Music for the bedroom?
September 9, 2015 2:34 PM   Subscribe

What are some songs I can use to mask the noise of sex so I can be polite to my roommates and allow my girlfriend and me to fully enjoy ourselves?

Hearing my roommates having sex in the past has bothered me a little bit. However, one roommate was good about putting on music to cover the noise. I'm looking for music that will both mask the noise of sex and be something my girlfriend and I can enjoy. We like classical, folk, indie, 60's, and some jazz. Any suggestions are appreciated.
posted by mtphoto to Human Relations (28 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

This isn't in your preferred genres but Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine really works quite well for exactly that.
posted by griphus at 2:39 PM on September 9, 2015 [13 favorites]

I'm going to suggest later Radiohead - Amnesiac in particular. It's sensual, makes good background music without getting boring, and is sufficiently irregular to mask a wide range of sounds well.
posted by howfar at 2:46 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tricky's Maxinquaye [SLYT] is my go-to album for this purpose.
posted by mykescipark at 2:51 PM on September 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was gonna say Massive Attack.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:06 PM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

My Bloody Valentine's Loveless
Mazzy Star - anything
posted by porn in the woods at 3:13 PM on September 9, 2015

A vast proportion of my generation was conceived to Getz/Gilberto.
posted by matildaben at 3:39 PM on September 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

Isn't this a Prince kinda situation?
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:41 PM on September 9, 2015 [14 favorites]

i'd suggest using whatever you like, but aiming for some variety. the important thing is that there is noise, and a downside to using one particular track you feel "optimal" for covering up the noise is that sooner or later your roomies will catch on and start making jokes about it ("oh, time for sign o the times again, wink wink?").
posted by andrewcooke at 3:45 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not really songs, but consider ocean sounds! Comes with a high range of frequency (= good masking effects) and it will soothe your roommates to sleep!

(Shy away from those with screeching seagulls in them -- not really a turn-on on full volume but ymmv.)
posted by bigendian at 3:48 PM on September 9, 2015

Prince. Dirty Mind album. It's all you should ever need.
posted by 0bvious at 3:58 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Black Keys is perfect for this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:19 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dr. Dog.

I can't go to a concert for fear of having a Pavlovian response
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 4:31 PM on September 9, 2015

Wouldn't Prince sort of defeat the purpose?

By broadcasting what was going on in, uh, a different way.
posted by dinnerdance at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh mannnn

Donna Summer, Love to Love You Baby


What of high-pitched, wailingesque stuff a la Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, etc.?

If you like Massive Attack, Radiohead,... maybe consider Moondog?

Classical music is seriously excellent for sexytimes... You might already know about lush, sweeping, lyrical, romantic orchestral stuff... maybe something less well-known like early music a la Jordi Savall & Hespèrion? Example, a whole album: Cantemir Dimitrie - 1673- 1723 - Hesperion XXI - Istanbul

Is there any bit of opera you both would enjoy?

You didn't list it, but what of more modern/contemporary, rather electronic-based music? Lots of it is very sexy, sensual, subtle, and versatile.

Seconding ocean sounds and such stuff. Ambient natural sounds and ambient music is the epitome of versatility. Some overlap with electronic music as well.
posted by pos at 5:31 PM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Kid Loco's A Grand Love Story might appeal to your jazzy side and it's sexy as all hell.
posted by merocet at 6:16 PM on September 9, 2015

noooooo no no no no no

I just escaped two years of awful music that tried to mask incredibly loud sex. Do you know what playing music does? It subjects your neighbor/roommate to sex they don't want to hear and music they didn't choose to listen to. My neighbors would play music late at night while they humped very loudly I can vouch for the fact - five or six times over - that Amnesiac is fucking terrible on the listeners' end.

IF YOU MUST: instrumental, no words, no rumbling bass, no crazy volume peaks and valleys. Put your speaker nearest to where you will be making the noise; it was very distracting to me that the noises were clearly coming from opposite ends of the room, especially when they faded in and out at separate times.

THEN, after you choose the music, have your roommate go to their room while you have sex at normal volume and ask them to give you feedback. Seriously. If you want to make it so that they can't hear you then actually ask them if they can hear you and if the music is bothering them. Ask them if they like the music or if they want something different. If you are genuinely doing this as a courtesy to them then please let them have a say.

The best music for masking the sounds of sex is whatever music the person you're trying to mask the sex from wants to hear. Trying to mask a bad noise with another bad noise means there are two bad noises.
posted by good lorneing at 6:39 PM on September 9, 2015 [23 favorites]

Do you play music any other time, or is this going to be really obvious? As a former roommate, I have noticed that quiet places in a song/between tracks always seem to come at exactly the wrong times.

A fan might work better, like one of those box fans that is loud and whooshy; turn it on high and place it near whatever side you are trying to block sound (roommates' adjoining wall, door.) A TV on might also work, if it's not too distracting, because then it's voices but it's not clear whose.

