Men and Women Agree: These Are the Biggest Turnoffs When Cohabiting

Updated 11/27/18
Julia Robbs

When we live at home, we abide by a certain set of rules set by our parents without much say in the matter—and if we slip, someone is usually there to pick up the slack and keep the peace. When we move in with roommates, we learn that not everyone will secretly fold our laundry when we forget to do it, and yes, it is annoying when someone lets their breakfast dishes linger in the sink again. But when we finally live alone, our home becomes a sanctuary where everything is permitted and no one but us is responsible for setting decent standards of living—or breaking the rules on occasion. 

So when we start dating someone, we often show our personal spaces under their best light: scented candles, dimmed lights, stocked bar, and all. But as the relationship progresses, things can start to slip: A mug is forgotten in the sink, clothes start piling up on the back of a chair, and frankly, the floor could use a little vacuuming. We notice the same little quirks in our partners, too—why is their bathroom sink so filthy? Why are their shoes everywhere? These questions arise as we ponder a future life with the other person, and imagine what cohabitating would look like. In order to shed some light on the biggest turnoffs (and the biggest turn-ons!) heterosexual men and women have when living together, Moshells conducted a survey of 500 cohabitators. Take a peek behind the curtains of ordinary couples, and find out what their biggest turnoffs were in this moving in together checklist.

AVOID: a Filthy BathroomADOPT: a Pet

Courtesy of DISC Interiors

What was cohabitating's biggest offender? A filthy bathroom came in at number one for both men and women, emphasizing the importance of scrubbing your toilet, wiping down the sink, and removing hair from the shower drain (another top offender). After all, no one likes living with a slob.

Conversely, owning a pet was a big turn-on, especially for women—pointing out it might be high time to adopt a furry friend. It may even entice you to clean a little more frequently.

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AVOID: Dishes in the SinkADOPT: Healthy Food and Drinks

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A sink full of dishes was the second biggest offender for both men and women, so if you're the type to let dinner plates linger a little too long, a dishwasher could be the easy solution to a lasting relationship.

What did couples find to be a turn-on in the kitchen? Healthy food in the fridge was a top contender, especially for men and millennial women. Another turn-on? Nice wine and liquor—popular especially among Gen X men—so if impressing the other sex is your goal, consider stocking an at-home bar and buying lots of kale.

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AVOID: an Uncomfortable BedADOPT: a King Size

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It seems that no one likes sleeping on an uncomfortable bed—this faux pas was especially noted among Gen X women. We can't say we're surprised—a comfortable mattress, clean sheets, and plush pillows are a must-have for a decent night of sleep (and long-term sanity).

Conversely, a big bed was the number one turn-on for men and women combined, suggesting that it may be time to forgo a little bedside table space in favor of a king size.

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AVOID: Too Many Grooming ProductsADOPT: Too Many Books

Courtesy of Amber Interiors

Next up, 24% of men listed tons of grooming products as a top turnoff, as opposed to only 8% of women. No matter how much you like your pampering products, but it may be time to do a little editing in the beauty closet.

What should you collect instead of beauty elixirs and body creams? Books were listed as a turn-on, especially among boomer men. One healthy compromise? Swap your face mask and Netflix for a face mask and Tolstoy.

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AVOID: Pictures of ExesADOPT: Wall Art and a Great TV

Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Homepolish

Unsurprisingly, pictures of exes were listed as a big no-no for both men and women. After all, no one wants to have a constant reminder of their S.O.'s dating past.

On the other hand, a great TV and art on the walls were a big turn-on for both sexes—art ranking particularly high among boomer women. So stash those distant memories in a secret box, and surround your flat-screen with a gallery wall instead.

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AVOID: Cheap FurnitureADOPT: Designer Pieces

Courtesy of Robson Rak

While "cheap" furniture is very much in the eye of the beholder, it was an important turnoff, especially among Boomer women. If you're unnecessarily holding on to hand-me-downs or overworn IKEA pieces, it may be time for an upgrade.

While we're certainly not saying you should splurge on a Patricia Urquiola armchair (though, if that floats your boat, be our guest!), nice furniture came in as a top turn-on for both sexes. Since this is very much up to interpretation, this could mean anything from a lucky score at a local antique store to the latest hot piece from West Elm.

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AVOID: Dirty LaundryADOPT: a Washer/Dryer

Courtesy of Studio McGee

It seems as though it's literally time to hide your dirty laundry—a faux pas that came in third and fourth places for men and women, respectively. If you have the bad habit of tossing your clothes on the back of a chair (or even worse—on the floor), consider a sturdy laundry basket with a lid—sight unseen.

For women, a washer/dryer came in fourth place as the biggest turn-on, so if you're still sending your laundry to mom and dad, it may be time to grow up and set up a proper laundry room.

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Want to increase your odds of success? Find out what makes relationships last longer, according to science.

This story was originally published on January 24, 2017, and has since been updated.

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