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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

When the dorm room is a rockin’...

Allow me to share a story about something that happened to a good friend of mine in college. Let's call her Jennifer. One lovely afternoon, Jennifer was lying in bed by herself flipping the bean, petting the kitten, shaking hands with the unemployed'ahem, masturbating.  




Right. Anyway, one of the legs on her bed was the tiniest bit shorter than the others, so when she moved around, it sort of thumped against the floor. An easy thing to forget about once you get distracted, I'm sure.  




All of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. Jennifer, flustered, threw on a bathrobe and ran to open it. It was the girl who lived downstairs. Turns out, she'd heard a strange noise. It must have sounded eerily like, oh I don't know, a bed thumping against the floor, and, bless her heart, she decided to come upstairs to investigate. 'Are you, like, doing aerobics up here or something'? she asked. 'I keep, like, hearing this, like... thumping.' 




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'Aerobics,' Jennifer mumbled. 'Right.' The kind of aerobics you do in your bathrobe. In your bed.  




That sure was funny. Unless, of course, it had happened to me. Which, as I'm sure I pointed out at the beginning of this story'it didn't. Well, I occasionally think back on that touching 'Wonder Years' moment when I'm listening to my students discussing their sex lives in section. The question I always want to ask is... how?  




Sure, college students engage in sex. Many for the first time during their undergraduate years. You're free of parental supervision. Many of you find that your relationships are more stable and mature than they were in high school, which might make engaging in sexual activity more appealing. Others have simply become more comfortable with sex and their bodies and view this as a time of experimentation.  




For whatever the reason, a lot of people mark their college years as the beginning of their adult sex lives. (Masturbation, by the way, is totally a part of this since it's a necessary aspect of our lifelong sexual development'but more on that some other time.) One of the biggest problems you have, unfortunately, is privacy.  




Most students live in dorms for at least the first few years of school; many have to endure the sleepaway camp-like atmosphere of double or triple rooms. And even if you carefully memorize your roommate's class schedule you still have to worry about that irritating wench who lives downstairs and can't seem to mind her own friggin' business.  




Plus, the walls in a lot of dorms are so poorly soundproofed you can almost hear your neighbors breathing. If I said that people of every age have the right to engage in sexual expression and that a private place to do so is a part of being able to exercise that right, most people would think I was nuts.  




But I think that's true. We shouldn't have to feel embarrassed for doing something we all do, but we shouldn't have to feel like the whole world knows whenever we do it, either. Nor should we have to be subjected to the sex lives of our roommates on a night-to-night basis.  




Some institutions that house large numbers of people and require them to room together take this into account when they design their facilities. A lot of nursing and retirement homes have actually started providing extra bedrooms that residents can use if they need privacy for any reason (whether that's sex or simply a conversation they'd rather not share with their roommate). 




Many also take more care to soundproof rooms and design them in such a way as to maximize privacy. It would be nice if colleges also gave some thought to instituting measures like these when they plan student living spaces. Sex is something you have a right to have. Privacy should be too. And if you hear any strange noises, for God's sake, don't even think of asking.  








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