Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Ana, 24

Are you from around here?
No, I'm from Georgia.

How is dating different here?
In Georgia, the women operate under the illusion that they're supposed to be mothers and the boys act like babies. In New York, the boys still act like babies, but the women just want to get fucked. Here they act like sluts. The truth is somewhere in between.

What's the hottest thing someone's done for you?
Carry my shit. When they didn't need to, when they didn't think they were getting laid. If you have a bunch of bags and you're walking down the street, guys will cat-call you and hoot and holler and get mad when you don't react. Those guys won't carry shit.

If your partner wanted you to do something kinky, what's the kinkiest you could go in the name of love?
I plead the fifth. [A guy wanted to do golden showers] and I had to do research to make sure it was hygienic, and I thought about it. It's perfectly healthy, I just decided it wasn't for me. It was a male-dominance thing. And I thought about it, and it was like, this would not make me want to have sex later. Being kinky is great, but it wasn't a kink that we shared.

Do you have a deal breaker?
Yeah, if he wants to fuck other girls. Or other guys. If he wants to fuck anyone else. You want to fuck three ways to hell, that's great, I'm down to fuck three ways to hell, but we're gonna be monogamous. I've got a great pussy, it is what it is.

What about a threesome? Have you ever tried it?
No, because I used to date girls for a little while, and I think I would be distracted. There's equal but different attractions to both. So I don't really want to be a part of it, I feel like I would be subservient to the emotional needs of both parties, and I didn't want to be in that position.

Do you still date women?
No. It was way complicated.

Do you think guys are simpler?
I'm more attracted to men. I am into men, I like penis.

Alex, 27

What do you like about girls?
I would consider myself more of an ass man. Boobs are good, but I think it's all about ass, really. But I've dated a lot of girls and it's not about the looks or the body type, it's more just about the connection or the attitude. I don't consider sex or being sexual as displaying your goods. I think it's more about the connection, how you think, and how you feel about the other person.

Is there something in the opposite sex that gets you every time?
Short hair. I don't know why.

Are you from around here?
No, the Ukraine.

How is dating different in the Ukraine?
In my experience, Russians are very materialistic. The intellect or the artistic side is not really valued. That's just my opinion, I do know a lot of Russian girls who were very cool and artistic, but in my dating experience, it was very materialistic and all about marriage and kids and what's gonna happen next and how much money are you going to spend on me. Here, it's more open to what you want to do. If you're a broke artist, you can still get a girl. If you connect with some person and they're cool with it, it's cool. For a lot of American girls, it's about the attitude.

Is there any dating move you could pull in the Ukraine that wouldn't fly here, or vice versa?
Honestly, if I go back to Ukraine right now, I would get so much ass. Because: "United States." It's weird, it's the money. Right now, I haven't been back in five years.

So you say "United States" and it means money?
Yeah. But I don't have money. "United States" means stability and money and glamour and culture. In high school there I was an average guy, but if I went back now, I would be like, "Oh yeah, I live in New York." And girls would just be like, "Oh really, you live in New York…"

How many countries have you had sex in?
Masturbation doesn't count?

It will count if you masturbated —
On somebody? I guess I would say just two countries. Ukraine and U.S. I did masturbate on a plane recently.

Did you get off on the plane?
Yeah, but just by myself. In the bathroom. It was just a boring flight, so I was like, fuck it.

It must have been a long flight.
No, it wasn't that long.


Bauer, 21

How would you characterize dating in New York?
I get picked up by a lot of really older men. I should be too young for them.

Like how old?
I would say thirty-five. And I'm twenty-one. The last time I got picked up, I was in Lowe's looking for spray paint. He said, "Hey, do you know where the spray paint for glass is?" And I said no and helped him look for it. And then he caught up with me outside. It was weird.

What do you think makes a good kiss versus a bad kiss?
Sometimes people just go all in. Chill out. Relax. I'm still gonna be here, it's not a race. Don't eat my face. I want to have my face intact after this.

Has anyone ever done anything to offend you in the bedroom?
Once someone said they were doing me a favor by wearing a condom. Fuck you, don't even try that. I will drop you like a hat. NO BABIES. Don't make it seem like you're doing me a favor.

