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ISSUE 121 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/5/2007

Sex on the Hill: Sexiled

By Miriam Samuelson
News Editor

Friday, October 5, 2007

Alone in your room with your significant (or not so significant) other, you make efficient use of your time together: lips barely touch before fingers flutter up shirts and fumble for belt buckles; you're flushed, you're horizontal on the futon, you're partially clothed. All of a sudden, you hear your roommate jingle her keys outside the door. She enters the room to see things that you definitely didn't warn her about in that roommate contract you signed your first year. Awkward.

You've just had four grueling classes in a row –- - why did you sign up to have all your classes on Fridays? Your P.O. was full of Friday Flowers, but they were intended for someone else. You know you just failed that midterm. You struggle through choir rehearsal, stumble home, grope through your backpack for your keys, unlock the door, and instead of finding your futon cushions primed for napping, you find your roommate on them primed for intercourse. She's naked. She's with her boyfriend, and he's naked. And hairy. So hairy. Awkward.

No one wants to be on either side of this embarrassing scenario, but let's be honest: getting some time to yourself is difficult in college, and finding a place to get it on is even harder. No one wants to see you spoon in the window seats on their way to the library, nor do they want to see you and your loved one stage a tearful make-out goodbye as they walk down from dinner. So how do you find time for these tender moments?

Although it seems forced to schedule sexy time and uncomfortable to acknowledge to your roommate that you're a sexual being, it will be better for everyone if you get over your embarrassment and talk to all parties involved, especially your roommate and partner.

Getting up the courage to tell your roommate that you and your partner want alone time runs against the St. Olaf norm of "Minnesota nice," but giving her a surprise night spent curled up alone on a lounge couch with an issue of the Mess for a blanket is worse. As peer health educator and fellow sex columnist Katherine Oyster advised in her Wellness Center talk on sexiling, be respectful. Give your roommate time to contemplate her choices, wait until she has enough buddies on whose couches she can crash –- - at least let her grab her toothbrush.

And for the less directly communicative or more spur-of-the-moment hookups, there's always the tried-and-true door handle/whiteboard signals. Although using these on a regular basis leaves your roommate out in the cold and doesn't respect her right to half the room, they can be used in an emergency (and by emergency I mean a fit of primal passion). A scrunchie on the door handle is a classic, but a code word on the whiteboard also works - -– phrases such as "your grandma called and will call back at 9 p.m." can surreptitiously give your roommate a time frame or a suggestion about when to return.

And if you're a victim of superfluous sexiling? The communication goes both ways. While it's tempting to bow out respectfully or passive aggressively stay in the room while they're groping each other in the corner, chances are you'll be less bitter if you just work something out. Your nonchalance is key here too - -– it's really not that big of a deal for either of you and you can make arrangements with a five- or 10-minute conversation. While the added company of a roommate's significant other can be nice, most rooms are made for two, so speak up if your space is being invaded.

No one else's sex drive should dictate your schedule –- - a photocopy of your class and activities schedule can be a subtle way to hint at times when the room will be available. In my experience with sexile victimhood, it's not so much about being uncomfortable with the person as it is about feeling left out, so be honest about that too. The more communicative you are, the more empathy your roommate will have and the more respectful she'll be.

Although conversations about sexiling make things decidedly less juicy and potentially more awkward with your roommate in the short term, they'll free you of the every-five-minute-doorward-glancing paranoia that defines so much of the college student's love life. Getting booty may satisfy the burning in your loins, but there's nothing like an uncomfortable conversation to make you more comfortable with yourself.

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