Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, New York

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You know, you’re naked and you’re doing stuff. Weird things will happen. 

Jesse, 35

Are there any sexual trends or practices that you’d like to see abolished from our culture?
[laughs] Sexual trends? …Oh god. I mean, I’ve noticed a lot more people are into fisting, than they used to be [laughs], and I don’t really get it so much. I think it’s a little abstract for my thinking. Um, I’d rather just stick my dick in someone than stick my hand in them. 

What’s your orientation?
Gay. 

Have you ever been attracted to a woman?
No. Actually not, no. 

So, fisting is something you’d like to get rid off.
[laughs]

What should everyone try at least once?
Public sex? 

What are some of the best venues?
Starbucks bathrooms are always good.

They have long lines, though.
Well, you know, that’s why, probably [laughs] Um…you know, a secluded park, maybe a beach, whatever. 

You’ve personally had sex in a Starbucks bathroom?
Yes, I have. I mean, the door locks, so it’s sort of all about — I mean, part of the fun is the potential of getting caught and that’s sort of the thrill of it. That tends to make it over with quicker, too. 

Tell me about your most humiliating sexual experience.
The most humiliating sexual experience. [laughs] Alright, so — This is kind of horrible — I was having sex in a video store on 8th Avenue and the guy hadn’t really cleaned out too well and I got some stuff on my trousers [laughs]. So then I had to go home with my bag covering my front side, because it didn’t really look good [laughs].

What happened, exactly?
Well, I was fucking him, and I guess I had some—santorum is the term—like, all over my pants that I had on [laugh]. Sort of, in a way it was more awkward. I don’t really get humiliated with sex too much. You know, you’re naked and you’re doing stuff. Weird things will happen. 

How about your most gratifying sexual experience?
I guess, if you’re really in love with someone. My last boyfriend, I had really great sex with, just because we were really connected, and despite all of our outside-of-sex differences, we just always had really great sex. 

How can someone enjoy the freedom of being single, without spreading him or herself too thin?
I think if you’re honest. If you’re just looking to hook up with someone and you’re clear about it, then you can sort of enjoy that aspect of it without sort of leading anyone on. Just sort of limit expectations, because if you go into a situation thinking of a dating structure, or thinking this could be a boyfriend or a girlfriend or whatever, I think you’re going to be disappointed. You’re sort of tying in unnecessary emotional baggage. 

What’s the maximum number of guys you’ve seen at one time?
Like, simultaneously? Well — Okay, so this is the thing — I have, in the past, hooked up with a few people and sort of been dating several people, and I don’t know — in the gay world, it’s a little different and more flexible than that. So I’m not sure if I can quantify that. I have people who I have sex with regularly, but I wouldn’t say that I’m sleeping with them, and it’s not like a thing where anyone cares, so. [laughs]

What do guys often get wrong about you?
I don’t know, I think that the tattoos and stuff tend to give people an idea that like, um, I might be more hardcore than I am? I’m not sure. Peoples’ first impressions of everyone are usually wrong, so I don’t really take it too personally if someone thinks that because I look like an ex-convict, that I am an ex-convict [laughs].

Gina, 33

So, you and your boyfriend were just sharing online dating stories. In your experience, how do they usually turn out?                                        
Um, I’d say they’re more experiences than dates, or things that lead to important things. I think the two guys I met and went on dates with and hung out with from OK Cupid turned into acquaintances. We actually did have mutual friends, so that made it not so strange. And he was telling me some stories. He met this girl, and she was doing coke in the bar and then she was like, “Okay. Do you want to go to another bar?” and he was like, “I …kind of just wanted to see where the disaster was going to go,” and they got in her car and she had a breathalyzer to start the car and he was just like, “Oh my god, what did I get myself into?”  

It’s scary, but then you think, well, so many other people do it. And the city is so full of people. You go from work to home to the elevator and then your apartment  and you order food and you never encounter anybody. I guess I’ll give it a shot — It can’t be worse than meeting someone in real life.   

What do guys often get wrong about you?
I look a certain way, so people naturally assume certain things. I have tattoos and crazy hair and piercings, but I just go home and order Seamless — the food website — because I don’t want to talk to delivery people. I work in retail, so the last thing I want to do is talk to someone when I get home. 

I think people think I have this crazy background or really bad upbringing, or ‘rough life’ or something. You know, I’m from Staten Island and I have two parents, and I went to school and college and I’m trained in ballet and lady-like. You know, like I’m not — I might have a certain exterior, but underneath I’m a nice girl.

What do guys rarely have the chance to see?
I feel like — I have a really good guy friend and we always go on really fancy dinner dates because he likes to eat at really nice restaurants. I feel like so many guys that I date are like regular guys who don’t like to get dressed up really nice and do something and —I don’t go out drinking and stuff, but you know a date, sitting across from one another. I really treasure that. That’s something in a relationship that’s really important. That one-on-one special time. 

I feel like so many guys who I’ve dated in the past were like, “Oh I don’t know, let’s go to a bar”. They didn’t ask me to go out and do romantic things with them, and it’s like, You missed me. You missed getting to have me like that. I’m a good girlfriend. I’m thoughtful. I’m in Port Authority trying to buy flowers for my boyfriend’s mom’s birthday that’s tomorrow. And he didn’t have the time, and I’m buying flowers for him. And I’m going to have dinner ready for him. You know, when you’re good to me and you treat me in a way that makes me feel happy, you’ll get so much more from me.

