Loud sex, quiet love.

Via Andrea Balt
on Jan 24, 2012
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To shout or not to shout.

© Elliot Erwitt, Tate Gallery, 1993.

I have a wild neighbor. She’s been bitten by love in such a way that she wants us all to know.

But just knowing is not enough anymore. Nowadays you must go mystical or disappear; believe everything with all your heart, body and soul; love your mother, love god and love chocolate. You have to get touchy feely with life, Amélie, or end up in the Lonely asylum.

As a believer, then, you must have faith in her love. What else but faith can be so unwavering and warm; consistent and rapturous? And as a tired listener, what else could you do but wake up like a sleepy sinner and pay your halleluiahs in a yawn? You be that second soprano under covers at ungodly hours, because at least someone in this building is having the time of her life. It makes me wonder if they have a job.

It’s really kind of her to share her joy with me, through walls so thin I can almost hear that pair of heartbeats in crescendo, with the excitement of a symphony. A wet theatre of the mind? Not sure if that was in my evening plans (at least not as a listener).

But it’s awfully kind of her, especially if you’re single and live alone and don’t even have a cat since your apartment is too small for pets and you wouldn’t have time to pet them anyway because you have to lie awake at night and write about your neighbor’s excitement. Breath-ing-deep-ly.

I don’t mean to be the Spanish Inquisition here; because when not separated from the whole, I do regard sex as a spiritual experience. I too may have let a love-shout escape the censure of the throat every now and then.

As if it weren’t just too easy to go down in vocal flames when yummy fire turns you into a French toast. Deliciously not-guilty, father, I have not sinned. Just as others must be shouting as we speak. Over the rooftops.

The point is not the ah-ahh-ahhhhh you serenade, hoping it’s raining outside or that the world is wearing headphones. The point is daily hot-coal sessions with your neighbors; orgies you haven’t even invited them to; Eros sonatas you force them into listening. Is this when you applaud? No, hold your fire. Not for two more acts. Save your applauses ‘til the end. But all I want to do is call the sex police before she hits replay.

If you’re not her but me, quietly typing-tyyyping-tyyyyping, on the other side of the wall; or just about to have an important video call on Skype with people half-way around the world, the first thing you do is pause and smile. You want to tell somebody, it’s like good high school gossip: “Shh, quiet, did you hear that? Is it a cat? A baby? Or is it what I think it is?”

[Warning: the following video contains some nudity, some shouts, some sex & some life]



Next thing in line is laughing –uncomfortably– at yourself. And then you hear her asking him to f*ck her harder-haarder-haaaarder, and think, “Oh God, should I go for walk?” Now you wish you’d watched porn that one time in college, or that other time after college or anytime before today; maybe you’d know what to do.

But you’re the kind of cute and dorky girl who hasn’t and you’re not sure exactly what they call these situations: the-wind-that-shakes-the-barley? You almost want to laugh with someone, or try not to get turned on. Because you think you might be human; may have your needs; and needs don’t usually have a volume. Only you hear them – and those who you decide to share them with.

So when it gets too tough to bear and the floor starts shaking like it’s the last battle of Sex Wars III or IV – how many episodes are there? – and they’re about to drop their next pleasure bomb over your head (in case you survived the previous four or five), you put on headphones, quick, watch anything, turn up Vivaldi. Classical sex is always calmer. You wonder why it’s so uncomfortable to be an uninvited guest at such life-giving parties. Isn’t it natural? Divine? Superb? Invigorating?

How can it be such a great movie when you’re in it and so intoxicating when forced to watch (or listen to)? Is it OK to be invaded by a foreign country, even when that country’s name is Love?

It could also be that the one invading you is not the country itself but only her naughty general, Mr. Sex, making a passionate move on you; trying to set you free from your silent, intellectual tyrants. Although, more than loved, your ears get molested.

© Elliot Erwitt, Marilyn Monroe, 1956. In Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best at ICP.

As a sensible creature, how can I not blush when she walks up to me the next day and happily introduces herself? I can almost see her naked (believe me, she’s more beautiful than she sounds).  Oh dear, I already know your name. I even know your boyfriend’s “peirnaws” name. And all of his nicknames.  

So what’s a polite girl to do in this situation? If I were in the U.S., I’d probably sue them for premeditated sex-conspiracy. Maybe that way I could make enough cash to rent a different apartment.

