Sharehouse etiquette: masturbation

Privacy is hard to come by when you’re living in a sharehouse. Masturbation is an important part of sexual wellness, but it can be hard to relax and enjoy your ‘alone time’ when your housemate is folding laundry in the next room. 

LBDO asked four people how they navigate masturbating while living in a sharehouse. Here’s what they had to say, including whether they use toys when their housemates are home, masturbating in common areas, and what they’d do if they got caught. 

Belinda, She/Her – Lives with one other person 

I definitely wouldn’t care if I heard my housemate masturbating. I’d just pretend I hadn’t, and put my headphones in. 

I use my vibrator when my housemate is at home. She may actually have heard me at some stage, but what are you going to do? I’m single, and the wall we share is really thin. I’m most likely to masturbate at night when we’re both usually home and in bed. I just hope she doesn’t hear. There’s always plausible deniability that I’m watching TikTok or something. 

I enjoy masturbating more when I’m at home alone, because I can be louder and less inhibited. The only shared room I would masturbate in is the bathroom, since it’s an area that can be made private. It’s good to mix it up. 

Logan, He/They – Lives with two other people 

I’ve actually had a conversation with my housemates about privacy. I said they have to knock before entering my room because I might be masturbating. If they want to make it awkward, that’s on them for walking in. And they said “same goes”. So now I masturbate a lot more freely, because the rules are more clearly defined. There’s also a part of me that wants them to walk in once, because it’s the best way for them to learn not to walk into my room without knocking. 

I definitely prefer it when I’m the only one at home. When someone else is around, it’s a one-earbud moment. I’m half in the room, and half on housemate watch. When I’m at home alone, it’s a two-earbud moment. That’s when I know I’m enjoying myself.

Harry, He/Him – Lives with three other people 

I masturbate when my housemates are home, but I’m conscious of where everyone is and the activities occurring in the house at the time. Overall, I don’t really give a f*** if anyone hears. We live in a sex positive house. I’ve heard my housemates having sex. There’s an initial jolt of realisation but then I zone out. It can’t last forever, so who cares? 

Our house has a study, and I guess I might masturbate in there if I was reading or something and came across a feeling I wanted to follow. It’s just another room. Also, having sex in rooms other than your own is thrilling. 

Mel, She/Her – Lives alone 

I live alone, and sexually speaking, I have always been shy. I would be mortified if someone caught me masturbating. Based on previous sharehouse experiences, too, I will say that I also would prefer not to hear my housemates masturbating. It would be my preference that they are quiet about it. 

When it comes to sex with a partner, I'm generally mediumly-quiet when I know people are around. That being said, once in a blue moon, I think you're allowed to have one howling orgasm... just not all the time and not for hours on end. My biggest tip for housemates would be to make sure your bed frame doesn't slam against someone else's wall. If it does, put a few courtesy socks between the wall and the frame to minimise the impact. There’s nothing worse than having your walls shaking all night when you're not involved. 

*All names changed to protect the respondents from their housemates

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