Right Through the Wall

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Tonight I get my revenge. I have a loud girlfriend too. And an elliptical reflector dish.
We share a wall. So either he's great in bed or she just liked to agree with him a lot.
Chandler, Friends

Characters in more risque comedies, particularly those set in apartment buildings, will inevitably have to deal with their noisy neighbours. It becomes especially problematic when the neighbours aren't merely loud about their daily business... just their bedroom business. How the characters respond to overhearing these noises is up to them, though frequently, they decide to provide their own noises in response to give the loud couple next door a taste of their own medicine.

Sometimes, the trope is turned on its head with the main characters trying to be heard Right Through the Wall for some reason - to prove that their sex life is generally better, or to make their neighbours feel uncomfortable, for example. Another popular variation involves the noise turning out to be something completely innocent like moving furniture.

Anyone who has lived in a college dorm or an apartment will know that this can be Truth in Television. See also Ceiling Banger for a similar trope (and what something like this may very well elicit). Nothing to do with Right Through His Pants. Or, for that matter, when someone moves right through a wall.

No real life examples, please; this is All The Tropes, not Tropes After Dark.

Examples of Right Through the Wall include:

Anime and Manga

  • Invoked and Played for Drama in Corsair, after Ayace bluntly announces his relationship with Canale in attempt to dispel Aura's ideas of marrying Canale. Ayace goes to Canale's room and makes sure to have lots of loud sex because he knows Aura is going to come by later to talk to Canale and will hear them. Aura is crushed. It comes up more humorously in other places though, especially with poor Harold.
  • A possible variation, more aptly called Right Through The Wall And All The Way Over To Other Countries, occurs in Axis Powers Hetalia when Greece tells Japan that it's best if he enjoys having sex more. Cut to a view of the Asian continent and Japan screaming so loudly that China yells at him from his own country to shut up.
  • A subversion from My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute: Kirino's Squees over her H-game can be heard by her brother next door. He is not amused by this.
  • Variant: In the omake of Future Lovers, Akira, after moving in with Kento and his grandparents, is initially reluctant to have sex with Kento where his grandparents could hear them, but Kento reassures him that they're too hard-of-hearing to hear them go at it. Cut to the morning-after scene, where Kento's grandfather asks if there was an earthquake last night and his grandmother just gives them a Look.


  • This happens in Lost Girls. When one of the characters goes to tell them to keep quiet he sees that they're both women and loses his nerve.


  • L.A. Story, at one point, has Steve Martin and his date in one room of a motel, and the woman Steve Martin's character is in love with and her date in the next room.
  • In Delicatessen, a butcher and his mistress have sex. The squeaks coming from the bedsprings provide a rhythm for the activities of the other tenants in the apartment building—painting, knitting, cello-playing, and so on. This scene was used as the original American trailer.
  • At the end of My Super Ex-Girlfriend, this is taken extremely literally, in a most physical level. It's not just noise that goes through the wall, but the participants as well.
  • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the two couples end up with rooms next to each other. Peter and Rachel are intentionally loud to annoy Sarah. Sarah retaliates by faking, much to her partner's annoyance.
  • Michael J. Fox's character in The Secret Of My Success is a victim of this trope. Best sequence is where he's got his head under his pillow trying to keep the noise out, but is unsuccessful, upon which he bleakly mimes being an orchestra conductor to the beat of the couple's increasing wails.
  • Loud sex sounds pervade Jimmy's ground floor flat in the opening scenes of Lesbian Vampire Killers as his girlfriend breaks up with him (again), underscoring just how much of a loser he is.
  • Happens a lot at the beginning of Bound.
  • Mädchen Mädchen 2 has an early scene where Inken has disappointing sex against the wall of the apartment next to hers (her roommates watch the wall vibrate). Later on, Inken reacts by faking the best orgasm she's ever had, again ramming herself against the wall.
  • In Analyze That, Ben Sobel and his wife get annoyed at Paul Vitti's "friend" moaning for forty minutes. Ben goes complaining, a discussion ensues ("We don't think it's necessary to wake the neighbors every time we have sex.")... only for the friend to restart ("I told her if I wasn't back in two minutes to start without me. I gotta go.").
  • One Cheech and Chong movie made it seem like two characters were having very loud and rambunctious sex inside a van, much to the embarrassment of those outside. However, the guy was moaning and banging the wall because of a cramp in his leg, while the girl was trying to demonstrate the noises her roommate made while having sex.
  • The Tim Allen movie For Richer or Poorer has his character Brad and wife Caroline (Kirstie Alley) staying in an Amish home. Despite long, tiring work-filled days, their hosts provide rigorous, squeaky-springed sound effects almost every night. When Brad and Caroline rekindle their relationship, their hosts get treated to the same sound effects.
  • In Fight Club, the main character gets exasperated at how he can hear Tyler and Marla having wild sex upstairs every single time, with the plaster on the ceiling even crumbling with their movements. Becomes downright weird when you realize that the main character and Tyler are the same person.
  • The Jackie Chan movie Armor of God II, has Jackie and a woman fighting with two thugs in her apartment at night. The hotel manager downstairs thinks it is this.

