Advice

Sex Advice From Bedbug Survivors

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Q: Do I have to tell a hook-up I have bedbugs? A: Only if you’re serious. If not, just have sex in the kitchen.

Alina, 35

How do I tell a potential hookup that I have bedbugs?
If you are taking care of the bedbugs the way you’re supposed to be — which means that you have left the house in clothes that have been sterilized — it’s not necessary to tell a one-night stand. Just don’t have it at your apartment.

And with someone serious?
I’m in a relationship right now, and I stopped going over to his apartment.

What's the best course of bed-bug-preventing action after a hookup at stranger's apartment?
Immediately when you come home, bag your clothes, take a shower, and then launder your clothes. The way that you kill bedbugs is heat — freezing is inefficient. It’s impossible to keep them cold enough. You have wash your clothes, and heat them to 120 degrees for forty-five minutes.

What's the best place to have sex mid-bedbug infestation?
Fuck in the car. Though, as soon as I made my bed an island — mattress cover, pillow covers, traps at the legs of my bed — I was able to resume coital activities there with my boyfriend. And when he came over, he’d bag his clothes, which got him naked quicker, so that was great.

My best friend went through a really bad breakup a few months ago. She's spent the past three weeks communicating with a man online. They haven't even met up yet, but she's already way too into him. How can I tell her to calm down without sounding judgmental?
I think your friend is in a vulnerable position, obviously, from just having broken up. But she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do. All you can say is, “I worry about you. I understand that you really want to express your feelings for this guy, but I need you to be careful. And if he turns out to be a scary internet guy, I’ll be here for you.” Because they’re mostly scary internet guys.

Speaking of which, what should I leave out of an online personal?
Bitterness — leave out the bitterness. I’ve read so many profiles that are like, “Liars stay away!” and with that you’re basically telling everyone, “People I have sex with lie to me all the time.” It’s not what a confident person does, and it’s not sexy.

I had one awkward hookup with a woman I've known for years, and the sex was terrible. Despite our off-night, I'm still really attracted to her, and want to give it another go. When I approach her about a rematch, is it best to acknowledge that the previous time was bad?
You have to be able to talk to people about sex. Say, “Last time didn’t work out very well, but I still think you’re incredibly hot and I would love to try that again.” Though I actually did that once, and it did not turn out well. The guy was just inept in bed. I thought it was partially me, and partially the situation. It wasn’t. But then I learned something and moved on.

My boyfriend just grew a beard and it makes him look like my dad. I'm surprisingly not turned off by it. Should he shave it off immediately?
No. Sex is complicated and funny and weird and kinky and crazy. Unless you’re actually fantasizing about your dad… actually, who cares, if it’s what gets you off? I think that it’s normal as adults for us to sexualize almost every relationship. As long as it doesn’t affect your relationship with your father and it doesn’t effect your relationship with your significant other, then I don’t see why you need to worry about it.

What are some tips for having one-night stands that leave both parties feeling good about things?
Just say, “Let’s fuck and not care about it later.” Or, “I find you really attractive. Do you want to have sex and never talk again?” If it offends the person, what’s the harm? You’re already viewing them as a one-night stand and not someone you’d be in a long-term relationship with.

How can you tell someone their junk tastes like junk?
I’ve never been a fan of the penis breath, so I’ve always been a “Let’s get this started in the shower” kind of girl. Though I personally have no problem saying, “This is not very tasty.” If you’re really concerned with spoiling the mood, do it in the shower. And if you’re the kind of person who’s always worried that about hurting someone’s feelings, then you need to just date someone with a thick skin. Or really clean genitals.

Steve, 26

How do I tell a potential hookup that I have bedbugs?
You probably shouldn’t bring anyone back to your place to begin with; it’s better to go to their place. My roommate didn’t tell a girl he hooked up with until she had bites. For that whole month, he hooked up with a girl on an air mattress and they still got bit.

What's the best place to have sex mid-bedbug infestation?
The bathroom, maybe? The air mattress in theory was a good idea, but that didn’t work out. You can’t be in the infected room at all.

What's the best course of bed-bug-preventing action after a hookup at a stranger's apartment?
Put some protective covers on your bed and hope for the best. And next time, check out their mattress first.

