Moving to Uni, just getting out of your parents' place, embarking on living with your friends- whatever the reason at some point (especially in this economy) most of us will end up in a house or flat full of people we don't really know and to say it's an adjustment would be an understatement. You're probably going to have an argument over milk or the heating, you're definitely going to make or break some friendships, and, something people don't want to talk about, at some point you're going to be confronted with the issue of one or more of you getting laid. Now things here get a little interesting because you're no longer living with parents or siblings so there's some new found freedom and independence but it's not always hassle-free. If you've already experienced the wonders of the shared house some of these will be relatable, if you're yet to experience it then heed the advice.
Thou shalt not fuck thy housemates We all know that couple who started hooking up and then it went sour and now being in the kitchen is awkward- don't be those people. If you're desperately in love I really don't know what to tell you. It's like having sex with someone you work with except a million times worse because they can hear you gross crying to Lizzo or having rebound sex in your room.
Thou shalt not comment on hearing other housemates masturbate Okay so if they're like stupid loud, listen to porn on full volume, or do it while your parents can hear from the living room then maybe comment, but otherwise just don't. We've all had a moment of "I wonder if they can hear my vibrator" and it's not nice so one rule of being a good housemate is just ignoring or drowning out those sounds. It's unlikely you'll hear anything but, unless you're actively talking about your masturbation habits, just allow it either way.
Thou shalt not give housemates shit for their sex sounds I'm a firm believer that, as adults, we should really try not to give a fuck about the sounds people make during sex. Some people are louder, some are quiet, some sound a little odd- but the point is that if they're paying rent then they have every right to have sex however they want in their home. Laugh about it, play some music, throw in some headphones, but unless they're having sex often and loud enough to genuinely ruin your life, just get over it. This can be a hard adjustment for the more prudish but, in the same way they probably wouldn't give you shit for having your back blown out at full volume, you shouldn't give them shit. And telling someone they sound weird is always rude so if your comment is more on the content than the volume then go fuck yourself.
Thou shalt know the time and place On the opposite end of the last point, if you're having sex be considerate. If your housemate is revising for a big exam or has work at 6am then maybe try to keep it down. It's your house but it's also theirs and we should all try to keep things peaceful. But if it's a Saturday night, you've all got free schedules, and nobody is doing anything important? You do you.
Thou shalt not hold ruined moments against a housemate Sometimes you'll be having an intimate moment with someone, pillow talk, deep conversation, whatever, and you'll be disturbed by the sound of your housemate getting it on. Just laugh about it. Sometimes you'll be getting it on with a person or alone and a housemate will interrupt. That's okay. Sometimes you'll just be minding your business walking down the hall and you'll hear someone say something unbelievable during the act which could disturb you to your core and totally ruin your cornflakes. Oh well. Try to laugh about these things rather than being precious about them, honestly it's not as deep as you think at the time.
Thou shalt wingman An important part of being a housemate or a friend in general is helping your housemates along. I'm not saying you have to set it up for them to get laid but know the cues, make their guests feel welcome and comfortable, leave when the time is right, and don't pester them when you know they're alone with someone in their room.
Thou shalt not reveal a housemate's past Sometimes we have a hoe phase, sometimes we have an ex who our housemates really liked, sometimes we do something hilarious that the house will never forget- none of this is appropriate to bring up to the person a housemate is bringing home. Whether it's someone they're just hooking up with or seeing seriously, assume they know nothing about anything and never give them information that it isn't your place to give.
Thou shalt not encourage cheating Okay so sometimes your housemate could be up to no good. For the most part there isn't much we can do about the behaviour of others but if you see something that is morally not cool it's okay to, very gently, have that conversation with them. Or not so gently depending how close they are. Once again I wouldn't recommend calling them out in front of anyone but you don't have to support it.
Thou shalt not have sex in the communal areas Okay well sometimes it's okay but only if you can clean thoroughly and none of your housemates are confronted with walking in on you every week. It's your house, sure, but just remember that anything you wouldn't want your housemates genitals to touch they probably don't want yours to touch. Also don't do things in the room with them there, yes it can feel a little naughty but overall it's probably fucked up and you'll feel bad forever.
Thou shalt create a safe space in your home for sexual expression We don't do homophobia, kink shaming, slut shaming, racism, or anything else in a house share and I don't care what your parents say. As a housemate you're going to live with people who have different orientations, preferences, and sex lives to you and none of them are okay to shame (unless it's like.. illegal). No housemate should feel ashamed or judged for living their best life and open communication about these things is a must if you want a harmonious living situation.
Do you have any commandments you'd add? What kind of things did you learn sharing a house with people? Honestly I loved my time with my university housemates and I think we all grew up a lot living together. I can't thank them enough for the perspective, freedom to explore, and support they gave me throughout the years we spent together and I miss it all the time. Although, I can't lie, it's nice being able to have a little pillow talk without sex as a background noise.