In Which The Predictable Outcome Arrives With Too Much Fanfare

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to


Is there any way of asking someone to be quiet during sex that won’t immediately end the sexual encounter?

My partner, who I will call Travis, is extremely loud at the point of orgasm and I find this incredibly distracting. He also enjoys talking at length during sex, mostly about his own adeptness and unusual abilities in that arena. I really like Travis, but I will be forced to break up with him if this continues.

Janice E.

Dear Janice,

For centuries men and women have silenced their sexual partners by insisting that while they love the vociferous reaction to their genitals, people might overhear and it is best to keep things at a reasonable volume. This is quite realistic in city living, but if you are miles away from your closest neighbor, this excuse may ring a bit hollow. One option would be to get a pet and insist the loud volume of the wintercourse is violating the pet’s well-being. The pet has to participate in the lie, however, and if I have learned one thing from my pet parakeet Kevin LaSame, it is that he is an asshole.

It is better to be honest about the situation. Be sure to not frame this as a criticism. Explain “I was about to have the most wonderful orgasm of my life, and then you screamed and I started laughing…” Travis will think to himself, “Wow, look at all the pleasure I gave her. I pretty much ruined it with my volume, better keep that in check from now on! What’s on TV, the new X-Files, I bet Chris Carter’s writing has not aged all that well!!!” Men are such simpletons.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


My fiancee and I are expecting a child together. It was unexpected but we planned to have a family anyway so we’re both exciting for everything that is to come. There is one problem we keep coming back to, which is the name of the baby. We have chosen not to learn the sex of the child, but no matter if it’s a boy or a girl, my fiancee wants to name the child Morgan.

If the child is a boy, I am worried this name is going to cause problems. If the child is a girl, the name is a lot better, but I really don’t like it and it lends itself to no reasonable abbreviations or nicknames. My fiancee also wants to give the baby a middle name — which is a family name — I am not crazy about this either, but I could stand it a lot better if my child was not going to be named Morgan.

I have tried to talk with my fiancee about this but she seems rather fixed in her views. I don’t know what I can do to change her mind.

Michael S.

Dear Michael,

Getting pregnant and married in the same calendar year or even in the same period of time can be a stressful process. Your fiancee is exerting control perhaps in the only way she can, since you are presumably monitoring what she eats, reads, and shits.

It is probably going to be very easy to change her mind about this. All you need to do is establish a negative connotation between the name and some other thing in her life. Consider getting her interested in the Showtime series Dexter, which features an incestuous family with the surname of Morgan. Just don’t watch the last season, as it could impede childbirth and general happiness.

Maybe she is too fixated on this name to let that bother her. One good thing to do is to show her the clunkiness of her chosen name in context. Like pretend to be calling out to your child, or alternately, striking your child. “Morgan, no, stop! Bad!” etc. This will quickly encourage her to alter her choice to something more acceptable to both of you, like Marissa or Dandelion.

“High By the Beach” – Lana del Rey (mp3)



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