How did you meet your boyfriend?
We have mutual friends. I knew he was around and I knew he was cute, and I sort of put my feelers out and got his number. About a few weeks later, I had to put my dog to sleep, and he was there through everything. I found out she was sick, and this guy who I had only been seeing for a couple of weeks — he came with me to the hospital, took care of me afterwards. He did everything right, and he wound up moving in two months later.  It was that, that gave me the feeling, This might be okay.  It was a little fast, this is New York and both of our leases were up and we were like, “What should we do?” and I felt really confident about it and he did, too. 

Tell me about your most awkward sexual experience.
I went out with this man who worked for the U.N. He was a proper adult man, and we had a really great time and we went back to my apartment and I was like, this is wrong. All of this is wrong. He is not my type. He was cute and had a really nice body, but he was just so nice. There was like, nothing wrong with him. I was like, “What do you do?” and he was like, “I work for the U.N, I travel, and I’m an ambassador for the U.N and these countries, trying to get them help.” And I’m like, you’re Mother-fucking Theresa! Jesus Christ. So we were sleeping together and I just felt really weird about it, and I kind of just slept with him to get it over with and it would just be done for the both of us. 

A couple of weeks later, he was like, “Hey, you want to hang out again?” and I was like, “No, I think I’m actually okay.” Then a couple of weeks after that, he was like, “would you mind sending me some photos?” I’m like, “what?”  He’s like, “you know, sexy pictures.” We haven’t hung out for weeks, and I already told you I didn’t want to hang out again, and now you’re asking me for nudes? I don’t even understand. Having sex with you was really weird and this is really weird.

Are there any sexual trends or practices that you’d like to see abolished from our culture?
I think the whole girls making out in bars for show needs to stop. 

Alec, 22

Are there any sexual trends or practices that you’d like to see abolished from our culture?
I don’t know. I mean, aside from some really weird stuff — there are some people who are into bestiality and stuff like that — But other than that, I don’t think there’s really anything that’s too taboo. Everyone has their own kinks and their own fetishes. As long as it’s not harming anyone, you know?  As long as no one’s getting hurt.

What should everyone try at least once?
That’s a good one. This is the first time I’ve thought about that [laughs].  Uh well, I’m going to get right to it, I guess. Anal. I think you should give it a shot. You never know. 

What was one of your most awkward sexual experiences?
I went on a date with a girl I met online, on a dating website. We went back to her place, and she was really into it but I wasn’t really so much into it. And for whatever reason, the Muppet Movie was on, and she kind of gets on top of me, she’s straddling me, she’s taking my pants off, but nothing’s really going on down there because I’m not that into it. And as she’s kissing me, I hear a line from the Muppet movie and I start cracking up while she’s doing this. She’s like, “What’s your problem?” and I’m like, “I think I should go.” Yeah, that was kind of my most awkward experience [laughs].

Which line was it? Do you remember?
I think it was the song, “Am I a Muppet Or A Man?” with Jason Segel. Jason Segel sings it with the muppets. So that started playing and I just lost it.

What are some traits that you were drawn to years ago, but now try to avoid?
I was—in high school, I was really into video games and stuff, so I needed girls — I was like, “She needs to play video games! She needs to be into comic books!” and all that stuff [laughs]. And as I got older, I’ve kind of realized that the people I’ve met — the girls who I’ve dated and liked, didn’t necessarily share my interests.

Did you ever meet someone who made you question everything you thought you knew?
Yes. My ex. My most recent ex. You know, I had been in relationships before, and the ‘I love you’s kind of fly around and stuff like that. But a lot of those exes — at the end of the day, after we had broken up, I would be like, “Alright. You know what? It wasn’t that big of a deal.” But this most recent one was just a game-changer. I was like, “Wow, holy shit. I can’t believe how I feel about this person. Like, this is crazy.” And I’ve never felt this way about anybody. She really changed the way I looked at everything, because I suddenly found myself doing things to improve myself, for her. The people who I do that for are family and friends. I can’t think of a lot of girlfriends that I really went out of my way for, like that. So she definitely changed the game a little bit.  

What changes did you make?
Well, the working out was part of it. I wasn’t fat [laughs], but you know, I had some weight on me. So you know, for her, I was just like, “I want to give her this great looking boyfriend. I started working harder — I got a new job that paid a lot more, because I wanted to take her out to some nice places, stuff like that. I was like, Alec, you need to improve everything, you know [laughs]?  You need to stop fucking around. This is it!.  The weight thing, I knew she didn’t really care about it, but I felt self conscious about it. I decided I was going to do it, and I felt like it would improve the relationship.

When did you break up?
A month ago [laughs].

Oh. So this is very recent. How long were you together?
The relationship was four years, on and off. It was a four year back and forth kind of thing. I loved the girl, I still love the girl, but it was a mess. Even though she made me feel great, it was just a mess.  She’s older than me, also. She’s twenty-five, so I found it was just her doing her own thing and me doing my own thing. This last time was the longest that it lasted—we were together together for, I want to say, nearly a year. I actually thought it was going to be serious that time. 

I’m thinking you’re not over it yet. How have you been coping?
I’ve just been going out and hanging out with my friends. You know, working. Just trying to do anything to get my mind off of it. Because of the nature of it, that it was so on and off, I’ve become really good at just kind of putting it behind me. Because it’s happened before, so it’s like, “Alright, you’ve been here before. Whatever. We’ve done this already.” I won’t say I’m over it, but I’m definitely a lot better than I was a month ago. That’s all it is, just hanging out and a good share of alcohol, definitely [smiles].