, in [his] bed, when his roommate had to walk through the ‘room’ to get out…It just seems that sex in dorm rooms is more conducive to banging in dorm rooms,” recalled Weinberg freshman Caitlin H. rather woefully about her sexual experiences since college life. “There’s no making love in a dorm room, it’s just sex.”
Whether it’s “just sex” or “making love” that you’re after, having sex in college dorms rooms seems to be a different experience from having sex in your room at home. The space has “temporary” written all over it, and was in no way designed for intimacy. (Wait, someone came to the conclusion that all Northwestern kids do is study?) But before you resign yourself to a life of mediocre sex in inappropriate places, know that even your room has potential be “sexy” with just a few add-ons and changes.
Clean it up, before and after:
This one may seem like a bit of common sense, but I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t a problem. Clean your rooms! If you plan on having sex anytime in the future, it’s a good idea to make sure that your room is at least to the point where there is a space to sit or lie down for the act. If you have an unexpected visitor, you don’t want to have to shuffle around awkwardly throwing things into piles on the floor, or worse — you may completely kill the mood with the realization that the dull pain in your back is actually caused by shoe or half-eaten bag of chips.
“When there’s a lot of stuff everywhere and you have to move stuff just to sit down, it’s not even fun just to hang out in the room,” says Weinberg senior Lyzanne Trevino. “You just don’t want to be in there… [especially] if it smells; no one wants to be in a janky, sweaty room.”
So clean it up and spray it down. Yep, it’s that simple. Even if you can’t be persuaded to tidy up before-hand, at the very least clean up when it’s all over. Be sure to keep track of used condoms and wrappers, because more than a turn off — it’s plain nasty. It’s also good practice to strip the sheets from your bed the morning after so you (or someone else) won’t “accidentally” sleep on them the next night.
Lightening up the mood:
Those of us who live on South Campus are aware that not all dorm rooms come with overhead lighting, while those of us on North Campus know that the yucky white fluorescent lights are not only unreliable but also extremely unflattering for just about everyone. When creating a space for sex, lighting can be important if you choose to use it.
First, the more light you have at night, the more aware you should be about your windows and curtains. With the lights on, chances are good that if you can see people outside, they can see you inside. Caitlin admits that she can see “activities” going on in 1835 Hinman from the window of her room in Jones. “I’ve seen people running through the hall, and then they disappear for a minute and reappear on another floor. It’s like I can watch their lives, which is kind of creepy. I mean, I’ve seen people having sex and kind of just have to turn away.”
On campus housing contracts don’t allow candles, incense or other flammable light sources in the rooms, but it might be in your interest to invest in a product like Febreze Flameless Luminaries, which are more like scented night-lights than candles but still provide the desired effect. A string of Christmas lights (equally prohibited, but far less detectable) can also be used to create a rather seductive ambiance.
When having sex in an on-campus dorm room, the idea is to make your room look and feel more personalized and less like a place where hundreds before you have done the very same intimate and possibly regrettable deed. It really depends on your personality and style, but silk sheets and a few extra pillows generally make a nice touch.
Keep in mind that there is very little privacy even inside your room. Creaky, squeaky, springy beds plus thin, hollow walls just don’t go together in any situation. So the moment that you think everything is quiet is not the time to be loud (unless you get off on that kind of thing). “I lived in a hall where the walls were paper thin,” explained Trevino. “You could hear the person next to you typing on their laptop, which means that you have to be very aware of all the things they could hear from your room…[and] even though people are sleeping in the middle of the night doesn’t mean that they are not going to wake up because they can hear you.”
Music can be useful in drowning out sounds (from both inside and outside the room) and creating a sexy backdrop for your bed session. “I definitely have a sex playlist,” confessed Caitlin; “there’s some Barry White on there; he’s the quintessential ‘getting down’ music.”
She also suggests placing your mattress on the floor to liberate yourself from bunked beds (or at least away form the wall in un-bunked situations). “I’m a pretty tall girl and I can’t even sit on the bed with my back straight without hitting the springs on the top mattress, so I put the mattress on the floor, and then my room is sex-ready.”