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Illustration: Assa Ariyoshi

Let Us Sex-plain: I found a used condom in my hookup’s bathroom

Your personal wingwoman, Jillian Anthony, answers all your questions about dating and doing it in New York

Written by
Jillian Anthony

I get it—being single in the city can be tough, and the ways New Yorkers are having sex these days can be surprising. But whatever your dating conundrum might be, I'm here to help. Consider me (Jillian Anthony, Time Out New York's Editor) your personal wingwoman, guiding you through dating and doing it in New York in our weekly "Let Us Sex-plain" column. Check out my answers to all your questions online and in the magazine every Wednesday, and submit your own coitus queries below!

I’ve been seeing this guy for a few months now, but we haven’t had the “what are we” talk yet. While at his place a few weekends ago, I noticed a condom wrapper that was definitely not ours in his bathroom. I figure that maybe it was just from a one-night stand, and I can’t get mad over it since I had one, too. But now I’m starting to have feelings for him. Should I bring it up or just let it go and keep seeing where this is going?

—Emily, Chelsea

It makes me sad that so many people are frightened to have a conversation with the person they are seeing about where they stand. Sure, there’s something to be said about not rushing into things, but it’s completely within your rights to know if someone you’re sleeping with is having sex with other people, for mental and physical health reasons. That’s pretty basic! And if your partner is uncomfortable with having that conversation when you bring it up, that’s a pretty good sign he is not ready to be exclusive with you. You deserve to feel secure within every sexual situation. So, tell this guy, “We’ve been seeing each other for a while, and I’d like to talk about what we’re both thinking so that we’re on the same page.” Ask, and you shall receive an answer.

My generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) prevents me from being able to let my guard down in new relationships, both emotionally and physically. How can I explain to someone I have newly started dating that the reason I may seem cold and distant is not because I’m not interested, but because I’m terrified and easily overwhelmed by the smallest physical contact?

—Morgan, Brooklyn

I am, of course, not a doctor, and I assume you’re already pursuing professional medical advice for your disorder. (For those who aren’t familiar, GAD includes chronic symptoms of debilitating worry and anxiety, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches and nausea.) So, let me approach this from a purely human point of view. Dating is stressful enough for people without GAD, so I feel for you. Without completely letting your guard down or trusting someone before you’re ready, perhaps you can be fully honest about what you need from an initial dating situation. Maybe you need a phone or FaceTime conversation before a physical meetup, or to be sure you’re the one who makes any first moves. If you set realistic expectations from the start (and explain that you are interested and you’re not playing hard to get), things should go smoother for you and your potential partners. And if you feel comfortable telling people exactly what you told me about how GAD affects your everyday life, they can hopefully have a much better understanding of who you are. Sure, some people may be scared off by your honesty, but the ones who aren’t are much more worth your time.

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