It’s an age old question that has lit up many a hostel bar and long bus ride debate. And like lots of vital issues of the day, you could say it has two sides with some valid arguments on both. I, however, happen to strongly agree with one of those. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First let’s define the debate
Hostels are cheap and a good time. The downside is you have to sleep in a room with roughly 4 to 40 other people. And those people generally come in at the wee hours, turn on the lights, pack at 4 a.m., snore and yes, have sex. Loudly. All of which seems to tick off a large number of hostel dwellers who would like at least a decent night’s sleep.
The Anti-Hostel Sex Crowd
Those opposed to fellow travelers having sex in hostel dorms usually fall into the “Shut the hell up” crowd. In other words, they believe that they deserve a good night’s sleep for their $7 bucks a night. They want the people with whom they share a room to practice a modicum of consideration: Don’t come in drunk and shouting at 3 a.m., don’t snore, don’t wake everyone up when you leave for your 3:30 a.m. bus and don’t have sex. How can you argue with folks who just want a little consideration?
The Pro-Hostel Sex Crowd
The pro-hostel sex crowd generally falls into two categories: A very tiny subset of travelers who are always pro-hostel sex and a much larger crowd which is utterly opposed to hostel sex until they are lucky enough to be involved. Then they are all for it.
I fall into the tiny subset who actually think hostel dorm room sex is OK. So I’ll make the case. Essentially it comes down to nature and numbers. On the nature side, the fact is we’re human. Often young humans. And young people have sex whether we’re on the road or not. On the numbers side, are you really going to subject yourself to a three-month drought because you happen to be touring Southeast Asia and staying in hostels? Ouch. I think not.
I also think – and here’s where some of you may disagree – that you should only expect so much for your $7 a night. Restless nights spent awake to a soundtrack of snores, packing and moans are factored into the cost. That’s why it’s only $7 dollars. If you need a pristine night’s sleep, there are plenty of Holiday Inns or private hostel rooms. In other words, you get what you pay for. And even factoring in being kept awake by somebody else’s good time, $7 a night to sleep in some cool little place in Peru is still a pretty damn good deal.
Granted, those having hostel sex should try to keep it down a bit. But there’s noise involved and it’s probably going to wake a few people up.
So next time you are awaken in the middle of the night by a squeaking bunk bed – just remember that that will be you some day. Then put your eye mask and ear plugs back in and try to go back to sleep by counting the money you’re not spending by sleeping alongside your 16 new roommates.