Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Amelia, 22

What do you do?
I'm a freelance prop master. In any play, I provide whatever the actor sits on, stands on, touches or refers to that is a physical object.

I hear the theater world can be pretty incestuous. True or false?
In a sense, I think, it's because it's so small. The current man I'm seeing went to school with both of my ex-boyfriends, and worked in the same summer-stock program as my second ex-boyfriend. My second ex-boyfriend and I both moved to, and now work in, the same town.

What kind of challenges do you face when everyone knows who you're sleeping with?
Fortunately, very few. A., because I only sleep with people I'm very committed to and B., because those people tend to have very good reputations.

Why do you only sleep with people you're committed to?
Because I view it as giving the whole of yourself to somebody else. And I won't trust somebody with that unless they've proven that they can be trusted.

That's really rare for people your age.
I've definitely had my indiscretions, but for the most part, I'm pretty good.

Did something happen to make you choose this path of committed sex?
No, no. The first time I ever slept with somebody it was someone I had known for five years and sort of waited to date, until he and I were both ready — meaning that I was old enough to date him. He was older. My parents are very conservative; that helps too. I've been raised to think it's not something you give freely unless you can trust them.

Have you ever slept with someone considerably younger than you?
No, I've actually never even dated someone my age, always older. The oldest was eleven years and the closest in age was two years.

Is sex with older guys better?
I didn't actually sleep with the person who was eleven years older than me. My first boyfriend, who was five years older, was definitely the best sex I've ever had. But I don't know that that's related to age; honestly, I can't see them being connected. I think it's a matter of style. Bedroom style!



Jarad, 35

What do you do?
I handle snakes at a children's museum and play the organ. I'm a herpetologist. Snakes, lizards, starfish, sea urchins.

Has that ever gotten you laid?
Maybe once or twice.

Girls really dig that in a guy.

Knows how to handle a snake check. I want to hear that story.
There was this one time… no, actually, snakes have never gotten me laid. But being a musician has the capacity to. I've gotten laid many times being a musician.

Give us your best story.
I'll tell you about the one I turned down. This is the best story of my life, because I was eighteen and that's the time when you're supposed to do this kind of shit, but I didn't! My friend Mike was staying at my house. His girlfriend, Lorraine, who was smoking hot and her friend, Erin, who was smoking hot, both came to my gig, saw me play, and said, "Let's get a hotel room right now."

Wait. You got offered a threesome when you were eighteen years old and said no?
I said no. This guy, Mike, was living in my house! What if he'd found out? Nah, I just couldn't do it.

Have you had a threesome since?
Yes. I've gotten up to a foursome.

Please explain the choreography of a foursome.
It was basically just a double-couple situation. It wasn't a giant train or anything like that. My wife and I just switched partners.

Did you sneak a peek at the other guy's dick?
No. It just didn't come up. It wasn't really visible. It was mostly inserted into something.

So you're keeping your marriage saucy?
It's great. The sex is great. We've got two kids, so we try to keep the sex quiet for the kids. We have amazing silent sex — it may actually be better than normal sex, because you're containing all this energy. It's almost tantric. We also try to keep the saucier things rare, so that they're still special.

So you keep it straight missionary most of the time?
No, no. Normal for us is her on top, with our legs intertwined a little bit, so she's almost pointing sideways. The old crucifix action. That's one of our favorites. It gives you ample opportunity for the ol' reach-around. You know, a few fingers in some places.



Jessica, 55

What do you do?
I own a restaurant.

Has that ever gotten you laid?
Yes, it has. There are several areas of the restaurant I've had sex in. There are some larger tables and carpeted steps.

Wait, carpet? Didn't that hurt?
No, it was very soft carpet, made for children. Thankfully, there were no children present at the time.

So you haven't sustained any sex injuries in the restaurant?
There was one cook who I had sex with, and we were just having a hard time. There was insufficient erection and insufficient lubrication going on, and yet it went on forever. We were both trying to make it work, but it was so not working. And we were on astro-turf.

Why were you trying so hard to make it work?
We just wanted it to happen. And you know guys — they just will not give up sometimes! No matter how clear it is that it isn't working, they just hold onto the idea like a tick on a dog.

Tell me about one of the craziest sex stories you have.
My husband and I were courting each other. There was no private place for us to go, he was sort of… still married, and I was dating a fireman named Blaise. Anyway, our romance was getting hotter and heavier, but we didn't have any place to go. So anyway, we're back in the restaurant kitchen, and we thought, well, what about on top of the walk-in refrigerator? That was where we kept all of our paper goods, and there was a lovely bed of pizza boxes. The walk-in was about eight feet high and only accessible with a ladder, so everyone thought we were in the office doing work. Meanwhile, we're on top of this refrigerator that isn't enclosed! We can hear all of the kitchen guys talking and working!

So basically, it was a loft?
Yes. Let me tell you, it's hard to get off listening to Mexican guys cooking hamburgers five feet away.

Do you normally get off via intercourse?
I do, but it's not the easiest thing. It certainly takes some emotional and physical focus. There are times when you're in a long-term relationship where you summon up those hottest moments from the beginning, like fucking on top of a walk-in, whereas now you're just having a quickie in the morning with this guy you've suddenly been married to for ten years. You go through the mental Rolodex of those fantasies — not fantasies of David Hasselhoff, but fantasies of the earliest, hottest times with that same partner.


Sam, 25

Where are you from and what do you do?
Vermont. I'm an art handler. That entails some installing and deinstalling and crating and fabricating. I work for artists and rich people who support artists.