Also try:
If floor is wooden, get a rug (absorbs sounds). Also, hang stuff on your walls; empty walls echo more.
Move your bed away from the wall
Maybe put the mattress itself on the floor and give up your frame for a while (no creaky bed noises). If you can't bear that, secure your bed frame/tighten all screws/put felt pads where the legs meet the floor/oil on squeaky bits, etc.
Hang a blanket over your door, stuff in crack at bottom
Work on developing quiet sex noises

Presumably your roommates don't want to hear you going at it, but you have to assume they will figure out that you are. So absolute silence is probably not on the table, but white noises are going to do better than music for making it less obvious.
posted by emjaybee at 8:24 PM on September 9, 2015

Yeah, if I were your roommate, this would only double my annoyance. I don't think you'll be able to mask the sexing unless the music is REALLY loud, and at that point it's just a damnable nuisance for everyone.

I know your heart is in the right place, but I think you'll need to figure out a better way to be courteous to your roommate.
posted by delight at 8:56 PM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Whatever music you typically enjoy is fine.

Per good lorening, I'd go with something that other people typically find unobtrusive. It's pretty normal, if you have roommates, to hear music playing in another part of the place or to know that sometimes your roommates consume media of various types. But, yeahhhhh, I probably wouldn't go with something like ocean noises, obvious sexytimes music ("Let's Get It On", etc.), or any genre people tend to find offputting (metal, EDM, hardcore rap, jazz fusion, etc).

And, yes, get in the habit of listening to music at other times, ideally music that is like what you'd play during sex. Which is why it's a good idea to just listen to whatever you already like.

As a white middle class youngish person, yeah, I'd probably go with something ubiquitous and inoffensive like Radiohead or similar widely appealing 90s - 2010s pop/rock/indie you happen to like. (U2? Coldplay? Arctic Monkeys? LCD Sound System? Yo La Tengo? The Weeknd?
posted by Sara C. at 9:18 PM on September 9, 2015

DJ Magic Mike Presents Bass is the Name of the Game is the bassiest thing ever recorded. Or very close!
posted by persona au gratin at 12:58 AM on September 10, 2015

Set up a white noise machine elsewhere in the house. That'll do more to mask sound than playing your own music. The problem with playing your own music is that a) it doesn't really mask sound well and b) you think it does so you're even louder.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:02 AM on September 10, 2015

As others have commented, this can become a new problem. Once had a roommate who did this and every time Parliament started up we knew what was going down. OTOH, any of use could rib them by singing a little "Flashlight!"

Ask your roommates to play their music?
posted by Gotanda at 4:12 AM on September 10, 2015

Hozier's album has some really sexy rhythms.
posted by myselfasme at 6:39 AM on September 10, 2015

I agree that playing loud music to cover up loud sex might just make a bad problem worse. If anything, as your roommate I would rather you play no music at all so I could play whatever music I liked to cover it up. Instead of making even more noise, be considerate about your volume levels and don't have loud sex at home unless you have the house to yourself.

If part of the issue here is lack of sound insulation between rooms, then from experience I'd recommend getting a white noise machine and sticking it in the room/hallway next to yours. But really, the best solution is not to do whatever and hope it works but to ask your roommates how they would like the issue to be resolved so you can be sure that you're actually addressing the problem satisfactorily.
posted by fox problems at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2015

Bolero is musical sex.
posted by trinity8-director at 2:00 PM on September 10, 2015

Good point that loud music to mask sex sounds is nono. Even ambient nature sounds can be wtflol. (But! Opera is your friend!)


Good luck, you sexy beasts.
posted by pos at 9:48 AM on September 11, 2015

I have been thanked for recommending Clapton's soundtrack for Rush. It's bluesy, a little jazzy, ambient and sexy.
posted by raider at 9:41 AM on September 12, 2015

When I first saw this post, pre-comments, I immediately thought:
But it depends on your BPM!

Does that sound silly? It's kind of true though.

First of all, listen to music that you already like, that keeps you in the mood. It doesn't all need to be loud or fast paced, although if you're REALLY predictable I guess you could set up a playlist with the quieter stuff at the beginning?
Just have it at the volume you'd normally have it in your room. I think I need to repeat, that you should just focus on playing music you'd actually enjoy having sex to? Music can absolutely set the tone or even put you off.

It does provide a general figleaf, of you making a good faith effort to not to be heard, and your housemates then making a good faith effort to pretend they couldn't hear you.

If you can't have music OR sex in your room, your housemates need to not have housemates, so aid them in this by moving out.

Things I've liked have included Portishead, Morphine, Gnarls Barkley (?), Massive Attack, Chris Issaak, so - go figure. It'll be whatever you prefer.
posted by Elysum at 4:57 PM on September 13, 2015

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