But see, I’m in Europe, where people are supposed to be having sex 24/7 while they’re singing opera; and walk nude on the narrow, ancient streets; eat with their hands, talk really fast, have bad teeth, smoke a lot…

All these assumptions being one-hundred-per-cent-true, I have no other option left but to practice hypothetical conversations with my neighbor in the bathroom mirror; none of which seem to work for the purpose of an efficient and mature (and not-embarrassing-at-all) two-minute greeting. Umm, where did you buy your washer? It sounds like it’s doing the job. Potent stuff. Technology, huh?

But when the next day comes, I don’t say a thing. They never taught me how to address these issues in any of my Communication courses. Maybe she wouldn’t take offense but only blush in return and from then on, turn down the S-volume.

Until I come up with the latest in sex-talk wit and gather up the courage to knock on her door, I think I’ll stay with Vivaldi; and in my tiniest heart of hearts, hope she runs across this article. Maybe I’ll slide a note beneath her door with the permanent link. It’d be much less intimidating. And if she didn’t quite agree, I hope she’d tell me in the comments. Or better yet, write her own take in which she complains about my ridiculously loud juicer or my shower concerts with made-up lyrics to her favorite tunes.

And yet, when all is (un)said and (un)done, at a post-orgasm hour with everything restored to silence; at that time of the night when my pillow is finally doable, I can’t help but start rambling in my sleep: What if over all these tired rooftops –of cities and old buildings and bodies and strange smells and life– what if, only for one night alone, love shouted louder than sex? What if?

© Elliot Erwitt, Santa Monica, California, 1955. In Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best at ICP.

You don’t usually hear Love on the news; or through the walls; or on the streets; or on commercials. And when you do, it’s so breathtaking that you need to stop and take a picture. But what’s in a shout that didn’t start with a sigh? And what’s in a sigh that wasn’t issued by the heart?

Did we accidentally record only the chorus of the song? If god is love and we are god and love is us and we have sex, then isn’t sex just a part of the story that is us and love and god? When did the separate parts turn louder than the whole?

All things considered, if you don’t have thin walls or neighbors, you could even get an amplifier if you wanted. And if instead of a tune, you’ve got an entire symphony with all its different instruments harmonizing in your bedroom, please know that you’re at least rare and at best whole, if not immensely happy.

Maybe you should teach the rest of us lonely stars –some shy and quiet, others too obnoxious– how to be constellations.


[Photos: 1-ICP; 2-ICP; 4- ICP]


About Andrea Balt

Co-Founder / Editor in Chief of Rebelle Society, Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness & Creativity Curator at Creative Rehab. Unfinished book with a love for greens, bikes and poetry; raised by wolves & adopted by people; not trying to make art but to Be Art. Holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication, an MFA in Creative Writing & a Holistic Health Coach degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. In her work she tries to reflect the wholeness of the human experience by combining Art & Health + Brains & Beauty + Darkness & Brilliance into a more alive, unabridged and unlimited edition of ourselves. She is also on a quest to reinstate Creativity as one of our essential Human Rights to (hopefully and soon) be included in the UN Declaration. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and sign up for her Monthly Stroke of Renaissance.


34 Responses to “Loud sex, quiet love.”

  1. K.M. says:

    Brilliant as always – and much more poetic than my rolling of the eyes and fist shaking at the ceiling when the 3rd floor neighbor brings home a new playmate.

  2. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks K.M.! It's fun at first, when you can't believe your ears… But after a while I start rolling my eyes too & bang my head against the wall, trying to compete with the noise… 🙂

  3. Capri Kurtz says:

    Wow! Nicely put, haha! Love the amalie referennces. I have the same thing going on at my apartment. The other day i got frustrated and broke my silence by semi-shouting “shut up!!!” but only at like 1/3 of my max volumn of voice, then it just felt silly. Plus if you say or do anything it will make the next neighborly run of “hi” and nice smiles tainted. Its already tainted for me though….. Oh god, thanks- ill remember this article next time (which should be soon cuz god forbid, its been a couple days since they went at it) and be glad im not alone…or something. 😀

  4. catnipkiss says:

    Laura, I love that. Could be a great short story!! – Alexa M.

