In Defense of “Sexiling”

A sock on the door: the classic symbol of the sexile. Photo from web.
A sock on the door: the classic symbol of the sexile. Photo from web.

Dear Fred,

As a first year student, it is required that I live with at least one other roommate. As fun as this at times may be, it is definitely negatively affecting my sex life. My roommates and I have relatively similar schedules, so it is rare that I have the room to myself. I was wondering how I could properly “sexile” my roommates. Am I justified in asking them to leave for a little while? Thank you.


Sex Deprived First Year 


Dear Sex Deprived First Year,

As many first year students are forced into doubles, triples or even quads, the issue of sexiling comes up more than one might think.  Urban Dictionary defines sexiling as “[banishing] a [roommate] from the room/dorm/apartment for the purpose of engaging in intimate relations with one’s significant other/sex partner.” While this concept may seem simple in theory, when it comes time to do the deed, many students hesitate. How long should one reserve the room for? How much information should one divulge? Is banishing a roommate so one can have sex morally justified?

When I talk about having sex, let me be clear that I am appealing to common sense. Namely, I am referring to having sex in one’s own side of the room, on one’s own property, using one’s own contraceptives and making use of one’s own paraphernalia. If a mess of any variety occurs, cleaning it up should be a top priority. Washing one’s sheets in a timely manner should also be prioritized. These are not strange or special requirements – in fact, to do otherwise would be unhygienic, rude or both.

I think most people with roommates would agree that it is not unacceptable for one roommate to ask her or his other roommates for some alone time in the room. Whether this time would be spend talking to parents, emotionally unwinding or having a heart-to-heart over Skype, most roommates wouldn’t see this behavior as inappropriate. As long as it does not exceed a reasonable time and the room is in a similar state after the exile, then most roommates would be more than happy to accommodate.

I am not sure why sexiling should not apply to this logic. Barring that the person adheres to common sense, there should be nothing wrong with requesting a reasonable amount of alone time with a sexual partner.

I often hear horror stories about roommates who are either grossed out by or morally opposed to the idea of being sexiled. To me, neither of these constitutes a legitimate reason for one roommate to prevent another from having sex. Let us imagine that there is a roommate who finds violent video games to be immoral. Would he or she be justified in preventing you from playing Modern Warfare 3 with another person when he or she is not present in the room? Of course not; that would be invasive and controlling. The same logic applies here.

There is also a huge social stigma about having sex in one’s room that many people feel uncomfortable about. I see this as nothing more than irrational behavior. Having sex does not inherently “taint” a room, a piece of furniture or even a bed. Sex is not dirty, and since we have already established that directly affecting another roommate’s property would be unconscionable, I see no legitimate reason why this stigma should hold any weight.

So, yes, you are justified in sexiling your roommates for a reasonable amount of time. Have a conversation with them and be entirely honest: you want to have sex in the room. Listen to their concerns (if they have any) and negotiate what constitutes “a reasonable amount of time.” Do not be afraid to hold your ground and stick up for your point of view, but remember to stay respectful at all times. Living with others is hard and it takes the cooperation of all roommates to work. At the same time, do not worry too much that your roommates are against you having sex in the room. Many roommates are perfectly happy to accommodate, just as long as there are reasonable ground rules. In fact, they might have been wondering the same thing! Good luck and happy sexiling! •

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