Have you met anyone through there that you've wanted to date or have sex with?
Romantically? Date or have sex with romantically? I mean, there are beautiful gallery tenants, but as long as I've been doing this job, I've had Carrie, my girlfriend.

Do you like playing the field?
No. I've been alone for long periods of time, and that's good. You get a lot done, you focus on yourself. And it's really good. I think being alone is fine. I'm in real relationships. I don't think I date or hookup.

Is sex not that important in your life?
It's a bit of a frustration. Growing up, I wanted sex to be less important, because sex was very ugly in the place that I grew up. As I got older I stuck to that, then wished it was more important. I was with partners who deserved to be yearned for sexually, yet sex was something I had put on hold.

Do you feel like if you're having a lot of sex, it gets in the way of accomplishing other things in your life?
It's been rare for me to have long relationships in my life. I've been able to produce more without a relationship. Turmoil and anguish are inspiring. But I hate the idea, that we can't be productive if we're in love. I've been with Carrie for a year and a half. People who've quit smoking have told me that for a year after quitting, they can't concentrate on their work. I guess being alone for me is like smoking, and a relationship is like quitting smoking. It may take a long time to learn how to produce work of my own while being with someone that I love. But it's healthy like quitting smoking is healthy. Cool, then, I'll have to go through a lack of productivity. I feel like, for sure, there can be nothing wrong with having someone in your life that you love and, eventually, I will find a way to create work while in a relationship.

What has made being in this relationship better than other ones?
She's really, really tolerant. Maybe I'm not the easiest person to be in a relationship with, but she's tolerant. What's special about my relationship with Carrie is that this is the first relationship I've had where I feel bad about myself, because compared to how good the other person is, I'm bad. And that has been good. The opposite doesn't really help you grow.



Carrie, 23

What's your name and what do you do?
I'm Carrie and I'm a prop master.

Right, because Amelia is your friend. How did you guys meet?
We met in school; we both went to North Carolina School of the Arts.

What's the dating scene like there?
It's difficult! It was a really small school, so it was a very small pool to choose from. I dated someone for a couple of years right away, so after we broke up, I found that it was a small pool. But there were a lot of guys who had a lot of things going for them — attractive, smart, good skills, stuff like that.

Good skills, huh? Does that mean they were good in bed?
As far as my experience went, yes, definitely. Attentive, energetic.

Why did you and your boyfriend break up?
Well, he was graduating. He was older than me. It made sense, he was moving on and I was staying put for that moment. Long distance wasn't going to work for us. We didn't even try.

Are you seeing someone now?
Yes. We actually met working for The Big Apple Circus. That was my first job out of college, being the props artisan. I'm now dating the guy who was the props master for The Big Apple Circus on tour.

What kind of advice can you give me for dating a co-worker?
Well, be careful. While you're working together, flirting can take over. Flirting is such a good distraction while you're at work. It's easy to confuse that fun with something serious. Luckily for me and my man, we actually connected and it went beyond frivolous fun at work.

Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
Well, let me just say in the circus, there's not a lot of privacy, and you basically always have a roommate. And when you're in a relationship, you just have to deal with that. So you're dealing with a very small space and with other people, who are hopefully asleep.



Ancelmo, 40

What do you do?
I work as an assistant to a publisher of a music magazine.

Have you ever slept with any interns?
No, but I probably could have. But they're much younger than me. There's definitely a bit of cuteness and flirtiness between us, but I decided a long time ago you can't sleep with people you work with.

That's been a theme tonight. Why do you think you can't sleep with people you work with?
I worked with a girl I lived with, and it wasn't fun. You're having an argument at home and you have to wait tables with her, that's not fun. And maybe I think she's flirting with customers. Not fun times.

Do you think that makeup sex can solve everything?
For a little bit. I mean, that's really good sex, but it depends on whether you really got to the issue. If you haven't really gotten to the issue, it won't last, but the sex will be really good.

Have you ever gotten in a fight intentionally just to have the makeup sex?
Probably. But only because I knew that that was who the girl I was with was. I had a girlfriend who would come home, late at night, from waiting tables, shitfaced, we'd get into a fight, and we would have, like, evil sex.

Does that mean anal sex?
Possibly. Hopefully.

Do you like anal sex better than other kinds of sex?
Not necessarily. I love it from watching porn. When I watch porn, I watch anal sex. Its different. Once, I had anal sex and it was really amazing. It was with someone I really loved. It was just pure and it was random and we just did it and it was beautiful. But in all my life I've probably only had it twice. So it's not like an everyday kind of thing.

What was not good about the second time?
Well, there was shit on my cock, but in porn movies, you're never going to see that happen.

Did you lose your boner?
I didn't. I realized it was a natural thing. I was calm. You have to be. It's a grown-up thing. It's real life. It's not a porn movie.

What's the craziest sex you've ever had?
The craziest sex I've ever had? I met a girl once in a bar downtown, in the East Village. I was young, probably twenty or twenty-one, and she wasn't the most beautiful women, but she was cute. I didn't realize it at the time, but she hadn't been with a man for ten years. She was a lesbian, we were playing pool and the Pixies were on.

What song?
Probably "Here Comes Your Man." And she was like, "If you sink this shot, I'll fucking sleep with you." And I was like, "Well, what happens if I don't sink this shot?" And she's like, "I'll sleep with you." And I was like, "This is going to be a tough shot." I took the shot, she took me home. We went to her place, she had a loft, and she gave me a hash truffle. It was fun, let me tell you.