Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Mardi Gras Edition

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Is getting laid during the party to end all parties as easy as one would think?

Mardi Gras comes with a somewhat sordid reputation: many think it’s all bros and beads on Bourbon Street. But no full-blooded New Orleanian would be found dead drinking a Hurricane from a pink plastic cup, slipping in a pool of vomit, and waking up in someone else’s hotel room. (Okay, maybe the last one.)

For locals, carnival is a magical moment of high and low culture – it’s pretty much a religious experience. But still, we had to find out: in the middle of all the King Cake-eating, “throw”-collecting, mask-wearing, parade-marching, ball gown-choosing, costume-making and dancing – are people having more sex? After all, you can’t have a healthy bacchanal without a bit of debaucherous banging.

For this investigation into Mardi Gras hookups, we limited our interviews to year-round residents of the Big Easy. No tourists were allowed in our interview zone.

So is getting laid during the party to end all parties as easy as one would think? My initial impression was a resounding yes. At dinner the first night, I was regaled with a classic Mardi Gras sex story. My friend had noticed a cute, albeit shoeless woman in the lobby of his hotel the night before. “Are you okay?” he asked like a proper Southern gentleman. She told him that she’d fought with her boyfriend, who’d drunkenly stole her shoes (not to mention, her cell phone) and left her at the bar. My friend offered the young woman the option to call for help – from his room. Ms. Barefoot didn’t hesitate. You don’t have to stay up all night to get lucky in Crescent City.

Sadly, Mardi Gras 2014 wasn’t as high-spirited as most years are. People blamed the outer edges of the lingering Polar Vortex, which poured a cold, windswept rain over the city on Fat Tuesday. Many stayed in or watched the revelry from their porches, somewhat deflated.

Despite the weather, a distinctive assortment of locals were out in all their finery on Frenchmen Street, a less-well-known corner of N’awlins debauchery. And they had some (sexual) stories to tell.

Natalie and Kevin

Do people have more sex at Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras flings are definitely a thing. A lot of times somebody meets somebody and they see each other a lot during the parades; there’s drunkenness and ambiguity going on. They’re kind of caught up in the moment. And they have these flings, but they end right as Mardi Gras ends.

What about for couples?

You’re partying a lot, having a good time, dressing up, you’re relaxed, maybe seeing sides of each other that you wouldn’t normally. I think the big thing for keeping the spark in relationships correlates with new experiences, right? Whether it’s sexual or not, Mardi Gras always brings new experiences.

If a couple is having a rough patch, do you think Mardi Gras can heal that patch?

You’d think that just because people are drinking, that would lead to fights, but in Mardi Gras season there’s such a good atmosphere. You’re seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, it’s kind of a jovial time, so yes — you enjoy each other more.

Anna and Peter

Do you think people have more sex at Mardi Gras?

Anna: If they do, it’s very sloppy. It’s not memorable.

Peter: They probably have more, though.

We’re talking about other people’s hookups right now, so it’s quantity, not quality?

Anna: Yes, and it’s probably not safe I imagine.

What about for you guys?

Anna: I have time off, so we’re more relaxed. But really, it would be about the same amount for us. 

You seem to have an active sex life (points to baby bump) but what about for couples that don’t — do you think carnival time can enhance their sex life?

Anna: It depends if you’re the kind of couple that needs a little libation to feel loose. But you might be so busy that you just don’t have time.

Peter: But you might have too many libations and then just go to sleep.

Steve and Augusta 

Is there more sex at Mardi Gras?

I think it’s a very special time of year. It’s a nice break from reality. Do we have more sex? I think we kiss more, which is probably even better. Whatever that leads to, it’s beautiful. In our younger life, perhaps we had more sex.

How long have you been together?

Seventeen years.

Oh wow!

It’s hard to believe we’re that old that it’s true. One year at Mardi Gras I gave him a blowjob on a balcony and it was beautiful. So I would say yes, there is more sex at Mardi Gras; it’s a very good thing.

So you think Mardi Gras brings magic? Not necessarily more sex, but at least some sexual magic?

Mardi Gras is a beautiful time of the year – it brings people closer together.  It certainly brings us closer to each other. It’s an excuse to have fun and just be more publicly romantic.

"Cuddle Monster"

Do you think people have more sex at Mardi Gras?

I would say at least every other day.

Single people?

My experience is yes.

Are you single?

I’m single but I have a girlfriend in San Juan named Elena, one in Rio De Janeiro named Jessica, and one in (unintelligible) that’s not talking to me.

So are you polyamorous or are you single?

I don’t know what that first word meant.

Ok, so you’re single and you have three girlfriends, cool.

Yeah, and I have an ex in Colombia that’s moving to Panama soon.

Um, great. So why do people have more sex at Mardi Gras?

Because they do a lot of marijuana, ecstasy, beer, shots, tequila. That’s about it.

Do you think it’s good sex, or do you think it’s crappy sex?

Crappy. For the most part, there are exceptions I’m sure. But wait, have you seen my tail, baby? (Holds up floor-length, colorful monster tail.)

Yes, you have a very big tail. Have you ever had a girlfriend at Mardi Gras?

I was at coming out of the bathroom once, and this girl said “Do you want to fuck?” and I said ok. So that’s what we did, in the bathroom.

Brian

Do people have more sex at Mardi Gras?

People have a lot of sex in New Orleans, period.

Why is that?

We don’t take things seriously and we’re easy here. I’ve lived in a lot of cities, and from what I’ve seen, it’s just easier to have sex here. It’s free, no strings. People just aren’t hung up on sex.

Given that New Orleans is a highly sexed city, you don’t think that Mardi Gras increases that volume?

No, I don’t think so at all. I don’t think Mardi Gras makes a difference. Actually it may be even a little less because people are so fucked up.

Have you ever been in a relationship during Mardi Gras?

Yes.

So did you have more or less sex with your partner during Mardi Gras?

Every year that I’ve been in a relationship during Mardi Gras we’ve had no sex.

Because you were drunk all day?

Exactly.

Conclusion: if you’re seeking good sex, definitely go to New Orleans. Just not during Mardi Gras.