Dear Miss Manners:
My partner and I have been having a disagreement recently about the etiquette of having sex when staying in other people’s homes. I feel that it is extremely rude and should be avoided at all costs, while she feels that it is expected and normal, particularly if we are staying with friends/family for more than a couple of nights.
I asked my sister and her husband what their views are, and my sister informed me that they plan to have regular sex when they stay with us in our new home. She also informed me that other visitors would expect to do the same.
As our new home has my first-ever guest bedroom, which up until now I had been looking forward to having occupied by friends and family, I would be grateful if you would help clarify whether guests should have sex in guest bedrooms, and if this is conditional upon the relationship and length of stay.
It is conditional on their not making it known to others in the house, before, during or after the event. Your sister has already violated this, but Miss Manners acknowledges that she can claim you provoked her.
What’s the etiquette for having sex when you’re a guest in another person’s house? Friends spent the night and shared some passion. I don’t have a problem with this. However, this was period-sex, and I was left with bloody, sex-stained sheets. Am I wrong to be annoyed? Can I ask them to replace the sheets?
Hostess With The Menses
Your guests had to know—if your sheets were a bloody mess, so were your guests—and they should have offered to replace your sheets. You’re right to be annoyed. If you believe your friends are selfish and inconsiderate—if you think they didn’t care about the mess they left for you—confront them, ask for replacements, and cultivate other friendships. But if you know your friends to be deeply sex-negative, HWTM, it’s possible they were so mortified by the mess—evidence that they’d had sex!—and were paralyzed by shame. If that’s the case, let it slide, buy your own replacements, and cultivate other friendships.
Thoughtful hosts purchase dark sheets and towels for guest suites. And if guests leave a towel on the floor of the bathroom in a neat little ball, toss that towel in the wash—with extra bleach if the towels are white—without unfurling and inspecting. Be warned: An unwise host who unfurls a balled-up white towel may find herself staring at what looks like the flag of imperial Japan. And if your guests are courteous enough to strip the bed before they leave, those balled-up sheets go straight into the wash, too.
DEAR ABBY: Is it OK to have sex when you’re a guest in someone’s home? I say no, but my husband feels the host knows we’re married so it’s not inappropriate. I think it’s rude and shows a lack of respect for the host.
Would you please settle this once and for all? When we stay with friends, we end up fighting during our vacation. — UNCOMFORTABLE IN TEXAS
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: For a married couple to make love when they are houseguests isn’t rude or disrespectful, provided the pictures don’t fall off the walls and there are no complaints about noise from the neighbors. However, if the idea makes you uncomfortable and unable to relax and enjoy the intimacy, then you and your husband should vacation in a hotel where you can expect to have more privacy.
Weird, right? Occasionally I’ll see the exact same letter posted to two columns in a short span of time, but these letters are all distinct. Apparently, this is a real problem lately? As expected, Miss Manners is elegantly vague, Dan Savage is graphic (feel free to check out his original column for the little-bit-gratuitously-messy paragraph I omitted), and Abby is herself.
Also of note: when the Savage Love column was first posted (a whopping two days ago), there was a reference to the Miss Manners column in it. The reference is now gone. What happened there?