Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.

Sally, 25

What do you do?
I'm a graduate student. I'm in the Applied Psychology department.

Has that ever gotten you laid before?
It's actually pretty unethical to sleep with the people you're trying to study, so I generally have to step out of the academy for that.

What about people you've met working there?
No. We'll have to go outside of my academic life to talk about my sexual prowess. 

Okay! Are you single or are you in a relationship?
I actually just got out of a three-year relationship with a queer partner. But it was over for a long time before it ended, so I already have a handsome suitor. My femme sister and I had planned a trip to Southern Decadence, which is the biggest gay pride event in the South. I'm from the South, so I always wanted to go. I find it a little hard to be gay in the South — it's much easier up here. I ended up meeting a very, very handsome man at Southern Dykeadence, the lesbian side of the event. We've been playing up the whole Southern-gent/Southern-lady vibe, so we say that we're "courting."

That is adorable. You have a gentleman caller!
I have a gentleman caller, or maybe a suitor.

Maybe he'll drink iced tea on the porch? Or a mint julep? 
I'm so in. I love bourbon. I'm actually going to visit him next weekend. 

How do you define queer?
I don't like the term bisexual, because it implies some kind of gender binary. I like men and I like women, but I tend to be into people who are in the middle of the spectrum — very butch women, generally, or very effeminate men. My last long-term relationship was with a transman and my current gentlemen caller is also a transman.

Tell us about sex with a transman.

But that's what people always want to talk about, and I find it hard to answer that question. When friends or family ask, I always say "Well, you wouldn't ask about what's between my sister's husband's legs, so why would you ask me?"

It's not really the mechanics I'm interested in. I'm more curious about how you felt when you were going into those relationships. Were you eager, or was it just something that happened? Was it something you became sexually interested in because you fell in love with the person, or was it a sexy thing to you to have sex with a transman? 
Okay, that's a good question, and you're cute, so I guess I'll keep going. I met my previous partner when we were studying abroad in Amsterdam together. We met on the plane and he's a nervous flyer and a nervous talker, so by the end of our eight-hour flight, I knew he was trans. And I felt like I had a huge friend crush on him. I had only dated bio-men up to that point, but I was like "Oh, I want to hang out with you and spend all my time with you and I don't want you to hang out with anyone else!" So it took me about a month to realize, "Okay, that's not a friend-crush." My dad still blames Amsterdam for making me gay.

But you were gay before you went to Amsterdam.
I know. But I didn't know it, even though I was like, "Sometimes I have sex with girls when I'm drunk… other girls make out with girls when they're drunk, but I sleep with them. No, I'm not gay!" 

Were there any emotional hang-ups about sleeping with your ex?
More on his side than on mine, since transmen are often especially eager to please women they perceive as straight. Also, it's very difficult to travel internationally with sex toys. You don't want to get pulled out of security and have someone lift your cock out of your bag. That's awkward.


Gavin, 37 

What do you do?
I work in music marketing. I'm also in the band Lightouts

Has that ever gotten you laid?
Well, yes, but I'm married. But I've been doing music all my life and it's definitely gotten me laid before. I've been in bands since high school.

So why do you think the ladies love musicians so much? 
I think it's just anything that's exhibitionistic, like playing sports. I think it's attractive to men and women. People are attracted to people who put themselves out there like that. 

How did you meet your partner?
I met her in grad school. We had a class together. She thought I was a total too-cool-for-school dude. It was a small class, so we were introducing ourselves and I'm sort of shy, so I spoke in a low voice. She thought I was some kind of egotistical dude. 

She probably didn't like you, and then really liked you. Tell us about your first date.
She called me up actually. This was a rare occurrence for me, because I always instigated. She lived down in Boerum Hill and I lived here in Park Slope, and she just called me up see what was going on. I think I misinterpreted in the beginning. I thought she just wanted to be friends. 

So you didn't have sex on the first night.
No. Second date.

What do you think about people sleeping together on the first night?
I think if you're both in the same frame of mind and you're both down, there's nothing the matter with that.

So you're not one of those guys who's like, I fucked this girl on the first night, I'm never talking to her again.
Nah, that's bullshit. 

What kind of advice do you have to give to women who enjoy having sex, so, you know, hypothetically speaking, they have sex on the first night, but they'd still like to have sex with the guy again. How do I get that? How do I get some traction? 
Are you saying you want a relationship after the first time?

Oh, you know, really anything. A call. A text. A smoke signal.  
Well, I think, number one, you need to be a good judge of character, and not date a guy who's going to be that asshole, if you care. But also, if you have the self-confidence to not really care about it, guys love a girl they can't have. 

