Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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"She would flirt with other people, but I didn't want to see it because I loved her…"

Joanna, 33

What's your name and what do you do?
My name is Joanna and I worked in commercial real estate.

Has that ever gotten you laid?
I do get laid, but not because of my job. Guys have asked me out because of my work, but I haven't slept with someone because of work. I could have, but I didn't.

What was the circumstance where you could have?
I usually don't show space, but the few times I have, I've been asked out. I was tempted, but I couldn't do it because it would have been bad for my career. Although, one time I was showing a place and the broker on the deal was someone I had almost had sex with a few years prior. So we looked at each other and I was like, "You look familiar," and he was like, "You look familiar." But I had a boyfriend, and it would have been cheating.

When's the last time you got laid?
I'm in a long-distance relationship, so I got laid last weekend.

How long have you guys been long-distance?
About two years. She lives in Missouri.

How did that come to be?
Well, I was with my boyfriend for seven-and-a-half years, and then we broke up, and now I'm with a woman who moves around a lot.

Was she in New York when it started?
Yeah, for a few months.

You must have really liked to her to continue for two years. Are you in love with her?

Why did you start dating a woman?
I always dated men, but there was just something about her. Sex with a woman is very different — very passionate and emotional and hot. We have amazing chemistry.

So you've always dated men, but now you're dating a woman. How do you identify, sexually?
It was hard when the relationship first started because everyone was like, "Oh, are you a lesbian?" But I really think it's about the person. Obviously I'm bisexual because I'm having sex with a woman and I was open to that. I probably look at guys more on the street, but yes, I'm bisexual. It's the best sex I've had, but I don't know if that's because it's sex with a woman or because it's her.

You've never kissed another girl?
I've kissed girls, but I've never gone further. Girls are always kissing me! I'll be mid-sentence and they'll start kissing me. But this girl was different.

How did you meet?
We went to college together but we weren't friends, and then we started hanging out way later.

Do you ever miss having sex with a man?
No. I don't miss it. I think about it sometimes, but I don't miss it.

Was she a lesbian?
No, we were both each other's first.

That's adorable.
It's really about the person.


James, 32

What do you do?
I'm currently unemployed, but I used to work at a hotel. I quit my job to go hike for a few months and this is my first night back in NYC. I was a doorman in Tribeca.

Did that get you laid?
Yes, it did. Nothing fun or crazy, no guests asking me back to their room. There was a waitress who worked at the hotel's restaurant though, and another girl who worked at the hotel too.

Oh, so you like dipping your pen in the company ink?
Not really. I had a girlfriend for most of the time I was working there, and then we broke up and I went out with a couple of girls.

Why did you break up?
She broke up with me. It was kind of a fucked-up breakup. We'd been together on and off since 2005. We lived together for a year and a half. And then she cheated on me, and we broke up when I found out about it. It was obvious, but she kept lying as the whole thing progressed and it went on for a while.

Would you say you're a little bruised and battered?
It changed my life completely. I realized that I shouldn't have trusted her before. There were things about her that were obviously not trustworthy to begin with. Like, she wasn't very present with me when we went out. She would flirt with other people, but I didn't want to see it because I loved her and I wanted to be with her. She was sort of a loose-cannon kind of chick.

People say sleeping with crazy chicks is the best sex of your life. True or false?
The sex was amazing. But I've had sex with girlfriends who weren't as crazy and the sex was good then too. Just different.

How was it different?
I had a girlfriend for two years and we didn't cheat on each other. It was sex that developed over time and felt very bonding. I think that sex was just as good, if not better, than the crazy-chick sex.

So, you're a hiker. Have you ever had sex in the woods?
No, I haven't.

Why not?
I haven't met any girls out on the Appalachian trails.

You have to bring them there!
Would you go out into the Appalachians with some guy?

No, because I don't like the country. Is that a dealbreaker? Do you only like outdoorsy girls?
I'm not an outdoorsy person myself. I'm from New York, I've never done anything like that before. I did it mostly to get over the relationship. I needed a big project to take my mind off of things.

Did you go by yourself and listen to a lot of Bon Iver and cry?
No, I —

Dave Matthews Band?
No, it was my first —

Jack Johnson?

How long were you gone?
Two months.

Did you masturbate?
I did masturbate.


Nigel, 28

What do you do?
I run an internet start-up company.

Has that ever gotten you laid?
No, but my side job has. I'm a DJ. Actually, to tell a really great story about getting laid, I'm going to retreat back to another time. DJing has gotten me laid, but it's not really that entertaining. But before that, I was an editor and one of my writers was a sex columnist.

Kind of like us!
Yup. And we went out for drinks and she came home with me and everything was all good, then we started hooking up and she screamed at the top of her lungs, "Fuck me, editor!" 

Did that turn you on?
Well, at first it scared me, because it made the situation take a whole other tone, but then after a little while, I was ready to roll. It made me feel okay!