Live Action TV

  • An episode of Sex and the City involved Samantha experiencing loud neighbors who had vocal sex every night immediately after the late news. After she 'joins in' with her own noises, she receives a note from them inviting her to join them in person. Though she is originally keen on the idea of a threesome with the couple who seem to enjoy sex so much, she soon realizes that the couple are overweight and unattractive, so she just tells them to keep it down in future.
  • Frasier tackles this one a couple of times.
    • In the season 3 episode "Shrink Rap", Daphne tells the story of how her neighbors used to do much the same thing, until she stopped them with her own gratuitous sex noises designed to give them a taste of their own medicine.
    • In the season 2 episode "An Adventure in Paradise", Frasier thinks his ex-wife is having sex in the next room, so makes loud sex noises so she thinks he's having a better time than he is. He ends up jumping on the bed, slamming the headboard against the wall and yelling at the top of his lungs. And then Lilith and her boyfriend walk by the room.
  • In ABC's short-lived drama Six Degrees, Carlos is searching for a new apartment to allow for some privacy for his roommate. At a particularly tiny one, he overhears a couple making love, so the real estate agent pretends they're having vocal sex to annoy them. It turns out that its his roommate at her boyfriend's apartment.
  • An episode of Friends dealt with a loud, but charming, upstairs neighbor. Monica and Rachel couldn't bring themselves to ask him to keep it down, so Phoebe went up to do it. Phoebe and the neighbor ended up having sex, which everyone downstairs heard. Later that episode, they find out that he is seeing other women when they overhear those sex noises, too.
    • The page quote is about when Chandler starts going out with Joey's ex.
    • There was one episode when Joey was describing to Chandler how much his girlfriend appreciated him being there "just for her". He described her response as being like a ticker-tape parade. Chandler remarks that is his room is "very close to the parade route."
    • There is a scene in Barbados where several members can here it right through both walls. Although the 'it' in this case is just making out.
    • One Christmas episode involving Monica trying to get to know her neighbors better introduced "the woman downstairs who always has sex really loud".
  • Spaced has Tim and Daisy faking sex noises as part of their fairly lazy ruse to trick their landlady into thinking they are a couple.
    • Also, in a non-sexual example, "You never know who's listening" "Nobody's Listening!" Ironic Echo Cut.
  • Referenced in How I Met Your Mother. Lily thinks there might be some truth to the theory that Robin (who was Ted's girlfriend at the time) used to be a porn star.

Lily: She does have the fake orgasm noises down.
Ted: Hey!
Lily: What? The walls are thin.
Ted: That's not what I was "hey"-ing you about!

    • A vertical variant is seen in Season 5; Ted's upstairs neighbors are loudly playing the bagpipes. When Ted can take no more, he confronts them but backs off when he realizes they're an elderly couple. Later in the episode, Lily and Marshall's bagpiping is seen to have a similar effect on their downstairs neighbors.
      • Then it turns out that it was the couple above the elderly couple.
  • Sister, Sister has Lisa and Ray making loud sex noises through the wall so Lisa's mother thinks they're really married. Played with in that they quickly grow tired of it.

Ray: *bored voice* Saddle up, pony girl!
Lisa: *whispers* You are twisted.
Ray: *holds up book* I'm reading a Western!

  • For one episode of The Drew Carey Show Mimi (Drew's Nemesis) and Drew's brother are temporarily living in a trailer in Drew's backyard. Kate notices Drew is acting tired and we get this jewel.

Drew: I didn't get a wink of sleep between the trailer rocking and the screaming.
Kate: Screaming?
Drew: I started screaming when I realized why the trailer was rocking.