Yeah, I'm sort of easy. Okay, let's talk about the craziest place you've ever had sex. 
I had sex in front of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. The girl I was dating was super-crazy, and I was like, "Really?" She basically just made it happen. I wasn't sure we were supposed to be doing that, so I tried to be quiet, but she wanted me to let loose and be loud. 

What position did you get in to do that?
Uh, she was on top.

Did you feel more patriotic afterwards?


Vanessa, 28

What do you do?
I work at a cocktail bar. Also a clothing store! I just moved here.

Where did you live before? 
St. Louis, Missouri.

And why did you move here?
For a guy. He's tall, dark, and handsome. We went to middle school and high school together. He played the oboe, and I played the clarinet. It was hot, but I wasn't into it. But when we met up at our ten-year high-school reunion, he totally swept me off my feet.

So are you still with this guy?
I am. We live in Williamsburg.

Oh, so you moved in with him.
Yes. I had been in a relationship for two-and-a-half years. Longest relationship ever, go me, go Vanessa, but I was feeling kind of over it. I had been in St. Louis for ten years, which is a really sweet place to live — I call it my ten years of "santosha," which means contentment. But I wanted to reach further, so I started applying for jobs in different places, and then I went to my high-school reunion, and afterward, when I was with my boyfriend, I could only think of the other guy. 

How long had you spent with him at that point? One night?
One fucking night. Maybe six to eight hours. Changed my life. 

So you're completely enamored with this guy. 
Totally. It was totally palpable. He had me laughing so hard I fell down.

So what happened, did you guys stay in touch?
Yeah. I broke up with my boyfriend, and then we Skyped that night—

Wait, you broke up with your boyfriend that night?
Yes. It was awesome! It had been over for a while, so it wasn't out of the blue. Well, he was oblivious, but for everyone else in my life, it was not out of the blue. So, we Skyped. It was Wednesday night. He came to visit me Friday. He's such a romantic. 

When did you decide to move out to New York with him?
Before he came to visit. 

I know that sounds crazy, but we both knew. It's not just me being a crazy girl. We both knew. 

So how is it living with him? 
Wonderful. We've both Scorpios, which does wonders for our sex life.

Have you guys said "I love you" yet?

How long did it take you to say "I love you"?
Second date.

Holy shit. 
I would have married him if he asked me to. I had to restrain myself from saying "Let's go to the court house right now!" I know it sounds crazy.

Kenny, 26

What do you do?
I don't do anything. I just graduated from college for psychology and cognitive science. I'd like to get a master's degree in experimental psychology. You learn about the appropriate ways to conduct experiments.

As someone who's studied psychology, do you feel like you're a better boyfriend?
No, not from studying psychology. For lots of other reasons. I'm brilliant, for starters. 

Uh huh. So you're twenty-six and you just graduated from college. What's up with that?
I spent a lot of time fucking around after high school. I lived with my parents. 

Do you still live with your parents? 

What was it like to have sex at your parents' house? That must be hard.
I did not have sex at my parents' house.

Not even when you were sixteen?
When I was sixteen, I was a big, fat, piece of shit. No one liked me when I was sixteen. They still don't. 

How did you lose the weight? Was it connected to losing your virginity?
Yeah. When I was fat, women didn't like me. And then I was not so fat, and women found more slightly more appealing. At that point, I met some girls that wanted to have sex with me.

You seem a little aggressive. 
Yes, I am a very angry person.

No, I'm not playing.
I'm not either. I'm a very angry person.

Do you have some hostility towards women because they wouldn't have sex with you for a while?
I'm angry with everyone because they wouldn't have sex with me!

How old were you when you lost your virginity? 
Oh, this is a terrible question. I was in my twenties. I don't care about it now, but it was rough for a while. 

Who was the lucky lady? 
It was fine. She was a lovely girl. She didn't realize I was a virgin until afterwards.

Did you not tell her on purpose?
No, I didn't. Why would someone bring that up? It was only the second time I had met her. We met at a bar, and I guess I made an impression, because she asked me out again the following week. 

Did you do anything to prepare?
I put on my best pair of light-colored, loose-fitting jeans, I drank a lot of Coors Light, I put on a hat, and I was ready to go. 

A baseball cap?

It was frontwards. 

Did you think about your underwear? 
I didn't consider it at the time. 

You free-balled it?
No. Goodness!

I'm going to go in a different direction now. What kind of girls are you usually attracted to? 
I like girls who are gorgeous, and who recognize how smart, and funny, and brilliant I am. 

So I'm going to guess that you're single. I'm sorry, that was too easy. But really, what constitutes "gorgeous?"
I don't like girls whose hearts I can see beating through their chests. 

So you like curvy girls.
What? No!


Kya Marie, 22

What do you do?
I'm a dance major at Florida State University.

What kind of dance do you do?
Modern and ballet. 

