By Valerie Luu & Lauren Brande
Gender/Sexuality Editor and Gender/Sexuality Reporter
Shivering and drenched, you return to your room only to discover your door locked.
It’s winter again, and the cold weather and rainstorms are driving students into their dorms with their partners, much to the dismay of their roommates.
“Sexile,” as it is commonly referred to, is when a person gets exiled from their room because his or her roommate locks them out in order to have sex.
Second-year student Chrissy Jones recalls her first sexile experience living in the Porter B-building dorms her freshman year.
“The first problem that we had with it was I walked in on them once,” Jones said. “So we just figured out a sex signal and I thought it was going to be fine after that.”
Despite working out a system of subtle notification, things only got worse.
“The problem was once we had a sex signal she stopped being so careful about it,” Jones said. “That meant that on the nights that it happened I would have to be out in the common area or over in a friend’s room.”
With the rain clouds rolling in, couples trade in the sun-drenched forest floor and warm-soiled meadows for the heat of indoors, leaving roommates high and dry when it comes to their own room.
“I’ve just had so many people knock on my door and be like, ‘I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what to do with myself. Can I hang out here?’” said Porter resident adviser and third-year student Breezy Colomb. “You have to have that conversation so they know that they should probably find a place to sleep.”
The key to survival through winter is communication. Talk with your roommate about your relationships, space issues, and weekly schedules — you don’t want to leave anyone locked out the night before a midterm or left without a laptop before a five-page paper is due.
“Make sure you really know your roommate’s schedule. Maybe ask them to post it,” Jones said. “I know it sounds a lot like planning sex, but you don’t have to be planning like, ‘OK, so Monday… coitus!’ But just don’t invite your boyfriend or girlfriend over unless you know your roommate’s not going to be around.”
Planning ahead to accommodate school schedules and boyfriend or girlfriend visits from out-of-town might not always work because of impromptu hook-ups or one-night stands. In this case, a note on the white board (or even a Facebook wall post) with a cryptic code or message could do the trick. Either way, a system for prior and last-minute warnings are in order.
“I think the best system that one can set up is where all the parties that are residents of the room really identify what their needs are for each other and to find what that means and what that looks like,” said Kathy Cooney, associate college administrative officer of Porter College. “Clarify what they think is reasonable to expect of each other and what they can agree on.”
So whether it is sex only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, texting before a hanky-panky session, or switching off weekend bedroom privileges, communication is key so that no roommates will be left out in the cold during this wet and heavy storming season.