  • In Lost, as David Reyes, Hurley's Disappeared Dad who returned after his son won the lottery, is waking him up:

David:What's with the earphones?
Hurley: It's for the noise.
David: Well, your mother's a very passionate woman.
Hurley: That is disgusting.

  • Farscape. When Aeryn and Crichton finally have sex (while the crew is aboard an immature, and thus small, Leviathan), Rygel grumbles the next morning about being unable to sleep, and further is disgusted that it sounded like Crichton was exerting himself. Cut to the blissful couple snuggling. Crichton bangs on the wall with his fist and makes loud moans; Aeryn laughs that he was "even louder than that, if you can imagine".
  • At one point in Coupling, Susan complains of having a listening flatmate. When asked if this means she has to be quiet, she explains, "No, loud, we're very competitive."
  • General Hospital: Maxie is tired of hearing Johnny and Lulu's sex life, so one day she makes loud sex noises in her bedroom. They think she's with Spinelli, but when he comes through the front door...
  • Hustle. While Stacie and Danny are posing as a married couple, they hear someone in the next hotel room and think it might be the mark, so they fake having loud sex to maintain their cover. Actually Danny suspects it's Mickey and just wants to make him jealous, but he's not fooled (their orgasms are too well timed for a couple who haven't been together for a while).
  • There is an extremely disturbing version of this in Carnivale, where the noises are of a girl being raped. The character who's hearing all this is paralyzed, though, and can only stare in terror at the wall.
  • On an episode of Spin City, Stacy is at Mike's apartment, and Mike apologizes for his noisy neighbors. We hear the noisy neighbors copulating for a second.

Stacy: You think that's loud? (voice filled with pity) Oh, Mike.

B'Elanna: (reading from the PADD) "Stardate 52648, 0300 hours: intimate relations resume" (addressing Seven directly) How the hell do you know when we're having intimate relations?
Seven of Nine: There is no one on Deck 9 Section 12 who doesn't know when you're having intimate relations.

  • On one episode of Roseanne, she accuses her younger daughter of having sex with her boyfriend (who spent the night). Darlene asks why on earth she would even risk doing it in the next room. Her mother counters that she could have been quiet.

Darlene: You can't!
Roseanne: You can hear us!?
Darlene: I had to tell David you were moving furniture!

    • Darlene also invokes this to play a trick on Becky. After Becky and Mark elope, they return to the Conners' house to stay the night. After an argument over whether they can sleep in the same room that night or not, Roseanne concedes and the house goes to bed. As Roseanne and Dan are discussing what to do in their bedroom, loud banging noises come through the ceiling.

Dan: I'll be in the garage.
Becky: (shouting from upstairs) Very funny, Darlene! Stop jumping on DJ's bed!

  • In Gossip Girls third season Nate and Serena start to date, and apparently have loud sex in the kitchen right outside Chuck and Blair's bedroom (now that's just rude). They are then treated to the sounds of Blair having an Immodest Orgasm, which they assume is her not wanting to be outdone. Then Nate gets a phone call from Chuck, who's apparently not having sex with Blair at the time. It turns out Blair is just reading a fashion magazine and mocking Serena's bedroom noises to point out that the walls are thin.
  • In an early episode of Mad About You, Paul and Jamie meet their neighbors Hal and Maggie, who recognize their voices...

Hal: We hear you through the walls sometimes.
Maggie: Our kitchen is right next to your bedroom.
Jamie: (mortified) Oh, my god--
Hal: That's her!

  • In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert is purposely thumping a chair up and down so his mother will hear it through the walls and think he and Amy are trying to conceive.
  • The Big Bang Theory had one when a drunken and frustrated Penny decides to have sex with Leonard.

Sheldon: FYI, my noise-cancelling headphones proved ineffective last night.
Penny: Yeah, sorry about that.
Sheldon: As a native Texan, I must say I’ve never heard the phrase "yee-haw" used in quite that context.
Penny: Oh, God.
Sheldon: "Oh, God". That I’ve heard on multiple occasions.

Mrs Gunderson: Good morning, Leonard. Or should I say "yee-haw"?

