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Sex Workers’ Sisyphean Quest for a Non-Squeaky Bed

Most of us want nothing to do with a bed that sounds like a VW bus being crushed at a junkyard, but it’s an extra hassle for those who do their best work between the sheets. Thankfully, they’ve come up with some rather novel solutions to stop the squeak

Since the dawn of time, people have pondered an age-old question: How can I have sex without making such a goddamn racket? They’ve read about “silent sex positions,” devised fruitless DIY tricks and even tried to turn “squeaky bed sex” into a kink. But, while some might get off on the droning sound of a rusty IKEA bed frame, others want their porn, cam shows or real-life sexual encounters to be glamorously noise-free. Unfortunately for the latter, there seems to be very few feasible and comfortable options. These include, but are not limited to, celibacy, off-bed sex, very expensive bed frames and viral “life hack!!!” videos (case in point: this “anti-shake tool”). Waterbeds are also quiet, but, as it turns out, not very good for fucking.

Sex workers have, understandably, become experts in this field. Filming a scene on a squeaky bed can be a time-consuming distraction, and sensuality with a client is definitely out of the question when both partners’ minds have wandered to the squeak’s possible causes. This can be particularly off-putting when engaging in more immersive, role-playing sex, or if a sex worker is attempting to introduce BDSM into a session. That latter point is something kink educator and co-host of the Seat of Your Pants podcast, Mistress Kye knows plenty about. She recalls a time when a squeaky bed hindered one of her couples-consulting sessions — but, although it technically ruined the vibe, the farce of trying to fix the squeak showed Kye’s clients the “lightheartedness of kink.”

“One of my all-time favorite couples had a squeaky bed,” she explains. “Over time, they acclimated to the sound and didn’t even hear it — that was until I was there to help them explore their kink desires. When you engage in kink, your mind and body become very present. This, in turn, made the couple much more aware of their environment — and their long forgotten squeak. Initially, the squeak always seemed to arrive on cue, almost as if to derail a heightened moment. It became a running joke, and we began to try and address this little annoyer. We took all sorts of measures, and just when we thought we had it licked, it would randomly — and almost always — show up exactly at the wrong moment. Like a little, bratty, kinky nemesis.”

To fix it, they applied some WD-40 with its “itty-bitty nozzle sprayer.” That didn’t help. Then, they tightened up the nuts and bolts around the metal frame, but, nope. “All we could do is laugh at the absurdity of it all,” she says. “It’s as if the bed was mocking us.”

London-based sex worker Valerie August has been more successful in defeating her creak. After years of use, her “very dramatic” matte black steel and brass developed a noticeable squeak whenever she moved on it, making her clients feel “very self-conscious during sex and a bit ridiculous.” Having tired of spending every sexual encounter thinking about how she could avoid moving too much — “a very unsexy problem” — August disassembled and reassembled the bed several times. “I tried to get all the bolts really tight, but ultimately the issue was metal-on-metal contact,” she explains. “So I invested in a 500-pack of rubber washers of different sizes, and basically put one on every single contact point. This finally fixed the problem, and I was very proud of my DIY skills.”

Whether a squeaky bed is a sex-ending mood-killer or a jovial ice-breaker, it’ll undoubtedly be difficult to troubleshoot. Sharing advice on Reddit and Twitter recently, sex workers offered a handful of learned fixes and shared details of what to steer clear from. When it comes to buying a bed, they say you should avoid box-spring mattresses and metal bed frames, or, like August, they advise adding rubber washers between the screws and the frame. For a wooden bed frame, they propose using baby powder to stop the squeaking.

There’s also another, near-effortless solution: cardboard beds. These beds emerged into public consciousness in July last year, when it was reported that athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics were forced to sleep on them to stop them from fucking each other. Although the beds were indeed cardboard, they were also incredibly strong and therefore sex-viable, as famously exemplified by Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan, who got 3.9 million views for doing a big bounce on his bed to prove its durability. As well as being fun, sexy and environmentally friendly — and the only way Japan will fight the climate crisis — they are, most importantly, noiseless. 

@kickiyangz

I guess for the next year we are sleeping on paper 😂 #interior #furniture #fyp #berlin #apartment

♬ Puddles – Daniela Andrade

In a viral video shared earlier this month, TikTok user Kicki Yang Zhang documented herself assembling her king-size cardboard bed. In a follow-up review video, which detailed her first night sleeping on it, Zhang praised the bed’s stability, comfort, and, er, smell, giving it a 10/10. It did, however, set her back $200, which seems like a lot for a bunch of cardboard. But if it keeps you nutting, maybe it’s worth it.