This Valentine's Day — and all year long — keep the sex noises down, please

By Kelly Kreth  |
February 10, 2016 - 2:59PM

In honor of this weekend's Valentine's Day, we're revisiting some of our most popular posts that focus on the intersection of love and NYC real estate.

Several Valentine’s Days ago, BrickUnderground published our now infamous noisy neighbor sex survey, finding that although two-thirds of 400 NYC apartment dwellers had overheard a neighbor having sex, more than half wished they hadn't.

Back then, we offered some tips for people bothered by loud neighbor sex; today, we have a few suggestions for apartment-dwellers more concerned over the possibility of being overheard.

“Don’t assume the price of rent has much to do with the quality of walls,” advises etiquette expert Constance Dunn. “Always assume the worst, audio-wise. Expect that your neighbors can hear anything over the frequency of a quiet conversation.” 

  • Turn up the TV (unless you’re watching porn, of course) or crank the music.  Opera may be ideal: “If you're a female with a high-pitched voice and a screamer, your vocal outpourings will match and meld to those of the soprano's,” suggests Dunn. Plus, your neighbors will think you are highbrow and cultured, instead of the pervy freaks you really are.
  • If possible, relocate to whichever part of your apartment shares the fewest walls with a neighbor. Also, it’s politically expedient to avoid walls shared with your neighbors’ children.
  •  Keep the windows closed.  We repeat: Close. The. Windows.  Especially the ones on the air shaft.
  • Put your mattress on the floor or consider buying a platform bed. If you must keep the mattress on its frame, make sure the frame is well-oiled and all screws are tightened to make it secure and less likely to squeak.  Stuff pillows between the wall and bed frame to act as shock absorbers, and between the headboard and wall (or just move the bed away from the wall). If possible, put your bed against a wall you don’t share with your neighbors. Alternatively, move to the couch.
  •  Don’t have crazy loud sex at 3 in the morning in your bedroom if your neighbor’s bedroom is adjacent to yours. Similarly, if you live across from the elevator, the morning rush hour is probably not ideal for a foyer quickie.
  • Try an “adaptive” white noise machine: As you get louder in the bedroom, the sound gets louder and “richer." In adaptive mode it can respond with thunderclaps or wave crashes and in manual mode you can set the volume to cover up your shenanigans with a rainstorm, babbling brook or ocean soundtrack.


5 questions to ask yourself before hooking up with your neighbor tonight

Noisy sex neighbor survey: The results are in!

The agony of the ecstasy: 4 tricks for overcoming loud neighbor sex

Sex & the neighbors


Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.