  5. notorious says:

    Ahh… L’amore! The bliss the butterflies the consummation…

    I have been on both ends of the perspective ‘laid’ out in this article… (a little pun intended ☺)

    A beautiful quaint little B&B where sounds of a gorilla grunting on top of a poodle echoed from the room next to my girlfriend and I… after about 7 min of this concerto the inevitable conclusion and repose. His subsequent snoring and, I imagine, her lack of satisfaction. Meh. I think I remember clapping till my girlfriend hit me with a pillow.

    On the other hand.

    I’m no super casinova, but subsequent lovers of mine have been quite verbose at times.

    Believe me, when someone’s screaming on top of you, banging the headboard, etc. you just want to say “hello darling, im down here, want to join me?” it can feel sometimes as though it’s a show. Passion goes and it can become a bit mechanical. Sex for sex’s sake. Is that love? Erm, no.

    That said, when in the midst of passionate copulation the rest of the world ceases to exist, the two of you become a supernova and the groans the sighs the screams the gesticulations and the orgasms are shared between you from sweet kisses whispered in each others ear to a volume which yes, I’m sure my neighbours hear. It’s a place where time and space is forgotten. Sometimes till the sun comes up.

    Some people are loud when they have sex, some people are quite.

    Does sex = love? Does volume = satisfaction?

    Sometimes, but not always… if you’re true to yourself you might just experience something that blows your mind.

    As to a consistently noisy neighbour, have a shuffle and put on some ambient music, to sleep, perchance to dream ‘tis also a consummation.

    Or try Frankie goes to Hollywood – Relax, at volume… but then they may be up all night.

  6. Deb Shaw says:

    Simple solution — have sex. Loudly. And take your time at it.

    It will probably only take one time. But why let that stop you? (giggle)

  7. Nathan Cole says:

    Oh, when i said passion shouldn't be contained/confined/restrain whatever, i FORGOT to mention "as long as it is not harming anyone." 😉

  8. Priscilla Wood says:

    Wow, this was hilarious and very poetic. Love it!

  9. Andréa Balt says:

    Comments from Facebook:

    Joshua Plant I'm all for getting an amp! My neighbors are loud all the damn time!

    Christopher Landry Our feelings expressed : ) ♥

    Roberta Cresca just read it, and loved it! tks

    Christopher Landry I like the scene from the movie, lol!!!

    Rich Krzyzanowski Great article! Thank you!

    Rich Krzyzanowski P.S. I hope you get some sleep.

    Doug Bowie Wonderful article… 🙂 very well done…and, as sleep disrupting as it may be, I'm sure there is a bit of 'behind the scenes' appreciation for the enthusiasm of their love…. Be well…(and hopefully more rested)

    Hildi Halley There are so many comments to say here… ugghhh but I will refrain 😀 how about Viva Ameile!

    Andréa Balt Say them Hildi. Even better to post on the article so others can see as well. No right or wrong here, ey? Just loud or louder. 🙂

    Nathan Cole Sooooo…. why does hearing sex make us feel awkward? (i think it's trained behavior from conservative society, but… thoughts?)

    Rich Krzyzanowski It may be a little weird for me to lay this out there, but here goes, anyway. I get really turned on when I hear other people having sex. Roommates, neighbors, young, old, attractive to me or not, it doesn't matter. People having sex is HOT! And as I was reading the article, I was thinking to myself, "Why don't you just embrace it, have a little fun with yourself, and hope that will help you to fall asleep." Call it a detached threesome, maybe? Maybe moan loudly enough so that they hear that they aren't the only ones enjoying their bodies? Maybe I'm just a pervert, though.

    Nathan Cole BTW, makes ME uncomfortable too, @ times, but i don't think i have a good explanation on why…

    Scott Yung I really love your writing. And yes….hearing that is a sexy turn on but I tend to be a bit voyeuristic.

    Andréa Balt Ha. No Rich, you're not a pervert, just fun. I never said it doesn't turn me on. It does a little, that's the problem, I may not be needing a turn-on while I'm having a meeting on skype or in the middle of something. Physically, there’s this. Mentally, there’s the “I-don’t-want-to-be-a-part-of-this-conversation-or-intimate-moment”, the feeling of being forced into someone’s privacy without having consented.

