When you’re in the mood but don’t want to wake the neighbors (or roommates, house guests, or your kids).
The rhythmic squeaks of a bed frame, the buzz of a vibrator, moans and howls of satisfaction—good sex can be a symphony of sounds. But if you live in a apartment with thin walls, have neighbors within earshot, or share your space with roommates, light sleepers, or small children, the noises that happen while you rock the sheets become problematic.
So how can you dial down the racket while still keeping intimate moments hot and satisfying? We spoke to sex experts, who shared their favorite tips.
Make quiet sex a game
Turn the quest for quieter sex into a contest: Who can stay silent the longest? “Quiet sex play can make the situation innately sexy and intimate between partners,” says Sunny Rodgers, clinical sexologist, certified sex coach, and ACS-certified sex educator. “You’re instantly co-conspirators in a common plot, which is great for bonding.”
Part of the contest is to see who can come up with more new and adventurous silent-sex strategies—from sex toys to role-playing scenarios—to find the hottest and least noisy options, recommends sex educator and relationship counselor Kait Scalisi, MPH. Keep the lights on in the bedroom, so you can get visual feedback rather than listening for it.
Breathe through your nose
It’s quieter to breathe through your nose than your mouth. And nose-breathing will improve your sexual experience, too. “[Breathing through your nose] changes the way your pelvic floor and diaphragm engage, making pleasure and orgasm feel different,” says Scalisi. It can be difficult to keep your mouth shut at the point of no return, we get it. But if you have to exhale, at least do it without using your vocal cords.
Get the right bed
“If you can, invest in a mattress without springs, as it won’t creak as much,” says Scalisi. (Pillow-top or memory foam mattresses fit the bill.) “For a more affordable option, try going old-school. Pile pillows and blankets on the floor and get sexy in your personal love nest,” adds Rodgers.
Skip the headboard entirely, recommends Scalisi, and be strategic about the bed’s location. Keep it away from the wall (to reduce thuds) and don’t place it on top of creaky boards. Put a rug underneath it, and tighten every screw in your bed frame to curb creaks and groans.
Do it in a different room—or in the shower
The bedroom isn’t the only place for intimacy. Scalisi recommends getting it on in areas of your home that are out of earshot of house guests, roommates, kids, and neighbors. Another idea: Take the action to the shower. “The spray of water can provide a muffling background to sexy noises,” says Rodgers.
Opt for a quieter vibrator
When you switch on your vibrator, does it buzz like a lawnmower? Go with a rechargeable variety if you want to reduce that noise, says Rodgers. “Battery-operated and electric motors tend to be louder than motors charged by a rechargeable lithium battery,” she says. She recommends the We-Vibe Touch ($50; amazon.com) and Minna Limon ($119; minnalife.com) as two less noisy options. You can also muffle a loud toy but using it under pillows or blankets, she adds.
Indulge in slow-motion sex moves
“Slow, intimate sex play leads to smoldering moans,” Rodgers says, rather than loud screams. As you reach orgasm and feel that familiar need to shout your pleasure, fight the urge and bite your hand, kiss your partner passionately, or cover your mouth, she suggests. These body actions will let your partner know just how incredible you feel; they (and the rest of the neighborhood) just won’t hear it.
Invest in a white-noise machine
It may not sound sexy, but one of these gizmos will cancel out any noises you make. A white sound machine “can provide a nice background that can be increased in volume to provide a bit of discreet cover,” says Rodgers. Or download a white-noise app on your phone, ask Alexa to play ambient noise, or turn on a slow-jam playlist without a thumping bass, which might annoy the roommate who shares your bedroom wall even more than your moans.
Try these sound-muffling sex positions
These four positions are crazy sexy, but they’ll help you keep the noise down.
Spooning. Any position that doesn’t require much movement helps reduce sound, points out Scalisi. Spooning is one of the most intimate sex positions, but the closeness doesn’t come from fast thrusting. Plus, it’s easy to speak softly to each other when you spoon, since your mouths are so close. “Keeping sexual intensity at a whisper is incredibly hot,” says Rodgers.
69. Sure it can be awkward, but what better way is there to keep your mouths busy? You can do it on your sides, or one partner can be on top. Oral sex in general is a good option for quiet sex—just make sure the receiving partner is prepared to muffle sounds in a pillow or towels, or by biting down on their hand.
Doggy style. With your partner hovering over you and your body close to the bed, you can press your face into the mattress or a pillow, so your ooh ooh oohs are less audible, suggests Scalisi. To keep it even quieter, avoid thrusting. “Have the receiving partner rotate their hips and move their booty up and down, says Scalisi, while the giver remains still.
A twist on missionary. Keep it slow, slow, slow by using the coital alignment technique, suggests Scalisi. How to do: Recline on your back and have your guy enter you from above, your pelvises lined up so his erect penis can rub and stroke your clitoris each time he thrusts in and out. “It’s great for stimulating the clitoris and lets you be close together so you can whisper sweet—or dirty—nothings to each other,” says Scalisi.
All of these can be more erotic with butt plugs.