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Ask Ainsley: My roommate doesn’t like me bringing people home. What gives?

Dear Ainsley,

I've recently been bringing guys home with me to hook up and my roommate isn't happy about it. But it's not like I'm bringing home strangers. It's getting unbearable, and I'm stressed all the time. What do I do? My roommate just doesn't seem to understand.


Handling Hookup Hostility (HHH)

Dear HHH,

I am so sorry that you’re going through such a difficult situation. It sounds like you and your roommate definitely need to have an in-depth conversation about what’s making them upset and how this tension is affecting you both. But before going into this conversation, consider what the underlying cause for their moodiness may be. It might not have anything to do with your sex life, or it might have everything to do with it. The thing is, you won’t know until you two talk it out.

First off, try putting yourself in your roommate’s shoes. They could be bothered by feeling like their space and privacy are being violated. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable with having someone they’re unfamiliar with sleep over. Is it possible that they are able to hear you having sex? You having late-night guests could be disturbing their sleep schedule. If this is the case, their grumpiness may be more about their space than your sex.

Even if it is a sex thing, it’s possible that your roommate is just projecting their insecurities onto you. If they are not one who often has hookups, could they be feeling jealous of you in some way? Perhaps they’re going through a tough time romantically, and seeing your prospering sex life is a reminder of where theirs is lacking. Also, try to consider whether you may be casting some of your nervousness about bringing home a hookup onto your roommate. Being with new people can be nerve-wracking, and may lead you to feel unsure about things. If you’re feeling uncertain about a new partner, you are more likely to overthink your roommate’s comments on the matter.

If you feel that your roommate is slut-shaming you—passing judgment, saying blatantly offensive things, or making microaggressive comments about your sex life—you may consider having a conversation with them about that as well. It is completely unacceptable for your roommate to make you feel guilty or ashamed about about your sexual activity. Remember that only you can make choices about your sexuality and how to lead your sex life. Any choice you make in this regard is valid, and having regular sex is a positive thing, given that you and your partners eagerly consent to all interactions.

Regardless of the reasons your roommate is being critical, having a conversation about how you feel and why will be helpful for both of you, as continuous tension will take a toll on your friendship and your living situation. Approaching conversations like this may feel awkward, but think through your word choice ahead of time and start with using “I” statements to express how you’re feeling. Make sure to ask for your roommate’s opinion as much as you share your own, so that you both feel like you’re getting to express how you’re feeling.

This dialogue may also need to include a talk about slut-shaming. Your roommate may not realize they are doing it, or how harmful it can be. Through seeing how their judgement is affecting you, they may be able to understand how slut-shaming also affects society’s view of women’s sexuality in general.

Once you talk to your roommate about what’s causing their frustration, then you can negotiate and find compromises. Your roommate may need to lay off the judgmental comments and side eyes, but likewise, you may need to set some ground rules about how often you bring someone over, or how long they’re allowed to stay. If you’re not bringing strangers home, and your hookup is more of a regular thing, it might even be worth encouraging them to spend time with your roommate beyond those awkward 2 a.m. bathroom run-ins. You could host a movie night, a dinner, or just have them over during the day; let both people know individually that it’s important to you that they get along and make an effort to talk in moments big and small.

However hard it may be, it’s important for you to find healthy and productive solutions to your problems, as living with someone who makes you uncomfortable and unwelcome is very stressful and could negatively affect your mental health. Know that your feelings of frustration are completely valid. I hope that through discussing the roots behind this problem, you will be able to create a more comfortable living situation—and continue hosting your hook ups.

Good luck,


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