Did you have a lot of expectations about how this girl, the sex columnist, would be in bed? Did she live up to them?
Actually, I went into it thinking that she was writing about it so much because she was overcompensating for something, but I was pleasantly surprised. She was pretty good and everything worked out.

What do you think about sleeping with co-workers? 
Um, I did it again, later on in my life, and it was a very bad experience, so I'll never do it again now. We were just not on the same page. I came into work acting like nothing happened, and that wasn't what she was thinking, and it led to a little bit of hysteria.

Was this after the first time you slept together?
No, it was probably after the third time.

How do you get laid as a DJ?
Unfortunately, it's pretty much an equation. Girl comes up to you, goes, "Hey, can I hear that song?" and you say yes, and then you start talking and it usually works out. It's kind of like, you just know what you're getting yourself into. But nothing that wild happens, because it's so predictable. 

Based on the song someone requests, can you judge how they'll be in bed?
I don't know about the song, but how a person dances is definitely important to me. If they're dancing a certain way, I can definitely tell how they'll be in bed. 

What's the song, that if the hottest girl in the world requested, you would absolutely refuse to sleep with her?
My dealbreaker song is definitely "Don't Stop Believin'." If you asked me for that, I'd probably be like, "Okay, sure," and never play it. It's so fucking boring. And also it's like, really, you haven't heard that song before?

What kind of music do you listen to when you fuck?
Sebastien Tellier or Steve Winwood. 

If I tell you I don't know either of those people, can we still have sex later?
Well, the Sebastien Tellier, I can understand. The Steve Winwood thing bothers me — I won't lie.

Charles, 26 

What do you do?
I manage a wine and spirits shop.

Has that ever gotten you laid?
No, not yet, actually.

Really? You never gotten a chick who's all "I just want a bottle of wine for a lonely Sunday night?"
I mean, I get those chicks. But I don't get those chicks. 

Have you ever tried to sleep with a customer?
All the time! It rarely goes well. It seems that people believe in a division between their local spots and personal life — I mean, would you want to sleep with your cashier at the supermarket and watch him bag your groceries for the next few months or years?

What's the line you use on customers?
I don't have a line per se, but it always helps to inquire under what circumstances they'll be consuming what they've purchased. Like, "Oh so, what? You're gonna go home and like… cook dinner? For you and your boyfriend?" and if she says, "No, I'm just going to go home and drink a bottle of wine," you're like, zing! Opportunity's knocking!

When was the last time you got laid?
Um, about two weeks ago. I actually met a girl at this very bar. I had met her here two nights prior and she came up to me and was like, "Hey! I know you!" and I was like yes, yes you do. The sex was decent, but it was kind of torturous because I had to be up at seven a.m. to go to work and I didn't get to bed 'til five.

So were you giving it half-effort because you had to be up soon?
Oh, no, no. I gave it all my effort. She got off; I didn't. 

What a gentleman!
Condoms just kill me. They suck the sex drive right out of me. 

How do you deal with that?
Um, by having sex without condoms. No, I'm kidding. There's no real way to deal with it. I'm a gentleman. I noticed the first condom broke and I told her. I was like, "Wait a minute. This feels too good!"

When was the last time you were in a relationship?
The last time I was in a relationship, it was about two years ago, and I cut it off because she was fooling around behind my back. She went away for a weekend with one of her best friends to Chicago. But then some guy called me and was like, "I think I found your girlfriend's phone." He'd found it in a taxi after getting off a plane at Chicago O'Hare. He was like, "I'm going to tell you something you probably won't like. There are some text messages here. Dude, I'm in a relationship and you probably don't want to hear what's in these text messages."

Wow. That's dude-code. 
I don't know this guy and I've never spoken to him since. But he said, "I think your girlfriend might be cheating on you," and I told him to forward me all the text messages, and he did. And I confronted her upon her return. 

Do you wish you'd never known?
Ah… fifty-fifty. Because I actually had a good relationship with this girl. And maybe I was preemptive in cutting it off so quickly. Maybe I should have given her the benefit of the doubt. 

Do you think cheating is a dealbreaker?
It depends on the nature of the relationship. Mine was a serious relationship. Emotions were attached. The future was discussed, like, "Oh, let's move out of the city together."

What did she do when you confronted her?
She cried a lot. Begged for my forgiveness. I told her I needed some time. Then I came around and I was ready to talk to her and she didn't want to hear it. And I was like, really? Who do you think you are?

Maybe it's a good thing you got out early. 
You know, I don't know if I would have been adverse to giving it another shot. 

This is making me sad. Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
A low-lying rooftop in lower Manhattan, so many other buildings had good… scenic views. No really extravagant places, like the New York City subway. 

What's the most extravagant subway line to have sex on?
I've never actually thought about it. Probably at the end of the line, in a good, wholesome neighborhood. I'm going have to say Coney Island/Stillwell.

What do you look for in a woman you're going to date seriously?
Interests are really the most important. I was seeing this girl who was a vegan. She was a great influence on me, because I was drinking all these raw juices and eating all these healthy meals. But I love food so much, and pork, and meat. And that was a dealbreaker. If you can't eat something made with chicken stock, where the hell am I going to take you? It's bacon. Bacon is a deal-breaker! No bacon? No love!


