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New York’s Sex Diaries series asks anonymous city dwellers to record a week in their sex lives — with comic, tragic, often sexy, and always revealing results. This week, a 27-year-old magazine editor who has sex with her second partner ever: 27, straight, single, Bushwick.
8 a.m. After my alarm goes off, I spend 30 more minutes in bed, mentally preparing for the day. On the agenda: work, then I’m supposed to stop by my friend’s birthday party before heading to a free concert.
4 p.m. My work schedule is not so bad today (and I have tomorrow completely off!), but as always, I’m on edge about messing something up. I’m an editor at a magazine and have been on the job for several months. I still don’t feel 100 percent confident in myself.
4:30 p.m. I Gchat my friend Lenore, asking her if she’d mind me canceling the concert thing we were supposed to go to tonight. She gives me the A-OK because she didn’t really want to go in the first place. This is why I love Lenore: She’s always brutally honest and has become something of a big sister to me over the past year.
6 p.m. Head out to the bar for my friend’s party.
6:45 p.m. I’m the first to arrive (never been that great at being fashionably late), so I hang out with the birthday boy and knock back a few drinks. I suddenly remember that I didn’t have much to eat today, which isn’t great. But with no work tomorrow, I can be a little more reckless than usual.
8 p.m. The get-together is now in full swing. I start pushing the birthday boy to get in contact with another friend of ours, who I’ll call James. I’ve known James for almost as long as I’ve been in New York. I liked him when I met him, but then found out he was in a relationship. Now, he’s single. Success: The birthday boy says James is on his way.
11 p.m. I’ve been chatting it up with James, and I think it’s going well. But the birthday boy and myself are pretty tanked. He heads home; I leave with James and some friends … then James and I break off from the group and head to his place.
12 a.m. We’re watching TV and James starts touching my knee, which sounds pretty tame, but it actually turns me on. After all, it’s the most action I’ve gotten in months other than a sloppy make-out with an Irish dude this past winter. I don’t count that one.
1 a.m. James gets up to go to bed and leaves me to settle in on the couch. As he brings me a pillow, I decide it’s now or never and pull him in for a kiss. He says something about knowing this was going to happen. (How cocky!) We keep making out. I tell James I’m not looking for anything serious, but I’d like to have sex. He turns me down, but we take the making out to his bed.
1:30 a.m. After a while, we settle in for the night. I fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up to James rubbing my leg, which leads me to remind him that he didn’t want to have sex. He says he’s changed his mind and goes to grab a condom. In my slight drunkenness, I assure him that I consent to this sexual encounter.
1:45 a.m. There’s fingering, which drives me crazy in a good way, and then sex. The sex is over almost as soon as it begins, but I assure James that I had a good time — and I did. It’s been three years since I last had sex and that was when I lost my virginity. That’s mostly my fault: I don’t enjoy hooking up with strangers and I’ve given up on online dating. For the most part, I’m really happy with that decision. James and I go to sleep with zero cuddling because that shit makes me overheat.
7:15 a.m. I leave James’s with just enough phone power to text my best friend, Mona. We chat about what happened last night and I can’t stop going on and on about how good it was simply because I know and trust James and he was so respectful of me. It also proves my own theory that I can successfully pursue guys I know in real life and who know more about me than my location and whether I think nuclear war is exciting in a certain light. (It’s not.)
7:45 a.m. I’m feeling very New York on this bus home. And by very New York, I mean, I feel like I have a real sense of independence that I treasure. That even extends to my relationship history. I’ve never been in a serious relationship, but it doesn’t bother me at all.
Honestly, the only times I wish I was with someone is when I feel like I’ve truly connected with a guy (which is happening with less frequency than when I was in college and fell for guys more easily) or when I want to do something big and grand and can’t find a close friend to accompany me. The rest of the time, I’m so, so happy to have a life uncomplicated by romantic entanglements.
8:30 a.m. I’m finally home, where I realize I’ve started my period, so I get a tampon and lie in bed. I didn’t sleep very well last night (I never do in strangers’ beds) and my hips are aching. Can’t decide whether that’s because of the sex or because it’s the first day of my period. I sleep the rest of the day away.
9 a.m. I start my day by heading to the gym, a new habit that I’m really enjoying. It makes me feel more energetic and sexy and productive.
9:45 a.m. That was not my best workout. I blame yesterday’s hangover and the first real day of my period. I go to the store to pick up materials for an activism project I’m working on, which involves little projects geared toward the good fight against bad Trump. This month, I’m making angry phone calls to senators and writing letters. I go home and take a shower, and then head out.
12 p.m. Activism done.
3 p.m. I go to meet a new friend at a museum to see a few exhibits, including one on radical black women. Looking at this art, I think a lot about balancing intelligence and a no-bullshit attitude with wanting to be desired by men who aren’t intimidated by that or my blackness. A long time ago I read that black people are rated as less attractive on OKCupid and that’s a huge reason that I’m not online dating anymore. I’m so proud to be black, but I’m also thinking about implicit racism all the time. That’s basically what it’s like living in Black Lives Matter America as a 20-something.
