Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a personal trainer and yoga instructor.
Does that get you laid?
The personal trainer part does not get me laid. The moment I tell a girl I'm a personal trainer, she gets self-conscious and asks me about how to fix her thighs. Yoga, on the other hand, absolutely does.
Really? How does that work?
Well, it never works in class. I stay true to the teacher-student boundary. It works more when I'm out and I tell people what I do. Once you say you're a yoga instructor, girls really like that. I had a girlfriend who always introduced me as "The Yogi." It just has a cache to it, I guess.
I heard that yoga retreats are total orgies. Is that true?
Um… I hold those environments very sacred. Those are special spaces for healing. But that might be because I'm the teacher. I've definitely heard about it happening with other people, people who are less strict about what their yoga practice looks like.
What's a good yoga pose to do during sex?
Happy Baby. But that's sort of a given. I guess Hanumanasana, which is the split pose. I'm not saying that I would do it, but I could help someone get into it.
Is it weird to be the teacher in a class when everyone is doing Happy Baby?
I mean, you just have to have a sensitivity about it. It could be creepy, but I try not to be.
You could potentially observe the outline of many labia during each class, but you choose not to?
Right. I could see all the junk if I want to, but there are strategic places to stand in a yoga studio so that I don't make people uncomfortable.
What's your craziest sexual experience?
I had sex with a British woman in a taxicab in India. Doesn't get more yogic than that.
Nice. How did that come about?
Well, it was in Goa — the Cabo of India. We were going to go make out at the beach after a club, but I guess we couldn't really wait.
Did the cab driver get mad?
I do remember him adjusting his mirror a little bit to get a better look.
And did you like that?
I was not concerned with the driver at that moment.
Were you like, "I'm the man?"
Yes. It's a good story. And I realized that while it was happening. I was like, yes! I got a good sex story. Everyone likes to have a few good sex stories under their belts.
What if that happened here? Would you judge a girl for giving it up right away?
Oh, I don't believe in that shit. If there's chemistry, there is chemistry.
What's the longest you've ever waited?
I feel like that's a trick question. It implies that I wait. Sometimes I'm not sure if I want to have sex with someone. You're implying that a guy always wants to nail a girl right away, and that's just not the case with me. Maybe it was at one time, but now I sometimes take a girl out five or ten or twenty times before I know if I want to have sex with her. Because sex complicates things.
I hate to say it, but I'm finally becoming an adult. I realize that sex deepens things and changes the relationship. Doesn't mean that I don't see a woman and want to do everything in my power to get her to fuck me. But I just have to not listen to the part of my brain that says that.
What do you do for a living?
I'm an entrepreneur. In the food industry.
Does that get you laid?
Yes. I go to food shows all the time. It's quite a male-dominated industry, so it's really easy to stick out. It's kind of like a meat market, actually.
So how does it usually go from business to pleasure?
So far it's been professional. We talk about our products, and it ends with, "Let's meet for coffee." Or sometimes you're both from out of town and you're stranded there in the same hotel for the show.
Oh, that's convenient. When was the last time you had sex?
Three weeks ago.
How was it?
It wasn't really that great. I realized that I was just a fling for this other person. It was more just something he needed at the time, and I was available. And when it was over he told me I was lucky to have been with him. Ew.
Did you slap him in the face?
No. I guess I should have.
With whom did you have your best sex?
My husband. I'm divorced. Sex with him was fun. And we had a real emotional connection, which I think is important for women. I knew that he loved and respected me.
Why the divorce?
It's a cliche reason, but we basically grew apart. We got together when I was seventeen. I married my first boyfriend, and over the years we grew apart. I ignored the warning signs and thought there was something wrong with me.
What were the warning signs?
I didn't care to bring out the best in myself or him anymore. It was like we were both in a slump. I just didn't care. I was too comfortable not being happy.
So what was the final straw before you called it quits?
I realized that I was just being selfish by staying in the relationship. I was just stringing him along, and he deserved to know I was mentally checked out so he could then make intelligent decisions on what he wanted to do.
Have you made up for lost time?
Yeah. I've been dating a lot, but from the last few shitty dates, I realized I'm a relationship girl. I had some fun this past year, but I don't think I want to just casually date anymore. I've been in L.A. a little over a year, and I do find the guys here are pretty narcissistic.
What is your craziest sexual experience?
Nothing too crazy. Probably just having sex outside. In a park. A couple years ago. The first guy I dated after my husband.
What would your ex-husband say if he saw this interview?
He might be disappointed because of the park thing, but he might be happy to know he's the best sex I've ever had.
What do you do for a living?
I work for a skateboard company.
Does that ever get you laid?
Uh… yes. We use the expression "Bro Hos." They're women who like skateboarders.
