Your Sex Etiquette Guide to Sharing a Vacation House

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Yes, some summer share houses are intended for orgies. But at the rest, having sex is an etiquette quagmire. How do you know which bed to claim? What’s the code word for daytime sex? What about the noises?

Here’s the Cut’s guide to getting laid and getting invited back.

Know your place in the big bed pecking order. Your host and her (in)significant other get first dibs, followed by couples in long-distance relationships and pairs of intimate-yet-platonic friends. (It might sound like wasted Queen-space, but these non-couples keep things flexible for the weekenders who haven’t decided if/with whom they’ll have sex: It’s easier to kick your friend out of bed than your acquaintance and her boyfriend.) Marrieds and cohabitants should volunteer to take twins and couches. They can consider it a vacation from each other’s farts.

No drama. Responsible summer share house sex means forcing as few other people to think about your sex as possible, and ideally no one. No obvious exits allowed. Spontaneous hookups should never sexile a couple — or both parties of a non-couple — from its claimed bed. Wait until everyone else goes to bed, then desecrate a common space. (This is the only time you may desecrate a common space.) Watch someone eat breakfast there the next morning and laugh. Threesomes, swinging, and group sex probably require an uncomfortably large ratio of guests to think — and possibly have feelings about — your sex. It’s rude to exclude people.

Use the accepted daytime sex euphemisms. As designated or spontaneous sex partners, you may not “take a nap” in the middle of the day (naps are for one person), but you can “stay behind” when everyone else heads out for daytime activities. There’s always “going for a walk.” (Unless you came all the way to the beach to have more sweaty, dark indoors sex?) Whether or not you may “take a shower” depends on the number of bathrooms and the hot water situation. Consult your host.

She who fucks loudest cooks breakfast. Sex noises require a contract of willful ignorance among friends. You pretend not to hear a certain amount of rhythmic squeaking with the tacit understanding that everyone else will pretend not to hear your rhythmic squeaks. This mental feat becomes easier (and louder sex noises more manageable) the drunker everyone gets. But beware: Those who aren’t getting laid have little motivation to pretend. And if halfway through some normal-volume sex you realize you haven’t been bothered by anyone else’s sex noises all weekend, then you are the house sex terrorist. It is now your duty to erase everyone’s memories. Wake up early, put on coffee, pick up bagels, make pancakes — anything to supplant the mental playback of your moaning.

Leave no trace. Scout camp ethics carry over into vacation sex. Be prepared: BYO condoms to prevent the transmission of STDs and drunken late-night bathroom rifling. Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but damp spots. Don’t leave a condom wrapper in an otherwise-empty wastepaper basket. Strip the bed before you leave.

Sharing a Vacation House: A Sex Etiquette Guide