  • The second episode of Rome includes Octavia overhearing her mother Atia having very loud sex with Mark Antony, which she mockingly imitates at a party later. Antony's comment: "She has you exactly."
  • One episode of Castle a suspects alibi was that he had been having sex with the victim's wife when the victim was murdered. This is verified by talking to the neighbors who recalled hearing it (it was a warm night and the windows were open).


  • A short mystery story by Steven Saylor has an amorous couple in ancient Rome (well, the countryside near it). The detective's teenage son listens eagerly, but is shy when they heavily flirt in front of him.
  • High Fidelity. There, it's a major plot point—Rob recalls listening to Ray having sex with various girlfriends while he was still with Laura, and when they break up and Laura begins seeing Ray, he recalls it all and becomes intensely neurotic about it.
  • Occurs as comic relief in Frank Yerby's novel The Voyage Unplanned: the hero's love interest accuses him of having had very loud sex with another woman the night before. The supposed other woman was actually a terrorist who tried to murder him, and the orgasmic screams really came from the hotel room next to his. He proves this by banging on the wall and calling:

John: Hey, kids! Time's a-wasting! Or are you going to let one night wear you out?!
Unnamed girl: Eric! Oh my Gawd! The man next door! He -- he heard us!

  • Talia in the Heralds of Valdemar gets an interesting variant on this. Not only can she hear her "enthusiastic" neighbor, she also has strong enough empathy that she can 'overhear' sex that way too.
  • Edmund spends a couple of chapters of To The Ends Of The Earth trying to figure out how to avoid embodying this trope.


  • Vienna Teng's song 1br/1ba, which is about apartments with unfortunately thin walls/ceilings.

My upstairs neighbors are making sounds that I never want to hear
I hope they're just moving furniture around and really liking their ideas


  • Avenue Q has a whole musical number about it: "You can be as loud as the hell you want when you're making love!"
  • In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gooper and Mae know that Brick and Maggie are not having sex, because they share a wall, and they hear her pleading and his refusal. Brick says that they could've done it without them noticing, because not everybody is that loud.


  • From The Onion: Used blatantly in "Couple Upstairs Going At It Again" and a man tries to induce this in "Man Hopes Hot Woman In Next Apartment Can Hear How Well He's Fucking His Girlfriend"
  • An entertaining scene in the second chapter of Dance With Rogues, if you choose to have sex with Vico and if you broght the dwarven cleric along he mutters "how's a faithful dwarf supposed to get his spells back like that..."; if you have Pia with you she is rather embarrassed when you get her to admit to having been listening. Bran won't barge in and try to 'rescue' you from Vico, which he does otherwise.
  • Used in this Metal Gear Solid 3 fanfic, where the noisy couple in question are Colonel Volgin and Major Raikov. Considering that canonically their sex is probably pretty kinky, one can't blame Ocelot for going to extreme lengths to get a little shut-eye...
  • The Good Omens fanfic "A Precise and Accurate History of Monday, Eleven Years Later" has Crowley moving into Aziraphale's small house in a small town(complete with nosy neighbours). The neighbours had long suspected Aziraphale to be gay and Crowley found this amusing, so while Aziraphale is at work, he spends his days banging against the wall and shouting Aziraphale's name.
  • A dark variant is present in one chapter of the Watchmen fanfic I Should Be Extremely Happy In Your Company. Nelson Gardner is stuck being able to hear Hooded Justice having in all probability very violent sex with a young Adrian Veidt.
  • Australian comedian Josh Thomas tells the story in one of his stand-up routines (and on his album "Things I Have Said Before") about the first time he lived with a loud roommate, and how heartbroken he was at the sound of him having loud sex, because he thought sex that good/loud was a myth from pornography.
  • In the card game Chez Geek, a high-scoring Nookie card can force other players to discard Sleep cards they've already played.
  • In the hilarious Axis Powers Hetalia Kink Meme fill "Are You There God? It's Me, Canada", one of Canada/Matthew's recurring problems is having his bedroom be right next to England/Arthur and France/Francis's and hence hearing his fathers go at it every single night. In fact, when Arthur and Francis don't have sex because of an argument, Matthew actually loses sleep because he's become so used to hearing them every night.
  • Jeff Foxworthy has a story about a couple in the apartment room next to his and his wife's not only being loud enough to hear, but it also went on for two hours straight! He said he was tempted to get the man's autograph.