Velma, 21

What do you do?
I'm a sales associate. 

Has that ever gotten you laid?
No, because it's a children's store. So it's a bunch of daddies. 

I work with a lot of hot dads and I flirt with them. You don't?
Oh, I flirt with them. But I don't get laid by them. That's very different. 

Are you in a relationship?
For the last seven months, I've been single. 

Are you getting laid often?
Not really. The last time I got laid was… seven months ago. Jerry Seinfeld would describe it as a "back-slide," as in, hooking up with an ex. 

What's your stance on hooking up with exes? Sometimes it gets messy, no?
I'm totally fine with it. I find that it gets messy when feelings are involved, but that's mostly on the guy's side. I think when women do it, we kind of know it's a mistake and we know what to expect. Guys don't. 

Why'd you break up with your last boyfriend?
It was pretty mutual. The flame just kind of died out. We were together for about two years. 

Was this the ex you "back-slid" with?
No, the backslider was my ex-boyfriend from high school.

So, you had sex with this guy when you were in high school, and then you had sex with him about seven months ago. How did it compare?
It was pretty much status-quo. 

Wait, how old were you when you had sex in high school?

Why hasn't he learned anything between then and now?
I don't know!

Did he go down on you?

Wait, how old is he and he's not going down on you?
He's twenty-two. This is hilarious. I think I might regret this in the morning. 

Are you looking for a serious relationship right now or just some sexy time?
Somewhere in between. I just want someone who's chill. Someone I can hang out with who won't annoy me. Occasional sex would be great too. 


Ian, 28

What do you do?
I'm a cook. 

What the fuck is happening on your knee right now?
It's a heart tattoo that says two times two is five. And over there is where I was giving myself a tattoo, but the tattoo gun broke, so I didn't get to finish it. Now it's just a blob. Then there's where I was giving myself a tattoo again, but I fucked up, so I turned it into a black square. 

Right, anyway, you're a chef. That gets you laid, right?
No. Well, maybe. Maybe that was the allure. I usually only cook after I've gotten laid. 

You've never fucked a waitress?
No, no. I've given it a go. I get shot down a lot though. 

Why do you get shot down?
I don't know! I think I'm pretty great. Apparently, other people don't. 

When was the last time you were in a relationship?
A year and a half ago. She was cheating on me and then she dumped me. 

So many cheaters tonight! If she really apologized, could you take her back?
That girl, no. She wasn't enough fun. She was a weirdo. She was agoraphobic, so going outside was a big deal. So her, no. But other girls who've cheated on me, maybe. It's a case-by-case basis. 

Wait. How many times have you been cheated on?
I've had three real relationships and they've all cheated on me.  

If your last girlfriend was agoraphobic, how did she manage to cheat on you?
She was also a raging alcoholic. So she'd sit around and drink like a bottle and a half of wine until she felt drunk enough to venture out. And meet some new people to have sex with!

So you don't think getting cheated on this many times has anything to do with your sexual prowess?
It's entirely possible. But I don't know. I can't say.

When was the last time you got laid?
Um, it's been awhile. Long enough that I really have to consider it. Eight months?

How do you get through that kind of slump?
I masturbate one to eight times a day. What do you mean? Doesn't everyone? Even when I have a girlfriend I masturbate one to eight times a day. It's healthy and fun.

Did you ever had a girlfriend who got pissed because she thought you were masturbating too much?
It's not like she's sitting next to me and I start wanking. I wait until she leaves.

Do you have your eye on a coworker right now?
Of course, I work with tons of pretty waitresses. I have my eye on all of them. 

What are your moves to pick up ladies?
I don't! I'm pathetic! I just told you, I haven't had a girlfriend in two years. I haven't had sex in eight fucking months. 

Come on. Not one move? Even if they don't work, everyone's got some. 
My moves are pathetic. Basically, I'm just a weird guy, so my moves are to tell girls all about my weird ideas. Like the five-day week. We should have a five-day week. Calendars are a bullshit, made-up thing. We have a five-day week; we work three days a week. We get rid of Tuesday and Thursday. Those are stupid days anyway. Nobody needs them. You end up with 73 weeks a year —

Wow, you've thought about this.
You wind up with forty more days off a year. It'll never work, but I think it's brilliant. Also, with 365 days per year, that's divisible by five, so you only need one calendar for the rest of your life. And then someone always goes: "Oh, but what about leap years?" We're doing leap years all wrong! We have them on February 29th. You made February longer? Thanks a fucking lot. February is bullshit, everyone hates it. So basically, what you just heard is me spitting my game. Is it a wonder I'm not getting laid?

I want to put your email address up with this, because I think you should be getting laid regularly. 
Feel free, go ahead. I don't mind. Someone should fuck me!

Interviews and photography by Lina Canney and Libby Rumelt. Want to talk to strangers in your town? Email