Where's the most interesting place you've ever had sex?
The most interesting place I've ever had sex was Morocco. I was on spring break. It was a Moroccan man. I also ended up thinking I was completely in love with him.

Vincent, 21

What do you like about girls?
I like a good sense of humor, someone smart, a conversationalist.

How would you characterize the dating scene in New York?
It's different. You've really got to chisel to make an impression. There's only so many coffee bars you can go to.

Has someone ever offended you in the bedroom?
No, I think I've probably offended. I have a really horrible tendency, after I have a good time, to say, "I feel like I should pay you." I always mean, "That was great," but it always comes out like, "You're a prostitute." It's not my intention obviously.

What's a deal breaker for you?
The last date I went on, we got onto the topic of music, and like many other people in the city, I've kind of based my life around music. It's a career, it's a big hobby. And this girl only dug on top-forty tunes and was completely tone deaf. So I was able to look past that enough for a couple months, but it slowly ate at me.

Do you think you stopped seeing her because of the music thing?
It was a big factor. I hate to sound so trite about it, but we couldn't relate. It just didn't work.

What's the kinkiest thing you could do for love?
It depends. I couldn't do bondage or have her do a strap on. I can't. I'm fairly conservative. I think of myself as adventurous but to a degree.

What's something you would do?
Sex in a fairly public place. It was 11:30 on a Sunday morning — I remember because I was going to church after. And we saw each other and it was just too much. And there was a public bathroom there, so we went into the handicapped stall and had to contest with a father and his potty-training son in the stall next to us.

How was church after?



Do you have a boyfriend?
Yes. We used to work together at a restaurant. He was a cook, and I was a waitress. We used to make out at the walk-in fridge all the time.

Was it make-out only?
Unfortunately. He's not one for adventurous sex. I am — a little bit.

What's the most adventurous sex you've ever had?
It's not usually sex. It's usually, you know, a little "sucky-sucky" here and there.

Then what's the most adventurous "sucky-sucky" you've ever had?
Maybe my parents' house. I've got to say, it takes guts to fuck in your parents' house! It's not the hottest place. And we just went to Philadelphia and were in this arboretum garden and did a little quick something-something in the corner. That was nice.

What's an irresistably hot thing about a guy?
They had a goatee. You know, honestly, the "hot" in the movies and the "hot" in reality are two different things. Somebody that listens, that's there for you, that's hot.

Have you ever been offended in the bedroom?
[laughs] I was dating this one guy in California and we were in the middle of… you know, getting it on, and he was like, "Are you gonna have my kids?" That is not hot!


Lewiston, 29

What do you like about women?
I enjoy women that are a total package. It's a cliched sort of thing, but along the lines of someone who is intelligent, has a sense of humor, is beautiful, is sexual. Basically, something that you don't ordinarily find. To be perfectly candid with you, I was just in a five-year relationship where I was engaged to be married and it didn't work out. She wasn't necessarily faithful.

How did you find out?
Here's a tip for all the ladies out there: when your significant other sets up any sort of account for you, don't use said account to further the transgressions. Then I jumped into another long-term relationship that coincidentally just ended on Saturday.

Sheesh. How are you doing?
As good as one can be.

What would you say is the hottest thing someone has done for you?
Just reciprocate my feelings, because that opens up every single part of the relationship. I could say that the sex I had on Saturday, in my laundry room, over the washer and dryer. That's hot.

Do you have any crazy sex stories?
Well, one time when I was younger, I ended up at this hotel with a woman, and we're about to have sex. But I don't have a condom. So being the young resourceful kid I am, I go and… now what does every hotel room have? A shower cap and body lotion!

Oh my God, what did that feel like?
It's not so much what it felt like. More what it sounded like.

Has anyone ever done anything to offend you in the bedroom?
One of the reasons the relationship ended and was not able to be salvaged was that, despite my overtures, she refused for three months…

Refused sex?
It's bad when you've got to beg for a hand job. You know you've hit rock bottom.

Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.