New York City apartment dwellers are routinely held captive to the sound of their neighbors' Louboutins, children, surround-sound systems and gut renovations.
But in a category all its own is the screaming, thumping, wailing, oh-God-do-it-to-me-NOW audio of your neighbors bedding down.
What to do about your noisy sexy neighbor? Here are a few ideas:
1. The grown-up approach
A mature and grounded tactic is to give your neighbor a vague heads-up--“I’m hearing some loud noises that are really disturbing my sleep”--and hope that your meaning is properly inferred (and acted upon), says Elena Bayrock Sapora, the director of the Safe Horizon Manhattan Mediation Center.
However, she acknowledges, "it’s a very difficult subject to bring up."
2. Coitus interruptus
One Battery Park City resident told us that she and her spouse were tormented nearly nightly by the sounds coming through their bedroom wall.
“We had a neighbor whose headboard was up against the same wall as ours," she explains. "We were woken up nearly every night, many times a night. While we were annoyed, we were impressed.”
She and her husband put a note under the door asking their neighbor and his girlfriend to move their bed away from the wall. When things got louder, the couple placed prank calls: Answering the phone threw off their neighbor's rhythm.
It worked for a few days until the neighbor unplugged his phone. Next they resorted to ringing the doorbell and running away.
“That really broke their rhythm and left us laughing hysterically,” she says, until one night, as practical joke, she left her husband stranded in the hallway in his boxers.
“The confrontation created a reason for two men their underwear to have it out and negotiate a truce," she says.
Untimely intervention can also be accomplished through a third party.
"I call my doorman at just the right moment—I hear it—to let him know there are loud noises coming from next door," says one apartment dweller. "My doorman then proceeds to ring my neighbor incessantly until he picks it up. When the sex resumes, it’s not as loud.”
3. Public shaming
One condo resident, annoyed by a young couple having vocal, headboard-banging sex three times a week, told us she “jokingly” called the woman a “screamer” in a casual conversation with another neighbor who happened to be friends with the sex offender.
“He must have passed the word along because it has been a long while since we have heard our neighbors having sex,” she says.
Some shamers applaud loudly after the performance reaches its climax.
One couple, too embarrassed to approach their newlywed (and deeply religious) neighbors directly, stuck a microphone on their window sill, recorded the erotic soundtrack, and replayed at full volume immediately afterward.
4. Copycat sex
While some couples report that noisy neighbor sex can exacerbate tension over drought-like conditions at home, others find the sounds inspiring.
“We don’t hear them that often, but when we do, it definitely puts us in the mood,” says one downtown man. “It does make riding down the elevator with them a little weird though.”