Video Games

  • In Dragon Age Origins, this can come up a couple of times with the warden and his/her romance options. Justified in that the Player Party spends nights camped in tents in the wild, so there's not much of a wall to be had.
    • If a female warden is romancing Alistair and has gone to bed with him, Zevran can make comments on how the affair is going based on things he overheard.

Zevran: It did seem as if you just got going when all grew quiet. You are... feeling all right, yes? Perhaps you are tired?

    • If a male or female warden is romancing Zevran and has gone to bed with him, Wynne can bring this up to you in a lecture about appropriate behaviour for a Grey Warden.

Warden: You know about Zevran and me?
Wynne: I almost wish I didn't. Half of us aren't getting any sleep, the way you two carry on all night.

    • Also, if the warden is romancing Zevran, Oghren can bring this up in party banter, advising Zevran that "you might wanna, you know, keep it down".
    • Leliana will also make the rather cutting remark to Morrigan if they are both romancing the Warden.

Leliana: I suppose he must like your shrieking, you sound like a genlock being murdered — a sweet, sweet sound to a Grey Warden. You should try a little harder next time he takes you. I don't think they heard you in the Anderfels.

  • In The Sims 2: Apartment Life, loud noises will occasionally leak through the walls, annoying your sims who can bang on the walls to get the neighbors to shut up. One of the things that can leak through the walls is Woo-Hoo interactions.


  • Fairly early in the run of Something*Positive, Davan gets sick of hearing his neighbour's loud sex noises - not so much for the noise, but because it's very obvious that the woman is faking it. He finally storms over to them and angrily gives the man detailed written instructions how to please a woman. Found here
    • Also, this Something Positive references how thin the walls are within Davan's family home.
  • This Xkcd strip.
  • Subverted early in 8-Bit Theater. Black Mage hears bedsprings creaking and White Mage moaning in the next rooms; turns out it's just Black Belt jumping on the bed, practicing his kung fu.
  • This happens in Better Days chapter 20 when Fisk and Beth and Tommy and Lucy go to New York and stay in rooms next to each other. Both boys try not to "finish" before the other, and the next day they both have sore backs when they have to visit museums.
  • Concession: Artie and Kate engage in one of the few explicit sex scenes in the comic, and are heard Right Through The Wall by Artie's very Squicked grandmother. (page 146)
  • Candi and her suitemate overhear a couple during Spring Break, thinking it's one of their friends and his girly—not knowing it's her ex and one of her other friends as well. It's a twofer!
  • Apparently, the walls in Ménage à 3 are pretty thin.
    • Gary and Zii have to listen to DiDi and her boyfriend, until they rush out of the appartment.
    • At the end of the "Backstage Pass" story, Gary and Dillon are kept up by Zii and Yuki having sex.
    • Matt and Dillon also used to hear Gary's Dates With Rosie Palms when they still lived with him.
  • In The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, Amal, apparently. "Y'know, you are one noisy motherfucker."

Western Animation

  • Marge and Homer often are these people in The Simpsons. Their loud love making has been the subject of at least two gags, both times with reactions shots from Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and Ned Flanders (their neighbor in another house). On at least one occasion, the family holds a conversation about this habit while remaining in their bed rooms. Bart even punches Right Through the Wall to prove the kids' point.
  • Subverted in Futurama: it turned out to be two robots made of bedsprings, just playing cards.
  • In The Oblongs, the sex life between the father and the mother is so good that every night she's saying "Oh God" repetitively. The younger son, having lived his entire life listening to them, finds himself incapable of having a good night's sleep without it, and gets insomnia when their relationship becomes rocky.
  • A variant is played for laughs in Mission Hill, where Kevin can overhear his gay neighbors arguing over whether the condoms Gus bought are adequate for their purposes.

Gus: What was wrong with our regular brand? These'll snap right off!

  • A Venture Brothers college flashback has Doc Venture sharing a dorm room with Brock, lying horrified in the lower bunk as Brock has loud, furious sex with a succession of girls just above him.
  • Comes up in an interesting conversation on Danny Phantom:

Danny: I couldn't sleep [last night] with my Arch Enemy in the guest room next to me.
Sam: My parents sleep in the bedroom next to me. It's not the same, but I can't sleep either.

Real life

  • Apparently you can get arrested for it.
  • Any college student living in a dormitory has had to deal with this.
  • According to Bob Denver's autobiography, he heard Tina Louise and her fiance in a wild tryst with each other in her dressing room, while he was trying to sleep in his.