Drawing a room’s sexual boundaries

Sock-on-door policies should be discussed between roommates, not university administrations.

Sock-on-door policies should be discussed between roommates, not university administrations.

Let’s talk about sex.

After receiving only about a dozen complaints in the last several years from students uncomfortable with their roommates having sex while they were present, Tufts University, a private university in Boston, acted rather drastically. At the end of September, the university announced a new policy that bans sex in the dormitories while a roommate is present.Tara-Moore

Though we’d like to deny it, many of us have been in one position or the other: the one who’s been having sex while her roommate was home or the roommate who’s been home while the other was having sex.

But the solution is simple. Don’t snitch, and give your roommate a heads up if you need privacy.
Tufts is taking the matter too far. We’re all adults here; we don’t need our institutions telling us how to handle our sex lives.

Among roommates, it can be easy to work out. If you walk in on your roommate having sex, you can turn around and walk out. If you really have nowhere to go, most dorms provide lounges with big-screen televisions for entertainment. If that won’t work, head to Paley Library or the TECH Center to do some studying. But don’t go running to someone like your resident assistant to complain about something so private.

Better yet, talk to your roommate about how uncomfortable you felt, so the two of you can figure out your own system. Don’t put matters into the hands of the campus housing authority, which can get carried away and put something in writing like Tufts did.

“At Temple, roommates have agreements and are asked at the outset about preferences regarding intimacy,” Michael D. Scales, associate vice president for university housing and residential life, said in a Philadelphia Inquirer report. “We use that as a basis to establish what is acceptable.”

Thankfully, Temple has no current plans to take on its own version of the extreme ban Tufts implemented. It would be a tragedy to have staff in the business of the sexual goings-on of our students.

“Leave it up to the two roommates,” senior sports management major Dominique Wilkins said. “I don’t think that’s anything the school can manage.”

Students are mature enough to handle this on their own without involving administrative head honchos. Senior therapeutic recreation major Jessica Johnson said the issue should remain untouched by university housing officials.

“That’s one of those issues you’re going to deal with in the real world,” Johnson said. “You can’t mandate that by higher authorities. They don’t mandate that you have to keep your room clean. That’s a personal problem, which involves problem solving and decision making.”

If college students can’t find a way to settle roommate issues when it comes to petty matters like their sex lives, we’ll become a society of young adults who’ll have their dos and don’ts dictated to them.
We all left home for a reason: to avoid parents who already do this.

Tara Moore can be reached at tara.moore@temple.edu.


  1. Is it really wise to use the phrase “don’t snitch,” when that is the mantra that keeps the culture of violence thriving in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods? OK, so don’t run to report your roommate having sex without regard to your presence, but let’s not promote a negative slogan, OK?

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