Are you saying you have groupies?
Yes. I guess they're equivalent to band groupies, sure.
Do they just stalk you outside the skate park and ride your tour bus?
No. I'm in sales, so I go to all the skate shops around L.A., and I end up meeting all the girls at the shops.
Do you date one girl from every skate shop?
No. I don't date those girls. I thought you said "get laid."
Ah, so you only fuck the girls from the skate shops. Where do you find girlfriend material then?
I like fix-ups. I'd rather have my friends' wives pick out someone for me. They know me already. It usually works out pretty well.
So, is there an unwritten skater-boy rule that says "Bro Hos" are for sex only?
Kind of. But, actually, I don't just have sex with "Bro Hos." Some of the best sex I've had has been with random girls at bars. Just random ones.
Does that usually involve a lot of liquor?
Yes. Liquor usually means the sex is great. The problem is the relationship is off from the beginning because it's just based on sex. If she fucks on the first date or the first time you meet her, she's probably not girlfriend material.
How long do you usually wait with people who are girlfriend material?
Once I waited three months with this girl from Pakistan. She was Muslim and really traditional and very beautiful. She had style for days. She made me wait, and then we were together for seven years.
What happened with her?
It just didn't work out. When you're with someone for seven years, you grow one way and she grows in the other direction. And then you're in totally different places. I am a high-school dropout and I got into skateboarding. She got her Ph.D.
But she reeled you in in the first place by not having sex with you. Would you say that every guy is just looking for a nice girl deep down?
I don't know about every guy. All I know is that when I'm old and crippled, I don't want to be alone. I've seen people together who are first loves and they'll be together their whole lives. It's a beautiful thing. It's mainly what I want, but I'm going on three months right now without sex, so my standards are progressively dropping. I would go home with pretty much anyone right now.
Is that why you agreed to talk to me?
What's the longest you've ever gone without sex?
I've had a six-month drought before. Maybe a few of them.
What's your worst dating experience?
I was just dating this nurse for two months, and she was really bitchy about the smallest things. We were walking down the sidewalk, and I spit in the street. She wouldn't shut up about it. An hour later, I finally said, "What's worse than me spitting in the street is you talking about me spitting in the street for an hour." I broke up with her and my friend's wife says she's still crying about me after three months. I feel horrible. But I couldn't take it.
Is that your dealbreaker? When women pick on the little things?
Yeah, I hate when girls want to be my teacher. If I'm on a date, I don't need someone to correct my grammar all the time or correct my manners. I fucking hate that shit. No nagging. Stop trying to change me, you know?
I wish you had worn a different hat.
What do you do for a living?
I do construction.
Nice. Does that ever get you laid?
Yes. All the time.
I work at hot chicks' houses sometimes.
And they hit on you?
Nah, I usually hit on them.
Wait a minute. You show up to work construction on a house with a hard hat on and a hot girl just happens to be there all the time? Are you sure you don't work in porn?
Yeah, man. I'm sure. And I don't wear a hard hat.
So how does it work then?
I end up working for girls and sometimes talk to them and it works out. I get laid. Trust me.
What is the line that gets these hot homeowners to lay you then?
There's not just one line — it depends on the situation. Gotta keep your game up. You know what I'm saying?
So do you practice to keep your game up?
No. I don't practice alone in the mirror or anything. But I practice in that I hit on a lot of cute girls.
What does a cute girl look like to you?
I am not picky with girls. I like beautiful girls.
Are you looking for a beautiful girl to be your girlfriend right now or are you liking being single?
No relationships right now. No way. I can't deal with the extra drama right now. I don't have time for it. I need to focus on things other than girls right now. I'm taking a break from girls.
How long is this break? When was the last time you had sex?
Um… Three or four days ago.
What? What kind of break is that?
What can I say?
How did that one go down?
That was with an old girlfriend of mine. I hadn't seen her in six years.
And then Facebook came to town?
No. I just saw her and all these old memories came up. But now that it's over, they all left again.
So are you not going to talk to her again?
I don't really want to, but I have to. I left my hat over there.
Is it a special hat or something?
Yeah. I'm particular about my hats. That one is a good hat.
Did you leave your hat on purpose so you would have an excuse to see her again?
Nope. If I could do it again, I would have brought my hat with me. Man, I really like that hat.
Thanks for your time.
A really, really good hat.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a writer.
Does that mean you're unemployed?
I pay my bills.
Does being a writer ever get you laid?
Not really. I guess maybe it's because people must think I'm unemployed when I say I'm a writer.
So where do you meet your dates then?
I haven't been dating too much lately, but the last few have been matches through friends. I had a double date with my friends the other night. They brought a guy for me. It was a completely blind situation, and it did not pan out.