5:45 p.m. After saying good-bye to my friend, I head to another neighborhood for a babysitting gig. I love babysitting because it’s an opportunity to see that you might just be able to make it in New York. This family isn’t rich or anything. They’re nice, average people with a nice kid and they’re making it work. I hope I can last in New York, too.
10 p.m. The parents come home and I drop by a friend’s birthday party, but she’s wasted by the time I show up. I head home after about an hour.
11 p.m. Eat some Burger King before bed (I’m not proud) and fall asleep.
9 a.m. I wake up and get ready to go to the beach with a few friends. Everyone shows up on time, yay!
12 p.m. It’s a perfect beach day (albeit a crowded one). I go for a walk along the shore with my friend Freddie. We’ve known each other for nearly seven years and moved to New York around the same time. In another life, we might be dating, but he’s too tame and logical for me. Neither of us has seriously dated another person since we moved up here, but I wish one of us would. Then we could know for sure that nothing will ever, ever happen between us.
4 p.m. We head home from the beach and immediately hit traffic. I stress out about being late to another babysitting gig (the hustle never ends), but wind up making it on time.
10:30 p.m. Done babysitting. Home, bed, sleep.
8 a.m. Up and at ’em. No time to work out before work (wah wah), but I promise to hit the gym tomorrow.
6 p.m. I make it through the day and head uptown to meet my sister, who’s 25 and works in advertising. We’re going to a press dinner, but are grabbing drinks beforehand. I can’t wait to see her. We’re thick as thieves and I’m always trying to bring her in on the cool parts of my job.
10 p.m. Though we are the youngest (and blackest) people at the press dinner, we have a great time and end up sated and tipsy at the end of the night. We walk to the subway together, talking about how excited we are to ride the train drunk while listening to music. It somehow makes the ride way more tolerable.
8:40 a.m. Happy to report that the previous night’s drinking did not deter me from heading to the gym this morning. I reach a new personal best and then head to the office to make myself presentable. (Read: Lots of flushable wipes, a cold washcloth, and deep breathing).
3 p.m. I’m completely slammed today, but kind of welcome the work because I hate sitting around doing nothing. Doing nothing makes you a target for bitch work.
5 p.m. Waiting around for copy when I get a text from the last person I expected: Charlie. He’s a former co-worker of mine (see, someone I met in real life!) who I’ve been really into since last summer. It was like-like at first sight and he seemed to feel the same about me, too, but right as things were heating up I left my old job and, no lie, Trump got elected and killed our mutual boners. Fuck Trump.
5:15 p.m. Looking over this text, I think about how long — almost a year — I’ve been waiting for what looks to be a date invitation from this guy. After the world started feeling less doomed, I eventually felt confident enough to spark things with Charlie again, but we still rarely see one another in person — though we do “see” a lot of one another on social media. This drives me crazy, but it’s all I have.
5:28 p.m. I consult Lenore and Mona. Lenore thinks Charlie has been stringing me along and I should cut him loose. Mona thinks it’s unhealthy that I’ve built up a lot of unwarranted frustration toward him in the last few months. She says he doesn’t owe me anything and I shouldn’t meet up with him if I can’t put those feelings aside.
5:45 p.m. I decide to accept Charlie’s offer and we agree to meet after work the next day, location TBD. I’m not as excited as I could be just because I don’t want to get my hopes up.
10:30 p.m. About to go to sleep and decide I should get myself off first. I use this great rechargeable vibrator and watch a little porn. Anything that seems authentic and realistic works for me. I come and can instantly feel a wave of sleep-inducing warmth pass over my body. I fall right asleep.
8 a.m. Wake up and Charlie still hasn’t responded to my text. I make an elaborate plan in my head for us to take the ferry, but want to wait until I hear back before suggesting it.
8:30 a.m. No workout this morning because I want to be the least amount of sweaty for tonight. I grab a shower and put on a dress and some slip-ons.
12 p.m. Finally hear back from Charlie — though that’s a bit generous because he just asks me to “Wait a minute.” I respond with a halfheartedly witty text.
3 p.m. He texts me back and asks me if I’m free tomorrow — because he has to cancel tonight. The reasons are a bit spotty, but I let him off the hook while admitting that I’m disappointed. And no, I can’t do tomorrow. He apologizes and says we’ll get together soon. But that could be four months from now, for all I know. I tell Lenore what’s happened and she loses it on my behalf. I’m too emotionally drained over this non-relationship to have much of a reaction.
7 p.m. I head home, watch some Bachelorette (in it for the first black Bachelorette, obvi), and find myself unable to keep my eyes open. So, I switch off the TV, fall into bed, and immediately pass out. Guess all that emotional exhaustion took a physical toll, too.
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