My girlfriend and I haven't had sex since her bedbug outbreak (resolved three weeks ago). I think all the stress just took a sexiness toll. How can we get back on track?
Surprise her with a nice date that ends with you staying at a nice hotel or bed and breakfast. Get her away from the scene of the crime.

I'm staying with my boyfriend while my apartment gets de-bugged. I'd actually love to live together permanently. How can I turn this situation into a relationship upgrade?
Moving in together is a hard topic to bring up, regardless of the situation. You could say, “It’s been great to spend time together like this. Could you see us living together?”

What if I move in and it doesn’t work out? Can we continue dating after I move into my own place?
No. The only way to take a step backwards and still make it work is to take a break and
revisit the relationship later.

Is it always a bad idea to get back with an ex?
No. It depends on why you broke up. If you broke up because you moved away to go to school — a situational breakup — or even if it was just an amicable breakup where things just weren’t working, maybe they will now. But it won’t work if there was incident. If cheating was involved, you’re not going to trust them. The person can be a saint now, and you’re always going to have that in the back of your head.

My best friend went through a really bad breakup a few months ago. She's spent the past three weeks communicating with a man online. They haven't even met up yet, but she's already way too into him. How can I tell her to calm down without sounding judgmental?
Just tell her that if she’s overexcited before a date, it’s going to be disappointing. This way you’re telling her not to get her hopes up, but in a way that’s looking out for her interests.

The woman I'm seeing is all about the handjob. I think handiwork is great for women, but I'm a dude, and I'm not in ninth grade anymore — and I told her so. She seemed kind of hurt. Am I an asshole for not letting her do her thing?
First off, I agree with you. But there’s a nicer way to go about it. When you’re just starting to date someone, you have to just kind of let it happen for awhile. As it continues, subtly explain that it’s not your thing.

Lucinda, 27

How do I tell a potential hookup that I have bedbugs?
You can tell after a few dates whether the person will judge you for it or be cool. The second time ours flared up, my two roommates knew and they didn’t tell me. Unfortunately, I didn’t tell my new boyfriend because I thought they had been gone for three months. So the second or third time he stayed over, he woke up with the telltale red dots on his arm. He was visiting from out of town, so we had to wash all of his clothes at a laundromat. It was really embarrassing. But it worked out; we’re getting married.

Is there a sexy or funny way to ask someone if they have bedbugs?
No. But a non-sexy/funny way, if you want to be creepy about it, is checking their address on the bedbug registry website.

My best friend went through a really bad breakup a few months ago. She's spent the past three weeks communicating with a man online. They haven't even met up yet, but she's already way too into him. How can I tell her to calm down without sounding judgmental?
Don’t be the asshole friend who says, “Well, maybe he’s not going to like you.” It would be one thing if you met the guy and knew it was a bad situation, but who are you to tell people what to be excited about?

What should I include and what should I leave out of an internet personal ad?
People take what they put in their profiles too seriously. It’s never a good idea to misrepresent yourself but, don’t put everything out there, either. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of people whose pictures are all of themselves taking their own picture. And they have to think of what message that’s sending. You don’t have one friend who will take a picture of you? So step back and think of little things like that. Maybe you do have a friend, and you just didn’t really think of how that would come off.

I had one awkward hookup with a woman I've known for years, and the sex was terrible. Despite our off-night, I'm still really attracted to her, and want to give it another go. When I approach her about a rematch, is it best to acknowledge the previous time was bad?
If you got to that point and there’s not enough chemistry to take you forward, that’s a sign. You either have that chemistry with that person or you don’t.

A buddy of mine is seeing a woman who thinks they're exclusive. She was recently gushing to me at a bar about how lucky she feels to have a "boyfriend" like him. I told him that he needs to tell her he's still dating other people. He disagreed. Should I say something to her?
I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh, the bro-code. Don’t ever fuck with someone else’s whatever.” I wouldn’t go to the girl, unless I knew her very well. But I would certainly reiterate to my friend that it’s pretty clear the girl has high expectations and he’s probably going to hurt her. Tell him to man up.