Ashley: Read it.
Q. Lights Out Happy Time: I am a freshman at college. My roommate is pretty great—except for one thing. I'm pretty sure she "takes care of herself" after we turn out the lights and she thinks I'm asleep. The motions and noises she makes are consistent with this theory. I have no problem with her doing that, but it makes me uncomfortable that she does it while I'm in the room. I'm also absolutely mortified about possibly discussing this with her. They did not cover this in freshman orientation, so I'm counting on you for some insight.Ashley: How... how is this a problem? Why don't people do this in the shower?? Why would you choose a room that has other people in it??
A: I'm going to suggest this is covered under the same rubric as bathroom noises—you pretend you don't hear them. Once the lights are out and all is quiet, you are in a zone of assuming each of you is drifting off to sleep, and if under the covers she indulges in some quiet stress relief to help bring on pleasant dreams, I think you should ignore it. Instead of lying there anxiously listening for the sounds of self-gratification, just tell yourself your roommate tends to toss and turn before the delta waves hit. Unless to accomplish her task your roommate brings out a screaming, high-decibel vibrator, talking about this with her, or a resident adviser, is going to just be mortifying for you. Look, the school year is almost over, your roommate decided she couldn't get through freshman year going hands-off, and there's not really any other time or place for her to indulge herself. Just think of this as one of those "out of classroom" learning experiences admissions officers are always touting.
Lulu: If it's a big school with small dorms, all the rooms could have other people in them. They could be communal showers too. Shower stalls, like at the gym. I've seen dorms like that.
Ashley: True. But at least the sound of the water will cover it up.
Lulu: yYah, it's a little more private, at least in the way cubicles are private--you know, the illusory way. The LW could also establish regular patterns of not being in the room at certain times. That might help.
Ashley: You'd think they would have non-overlapping classes. Unless the LW doesn't attend classes.
Lulu: They might just both be out of the dorm during the day then at home at night? Or the LW doesn't have predictable routine, so the roomie always thinks she might walk in at any time anyway.
Ashley: Yeah, I guess she can develop a new activity and mention it. "I've picked up a study group that meets EVERY DAY from 9pm to 10pm!" More library time can't hurt.
Lulu: Or develop a wildly different sleep schedule. So be studying in the common area while the roommate is going to bed, and come in when she's asleep. Surely her dorm has a lounge or something.
Ashley: Yeah. Start watching TV at a set time. Or go to bed really early, and be asleep by then.
Lulu: I think we knocked that one out of the park. We know our stuff when it comes to hiding masturbation routines, APPARENTLY.