Painful sounds of pleasure

Here's a very San Francisco story about the problems which can be posed by carpet removal:

When Jack Hagerty closed on his new condo three weeks ago, he thought it had everything he wanted: a quiet, safe Glen Park location, easy access to BART and a backyard for his 10-year-old son. Turns out it came with an extra feature - a self-described "leather sex" enthusiast living downstairs.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"He's entitled to his life," Hagerty said. "I just wish he'd told me sooner."

Hagerty said all was well until he announced that he intended to remove the carpet and padding in his unit to help with allergies. The downstairs condo owner explained in an April 24 e-mail that he opposed the idea.

"I am a sexual enthusiast and enjoy leather sex," the man wrote. "At times, it is possible and even likely that the sounds of leather sex will be coming from my bedrooms to your bedrooms without an effective sound barrier. While it is not my issue, you may find you need to explain things to your son as it could be confusing to him since it frequently doesn't sound as pleasurable as it is."

"I just don't think it is appropriate for my son to bear witness to that," Hagerty said.

But the neighbor says if Hagerty just left the carpet and pad on the floor everything would be fine.

Normally, we think of sex noises as involving moaning and groaning, and possibly screaming. But I'm assuming the noises here involve not only screaming, but the sounds of whips cracking.

There's some additional discussion of whether real estate agents have the duty to disclose such goings-on to potential buyers.
Rob Rogers of Zephyr Real Estate, who helped to handle the sale, said, "You certainly don't have to disclose someone's sexual preferences or what they are doing."
There is a duty to disclose facts which would be relevant to a buyer's decision, but there's also a duty not to assist a buyer in illegal discrimination. If regular and annoying noises were known to the seller and and not readily perceivable on ordinary inspection, failure to disclose them might bring rise to liability. The problem is, what might annoy one person might not matter to someone else. An opera singer who practiced at home might sound lovely to one person while driving another crazy. Some people might rather hear the occasional screams associated with leather sex than the sounds of a teenager learning to play an electric guitar. It also depends on the hour; loud music or a barking dog during the day might not bother me during the day, but I wouldn't tolerate it at night. 

I'm not sure the noise is the issue with the leather guy, though. It's what the noise will mean to a kid who hasn't yet learned that for some people, pain is pleasure. 

So I understand the dad's concern, but he might keep in mind that the sounds of pleasure can drive criminals away.

Like this car alarm.

posted by Eric on 05.03.11 at 05:15 PM


amplified diesel locomotives at 2 am

newrouter   ·  May 3, 2011 10:16 PM

To quote the "Asia Times" columnist, Spengler, "Civilizations in decline typically take on the characteristics of Bonobo monkeys, Nero's Rome being the most lurid example."

Stephen   ·  May 3, 2011 10:43 PM

"Bonobo monkeys"? Tell me more!

Eric Scheie   ·  May 4, 2011 10:30 AM


If only the decline had started 20 years sooner. I'm getting a little old for that sort of thing. The 60s were nice though. So maybe I did get in on an earlier manifestation of the decline.

BTW Spengler missed an important point. Such behavior is also evidence of a civilization on the rise. See "Age, Gilded".

M. Simon   ·  May 4, 2011 5:54 PM

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