The guy did not laugh one time. He kept talking about how he's a true artist but the art world doesn't understand him and how he was the original inventor of graffiti. My friend said that he had also done some tagging in 1992 under some viaduct, and he was like, "I tagged under that viaduct first in 1985." And I couldn't help thinking that I was not yet in kindergarten at that time, and then I thought about how he's still holding on to that time period. And then I thought about how if I was still hanging on to that time period, I would be wetting my bed.
So, you don't like older men?
In theory I do. I want a man to be established or at least know what he wants to do with his life. And someone who is sure of himself, which is supposed to come with age. Plus, I would like to date men who can teach me some crazy sexy moves. But, the older ones aren't really working for me lately. There have been three forty-one-year olds in a row, and none was a keeper.
They don't know enough sexy moves?
No, I'm not getting to that point with them. Not even close.
So when was the last time you had sex?
Long ago, my friend. Maybe six months. I've gone two years before, so this is nothing.
Are you just not a very sexual person?
No! That's not it. I would love to get some action, but I made a pact with myself to only do it with someone I care about. I'm over the sex with strangers thing.
And you just don't care about anyone lately?
Why no more sex with strangers? You don't mind talking to strangers.
I just like my life right now, and I don't want to derail anything for just anyone. I was so mad I wasted time on that guy the other night. That was four hours I could have been doing anything else. I'm waiting for someone who makes me really want to be with him, not be with him just because I'm lonely or looking.
How many strangers were you with before you implemented this new plan?
A few. Not really strangers though. Just people I was with just for fun. I always know people's names. Usually.
Are you using anything else as a substitute during these past six months?
I was on my way out the door the other day, and I checked my mail to find a new vibrator. Went right back inside.
Do you watch porn?
Any specific kinds?
Yes. I'm very specific. It has to seem real. And if the bedspread looks dirty or the girl has fake nails or if there's any dialogue at all, I can't watch it.
So, you hate all porn then?
No! There are some good ones. You just have to really search.
What do you do for a living?
I am retired.
Oh, nice. Has that ever worked for you in the sex department?
Yeah. People seem to like that. They say, "Oh wow! At your age? That's pretty cool. I want to fuck you."
When the last time that worked for you?
I think the easier question is when hasn't it worked for me!
Oh, snap. When was the last time you had sex?
Three weeks ago. I've been trying to lay off for a little bit. No pun intended.
What happened three weeks ago?
I hooked up with this surfer boy. He's got long blond hair. We don't really have sex. I blow him, but I've never kissed him. This is very odd for me because I'm normally all about the kissing. But he's so cute. He's the typical Venice surfer dude. You'd swear he's eighteen, but he's really twenty-seven and he smokes weed. So we get baked and I end up reaching over and I go down on him.
Wow. Where did you meet this guy?
Craigslist. Yeah. His ad said he wanted to hang with a chill dude, drink a beer, and smoke a cigarette while someone gave him a blowjob. He's not into coming right away. He likes to draw it out. Sometimes it takes two hours. The first time, I tried to stand up and I fell down because my legs were asleep. And then I got rug burn on the top of my feet!
So, does he ever reciprocate?
Nah. Not yet. We're not in a relationship or anything.
Does that ever bother you? The lack of reciprocation?
Are you kidding? The guy is adorable, and I get to blow him! He's just so fucking cute. I saw him at a party the other night. He was across the room, and I loved just knowing that I had gone down on him. I had to pinch myself.
So is Craigslist where you meet a lot of guys?
Yeah. Craigslist in L.A. is so immediate. It blew me away when I moved here. Someone will be like, "I'm going to be walking my dog between this street and this street. Meet me in the alley and let's fuck." Or "I'll be jacking off in my front window on Pico and Western in ten minutes."
And that's better than bars?
Yes. I'd say Craigslist is much better because I don't want to meet any more queens trolling one of the gay websites or bars. That's also why I live in Venice Beach and not West Hollywood. I don't want to be just around queens all the time.
What's the definition of a queen?
Someone totally wrapped up in the gay culture. They only have gay friends. And they're more effeminate.
Have you ever had a bad experience meeting someone on Craigslist?
Oh yeah. I mean, if you're going to send someone pictures of yourself, you're going to send the best ones, even if those are from ten years ago. Mine are old on there too, but I look like I used to look ten years ago, so it's okay. Karen and I used to use Craigslist. Once we had a guy come over. He was white on Craigslist and black when he got to our house. It didn't really matter to us that he was black, but he was white online!
My swinger ex-wife. We slept with everyone. She had me pick out guys at bars and she'd be the closer. She just couldn't compete with guys though, because she didn't have a dick.
Interviews and photography by Laurenne Sala. Want to talk to strangers in your town? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.