The Ethics of Sex in an Airbnb

Airbnb

If you’ve read almost anything I’ve written, you’ll quickly notice that I have no shame. And anyone who travels as much as I do has had plenty of sex on vacation. But I’ve only ever stayed in hotels when I’m going to sleep with someone on a trip.

When I was arriving at my Airbnb in Berlin, I laughed to myself when I realized all the bedrooms had clear glass doors. Then I had a horrifying thought that somehow has never occurred to me until now:

OMG, do people have sex in Airbnbs?

A quick Google search showed me that the answer is: yes! What a gross thought that is. I may have no shame, but I have manners and consideration. And I don’t know that I could ever be so brazen as to have sex in a stranger’s home where I’m staying for $20 a night. Here are two of the main reasons people use to justify having Airbnb sex:

Airbnb is like a hotel, so you can do anything you would in a hotel

It’s not, though. If you’re staying at an Airbnb, you are a guest in someone’s home – the home of someone you don’t even know. In a maybe best case scenario, you booked an entire place to yourself. But who wants to come home after being away for a weekend to a house that random people have been screwing in all weekend? But probably a million times worse than that is if you’re renting a private (or God forbid, shared) room in a house. Then your host might actually get to hear the strangers have sex in their home.

If you’re the couple (or group, I guess, whatever) having sex, then it must be uncomfortable to try to do so quietly. Then again, maybe you get off on being overheard. And if you’re the host, you probably feel like your home is a brothel. Then again, maybe you get off on overhearing. The problem is that these kinds of preferences are not generally discussed when you’re booking an Airbnb.

Staying in an Airbnb is like temporarily being someone’s roommate

If you go on Airbnb right now, you’ll see a large splash featuring the slogan “Live there.” And what do you do when you live somewhere? Eat, sleep, and have sex. The difference is that when you live with someone, you’re the one cleaning your own bodily fluid-soaked sheets every week, not your roommate. And that’s assuming you decide to do it on the bed.

I’ve read plenty of message boards and have seen opposing sides of the argument. Some people argue that as long as the host isn’t home or you’re quiet, it’s perfectly normal. And some hosts actually don’t seem to mind, which I guess is why they rent their spaces out on Airbnb. But the whole idea grosses me out. As uncomfortable as I would be with strangers having unrestricted access to my personal space, it’s considerably worse to think about the fact that they may also treat it like a cheap motel.

It might be prudish of me to think so, but if you plan to have sex, spring for a hotel. There’s nothing more awkward than having to be quiet or sneak around to have sex like you’re 15 at your parents’ house. But if you must, then you might want to consider the fact that as shameless as you are, your hosts may be even worse and you might end up unknowingly making a sex tape.