Things that go bonk in the night

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COITAL NOISE Pollution, the intrusive sound of neighbours making love, can be bad for health, according to researchers.

While people are prepared to protest about loud stereos and other noises from next door, the sound of sex is a taboo subject about which few people are willing to complain, despite the stress it causes.

"You can forgive the squeaking and then the banging, but it's the `Yes! Yes! Yes!' that's really invasive," said one victim interviewed by the researchers at Cardiff University.

All those questioned by a team led by Dr Craig Gurney claimed to have heard the coital noises of neighbours. "This noise was clearly distinctive and was always characterised by the description of moans or banging," said Dr Gurney, who will discuss his findings at a European housing research conference at the university.

"For these people the experience of overhearing coital noise was real. It had demonstrable effects upon their attitudes to their home and was contingent upon dwelling design and household type."

Many said the worst aspect was the moaning and shouting: "You try to pretend. You convince yourself that it's something else but as soon as the moaning starts that's it, the illusion is shattered. It's not the water pipes, it's the neighbours making love," said one of those questioned.