I’m all for sexual freedom and equality. It’s the 21st century after all. A girl is not a slut for picking up a guy, having sex, then never seeing him again. Likewise, a guy is not a big-shot for doing the same thing. Simply put, if you’re not seeing anyone else and you’re both consenting adults in a moment of passion, what’s the problem?
Holiday romances included. The warmer weather and cheaper alcohol in Eastern Europe ultimately leads to a loss of both layers and inhibitions.
But sex in a hostel dorm is something I just can’t wrap my head around.
It’s disrespectful, slutty and wrong… isn’t it?
I’m no prude but I know without a backpack of a doubt that I never could do it in a dorm, for various personal and logistical reasons:
1 I am 6ft 4 inches tall and weigh nearly 15 stone. I constantly thank the hostel gods that bunkbeds don’t collapse while supporting my carriage.
2 The hostel I am currently staying at in Budapest appears to have child-size bunks, in that my feet hang off the end while my hair brushes the bar at the top. There’s no space beside me for a cup of goulash, never mind another human being.
3 I’ve dated someone who has two dogs and two cats, who roamed the house as they pleased and slept at the foot of (or in) the owner’s bed. Getting that audience to leave was a slight mood-killer.
4 Hostel encounters are born from alcohol. There has never been any exceptions to this rule. When it’s still 30C at 2am and you can’t remember which country you’re in or even your own name, where does the stamina for a bunkbed shag come from? Also – you’ve just met someone who you want to get in to bed and then never see again. You will have undoubtedly told at least two white lies – lies that seem harmless but must be remembered to avoid a loss of face. That’s too much to hold in your brain at once.
5 Just a minor, final point – the seven strangers in the room trying to sleep?
Yep, Will is about to encounter two horny visitors. Click ‘NEXT’ to find out what happens…
So imagine my reaction last night when a girl in my dorm brings home a boy who isn’t staying at our hostel.
At first I don’t know what’s happening – I bailed on the bar crawl after one beer due to fatigue and was in bed, stone cold sober, by 12.30. I remember the girl remarking on her messy bed of half-packed possessions before she went out.
I’m asleep and I can hear falling metal, like it’s raining pennies. I awake to find that is indeed the case – her loose change, and that of her companion, is cascading off the bed and forming a scattered gold and silver puddle on the wooden floor.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve experienced dorm-mates having sex at a hostel in Madrid before but thankfully (or skankily?) this was at 9.30am, while myself and two other guests were not only awake but walking around the room finishing our last-minute packing ahead of impending check-out. (That guy was checking out that day too – to this day I still wonder if he managed to take his key card and soiled sheets down to reception in time.)
But this situation was entirely different. It was nearly 2.30am and I was completely alone with them.
At first, I just rolled over and tried to sleep, shrugging their public sexuality off with a ‘good-for-them’ blessing.
Five minutes later, I was furious.
This fiasco reminded me of a tale told to me by a cool Canadian guy called Brian who I met in Byron Bay, Australia, in 2010. He told us about an incident of dorm sex where the uninvited guest, a young man, was taking a long time to ‘split the atom.’
Eventually, another girl in the dorm sat bolt upright and yelled across the room, ‘IF YOU DON’T FINISH HER OFF IN FIVE MINUTES, I’M GOING TO DO IT.’
The young man in question scarpered, and that was that.
But that was no use to me here. I was outnumbered, and the strength in that particular comment lied in the comic truth that resonated with the other guests present at the time.
It was hopeless.
After another quarter of an hour full of moans, rattling and a profound lack of orgasm from either participant, I was suddenly desperate for the loo. I hopped down from the bed, pulled a T-shirt over my head and answered nature’s call. I then took up residence on the common room sofa and closed my eyes.
It doesn’t end there for poor Will. Click ‘NEXT’ to find out the, er, climax…
Not long after, I heard the door to my room open, then close, then footsteps. I took intrepid steps back to the dirty dorm.
I got back in to bed but couldn’t sleep. The girl came back but couldn’t remember the code to open the door. I refused to get down and let her in.
Eventually she got the code and reappeared… with the guy! Hadn’t she just shown him to the door?
They searched for a condom, to no avail, and finally went to sleep. (By the time I woke up, she had checked out.)
I still couldn’t sleep though. I was worried the other room-mates would arrive back with hook-ups and really rub their hedonism in my face. I had chatted to them all when I checked in and they were all perfectly pleasant people, but they were all 18 or 19 years old to my 25, and for the first time in six years of independent solo travel, I felt old and boring.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone abroad and got drunk. Too drunk. Somebody-sedate-him drunk. But I’ve never rubbed my antics in anyone else’s face. Although probably not intentional, dorm sex is a way of bragging about freedom – freedom from work, freedom from rules – and in the case of nearly everyone in my dorm that night – their first taste of freedom from their parents.
I don’t think my attitude to dorm sex is draconian or irrelevant. It is just a call for respect for your fellow adventurers that want a bed for the night and nothing more.
Maybe we could meet halfway with dorm spooning. Wouldn’t that be great? And if the snoring of other guests is loud enough, perhaps a cheeky fiddle. But bare in mind – while your harmless holiday fling may scratch your itch and show how sexually liberated you are, it could also breed a stranger’s neuroses to the point where they believe their love of low-cost adventures could be coming to an end.
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