Has being a dance major ever gotten you laid before?
I guess in high school I always tried to impress guys by inviting them to my dance performances. I wasn't promiscuous in high school. I didn't have sex until college. But yeah, it was my way of saying, "Hey, look what I can do." You know, putting my leg above my head and stuff.

What made you decide not to have sex in high school?
I was raised in a really traditional Christian family, and it was important to me for it to be something meaningful with someone I loved. For a while I was set on the whole no-sex-till-marriage thing, but that turned out to be very unrealistic. The person I was with my first time was very important to me and it worked for both of us. We were both very inexperienced.

Did you lose your virginities to each other?
Yes. We were both nineteen, and at first I think he was a little bit freaked out. He was raised in the same environment as me, so he was like "We can't do this!" For me, I was over the whole moral thing. I was okay with it by that point.

Are you single or are you in a relationship?
I have a boyfriend.

How did you meet him?
He works at a sushi restaurant. I went there one night, and we talked a little bit when I ordered. When I left, he ran out after me in the rain in the parking lot. I was so flattered. He said, "I know this is in really poor taste to hit on a customer, but I've seen you here before, and I thought you were so beautiful, and I really regretted not talking to you, and I'm sure you have a boyfriend. Do you have a boyfriend?" And I didn't, so he got my number. 

So how long into the relationship did you wait to have sex?
Only a week and half. It was very short. But I just instantly felt comfortable with him and I trusted him and we were having sex, basically, but not having sex, so I said, "Let's just do it!" He thought I was crazy. 

Tell us about the relationship. Is it a good thing?
Very good! I've only had sex with two people, and he's two years older than me, and we've had very different lives, but we're at a very similar level. I think we met at a good time. He lives near me, so I see him all the time. We hardly ever fight, and we have a similar sense of humor, which helps a lot. He's very relaxed.

So what's it like having sex now? Do you know what you like, or are you still figuring it out?
I think I do know what I like. It's relative, because he's only my second partner. I know he's had sex with many more people than I have, but it's okay, and it's not his fault I started having sex so late. It's great because he's experienced, so he helps me, but he also tells me I know how to do things.


Phillip, 31

What do you do, besides dragging random women into your lap, like you just did to my associate?
I work in the beverage industry.  

Oh, so you think you're hot shit. Guys who work in the beverage industry always think they're hot shit. 
I am hot shit.  

So do you sell beer and wine?
It's really hard to explain.  

I work in the industry too. Go wild — take a stab at explaining it.
All right. I'm the Northeast Regional Barista champion, so I work in the coffee industry. I've also won a few cocktail competitions. I sell shit, but I'm also in the service industry.  

Has being the champion of cappuccino-making ever gotten you laid?
Sure. I mean, I don't have a problem getting laid.  

Do you make girls cappuccinos with hearts on top?
No. I'm like, "Hey, my name's Phillip. I'm awesome."

Tell me about your black eye. How'd that happen?
I got hit in the face with a brick. I got jumped by three dudes in Philly. I was walking home from work and three dudes jumped me because I was white.  

How did you know it was because you were white?
I had talked to them about a mile prior and they made it clear they weren't happy that I was in their neighborhood. Two of them are up for attempted murder tomorrow. They're like seventeen-, eighteen-year-old kids — up for attempted murder? That's pretty harsh.

Did you press charges?
I'm a compassionate asshole. What they did was stupid and they tried to kill me, but it would be much better justice served if I broke their legs and busted their faces, and they were fine in six months, rather than going to prison for a very long time.  

So you want street justice?
No. I mean, they need to be punished — they've done this to other people. But prison isn't the place for teenagers.  

Okay, let's change directions here. So, you're on a crutch… wait! You said you had sex yesterday. How'd that work?

So she was on top? What positions were you in?
A few.  

Like what?
You know.  

Hey, have you ever read a really boring interview where someone's like "A few, sometimes, maybe, I don't know?"

Okay, so let's not do that. Tell me about what positions you were in. 
Okay. She was on top for thirty to forty minutes. Then I was, you know, doing other things…

Really, thirty to forty minutes?

No. As a lady who is often on top… really? Are you kidding me?
Let me be really blunt with you.  

By all means. 
I've spent over half my life at over ten-thousand-feet elevation.  

Wow. What does that have to do with anything?
It means I have way more red blood cells and way more stamina than anyone you've ever met.  

Yeah, but I don't care about your stamina in this situation. I'm saying as a lady, I'm not trying to be on top for forty minutes. 
No, no, no. You haven't even done it. Have you ever orgasmed eight times? 

Are you trying to challenge my sexual prowess? I'm going to have to be on top for forty minutes because you have a bum leg?
That's not true. [starts to stand up

No, you're going to break your other leg! Just sit down. This interview is over. 

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