  10. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks!!! This is the kind of writer's-compliment I enjoy the most. The one where the reader doesn't fully agree. I often find that the authors/writers/bloggers I like the most and whose writing I’m most drawn to are those I don't always or fully agree with. Sameness is boring, diversity is fun.

    Glad you took the time to read and if you want, while you create your own blog you can submit that mysterious voice of yours to [email protected]. We'd love to hear it.

  11. Andréa Balt says:

    I thought about that. Have my own sex and scream louder so I can teach them a lesson. But I'm too shy, too "nice", too embarrassed and too single. 🙂

  12. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks Notorious! I'm in love with you, if only from reading your comment. 🙂 Made me laugh out loud a few times.

  13. Andréa Balt says:

    WOW! Agreed. Wonderful story. This is what I call a "mindful shhhhh". Maybe I should. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Andréa Balt says:

    *Accidentally deleted first comment but had it saved so copying and pasting again. 🙂

    LOL. You know, I had this same problem a few years back, at a different place. This other one used to say: I-love-you-I-love-you-I-love-you – allll the time. A passionate parrot. The problem was that they only did it at midnight and 6 am!!!! I mean, who does that? C'mon!!!! At least let me sleep early or get up late.

    They were my downstairs neighbors, right below me, and they’d wake me up in the mornings, just early enough so I still had an hour ‘til I had to get ready for work.

    So one time I was trying to break a coconut open by banging it on the floor – the hardest coconut in the world, literally unbreakable, didn’t know what else to do. And I hear her ladyship scream at me from below, telling me to be quiet. Not once had I ever complained before about her daily double-sex symphony.

    So this & the unbreakable coconut did for me. I got so angry, I started screaming at the top of my lungs: weeeelllllllllll, at least I'm not f*cking my coconut, am IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII? 🙂 Funny stories.

  15. Andréa Balt says:

    Never got that link, Nate. Did you send it?

    "Scream on, lovers! Perhaps the rest of us will wake up." – love that!

    True, on one hand it shouldn't be contained – but as you say in a comment below, as long as you're not bothering. Now, should I or should I not be bothered? I don't think it’s necessary to psychoanalyze my Freudian subconscious on this one, because sometimes it's as simple as: I-don't-feel-like-it. There's nothing more to it than that.

    So, as I was saying in one of the FB comments, on this level it's as bothersome as if someone were to turn up their music or TV. That would (does!!) bother me too, perhaps even more than sex because it usually lasts longer. 🙂

    Love? Yes, thank you, more, please! Loud sex? I guess it won't kill me to be an uninvited listener every now and then, but on a daily basis, just keep in mind I might be having a business meeting in the next room. 🙂

  16. Ahahhahahaa! Awesome!

  17. Jaeleen says:

    Loved your article!

  18. Nathan Cole says:

    You DID answer my question. i posted a reply… but it posted in the wrong place… under my comment about "passion shouldn't be contained UNLESS…. Weird. i don't know why it posted there instead of here. D:

  19. Dace says:

    Fantastic article!
    I believe it is a freedom of expression 🙂
    Only thing to do is silence the walls.

  20. John_Dalton says:

    "…when my pillow is finally doable," brilliant! You captured the whole scene, external and internal, really well Andrea. Another great piece.

  21. […] So for each of the next six weeks, I’ll post a new article here about one of the six pairs of Elements of Power. Each pair includes a masculine element and a feminine element. We’ll look at how each pair colors your intimate relationship. Each week, I’ll also link to an article about how that pair relates to sex and man-woman stuff. […]

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  23. Andréa Balt says:

    Yes, sometimes this approach works. Others – like in the coconut story above – not so well. 🙂

    You've always been better than me at making new friends (a.k.a lady friends) 🙂

  24. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks John! I had so much fun writing this.

  25. Andréa Balt says:

    Hey Emily, thanks. I am very similar to you. I'm so sensitive about not bothering other people that I end up being too "quiet" about my needs sometimes (in general, not necessarily sex-related). So while others could turn it down a little, maybe we could turn it up some? 🙂

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  28. Howard Parks says:

    Andrea this reaches down to my toes. Brilliant.

  29. emilyalp says:

    Blissed out–and in awe of your talent. Bravo & thank you!

  30. Andréa Balt says:

    Thanks Emily, your feedback means a lot. Much love!

  31. Andréa Balt says:

    Sweet to hear Howard. E-hug.

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