Sex Advice From Mates of State

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The adorable indie-pop husband-and-wife team on makeout music and love at first sight.

Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are a married couple; they are also the indie-pop band Mates of State. Their new album, Mountaintops, comes out this week from Barsuk Records.

Your music is very dance-able. Do good dancers make better lovers?
K: Yes. You're on a certain wavelength when you're on beat, you know?

I do know all about that.
K: I have a thing for drummers, so rhythm is a turn-on. It just seems like they have a slightly wilder edge, because they don't need the ego trip of being the guitar player or the frontman or whatever. There's usually some sort of wild curiosity to them too, along with the fact that obviously they can carry a beat. Jason's a drummer, and he also sings and writes.

Have you guys ever had sex to your own music?
J: That would be kind of weird.
K: We've had sex right before we played, and after.

Okay, which song of yours would you suggest for other people to make out to?
J: I don't know if our songs are really sexy. I would say something like "Fraud in the '80s." Something a little bit faster with a consistent beat.

Does the adrenaline rush onstage get you in the mood?
K: No, it's only been a couple times. Honestly I've always wondered how guys can have sex whenever, wherever and be happy with it. At least in my experience, there's no number that's too much for them. But I always think, isn't there supposed to be a little sexual tension to play a really good show? Can it be depleted? I think people might perform better if there's a little bit of need and lust.

If not your own, what's the best music to set the mood for sex?
K: You can always go with something old like soul music. Or that whole adrenaline rush you get from rock and roll. Even though we don't really have guitars in our band, I still think rock-and-roll and guitars are more bad-ass.
J: I like Marvin Gaye.

Keeping it classic.
J: Yeah, you can't beat Marvin.

My girlfriend travels a lot for business, and I think I have a jealousy issue. She's never given me a reason not to trust her, so how can I relax while she's gone?
J: If she is cheating on you, ditch her immediately and go find someone else. There's no room for that.

You don't believe in second chances?
J: It depends on the length of the relationship. I wouldn't stay.

Have you ever cheated?
J: No.

Obviously not on your wife, but in less serious relationships?
J: Yeah, in high school I cheated. Just like kissing other girls. I don't think my girlfriend ever found out.

So just keep it a secret. Good call. Okay: I'm in my late twenties, and it feels like all of my friends are getting married. I haven't even been in a serious relationship since I graduated college! I feel an immense pressure to start looking for someone, but I'm not sure marriage is all it's cracked up to be. Should I be worried?
J: Don't worry about getting married. You don't have to get married. I don't think your life will be necessarily better if you do get married. Ask the fifty-five percent of people who end up getting divorced. If you're in your twenties, just have fun. Also, usually if you're looking super-hard for somebody, you're really judgmental, and missing out on things that might develop as they go. So quit worrying about the long-term.

How are the two of you beating the odds?
J: That's a good question, because I think we spend an unusual and probably, arguably, insane amount of time together. That's how it's always been. From the day we met we pretty much moved in together. We've spent every day together for the last fourteen years.

How do you keep sex interesting?
K: I think you have to be willing to change. I'm thirty-seven now, I got married at twenty-seven, and I have to say for all the girls out there, there's always a discrepancy between how much a guy wants it and how much a woman wants it. It's true about sex drives changing. It's kind of insane. So just hang in there, you guys, there will be a change.
J: It's kind of a misconception that sex becomes less interesting. We deal with that as a band, because people think as soon as you're married, you can't be in a rock band. For us, the sex is definitely still there. I think we just still like each other. If you don't like someone you don't want to have sex with them. And then, it's true about women in their mid-thirties. I always remember when I was a kid thinking, "Nah, that cant be true." But I'm finding it to be very true.

So there's something to look forward to in my thirties.
K: Yes, it's a true phenomenon. That's one way to keep things lively.

I've been dating a girl a few months and everything is going great. How soon is too soon to ask for anal?
K: You've got to wait a while for that one.
J: The first date is probably too soon. Second date maybe, depending on the girl.

Do you have to have met someone's parents before you can do that?
K: You have to be really committed to do that. But that's me. To me, that's giving something pretty special to someone else, even more than your virginity. Because it's pretty personal and you have to make sure this person really cares about you before you're like, "Let's go here." So yeah, you have to be fully committed for a while before that.
J: If you really like her, you may want to wait a little longer. If you really like her, go slowly.

So you definitely have to ask — you can't just surprise somebody with that?
J: That's kind of a weird surprise. Nobody wants that surprise.

Surprise! Right, next question. Because I'm "too nice," I've been faking orgasms with a guy I've been dating several months. I realize I'm not helping anyone here, but how can I bring up this incredibly sensitive subject?
K: Yeah, I don't believe in faking orgasms. I think you dug yourself in a really big hole here, no pun intended. Why fake it? You end up happy if you're not faking it. I think you just need to come clean.

Have you never faked one?
K: Never faked one.

I feel like you're in the minority of women.
K: I just don't think there's a reason to. Make him work for it, or just be honest and say it's not working for me but it's cool. I have friends who fake it and I'm like, "Stop! They need to know how!"

You two met while both of you were in relationships with other people, but you waited till you were both single to get together. What are your views on finding love while you're with someone else?
K: I think our minds were wandering at a certain point in our relationships when we first met. It's hard, but I think you need to be honest with the person you're seeing if there's any thought or anything going on. But the people we were dating, not to discredit any feelings, but they only one- or two-month relationships.

When you met Jason, did you know he was the one?
K: Yeah, I think I did. I think we both agree that it was pretty intense. You have that chemistry only a few times in a lifetime, if you're lucky, where it's right away. I think we didn't really know what to do with it at first, because of our situations, so we kind of backed off.

Would you venture to call it love at first sight?
K: Well, it was lust at first sight, at least.