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Hi Em & Lo,

I'm a 25-year-old gay guy living in NYC. I thought I'd ask for your suggestions and inputs for my blog, Better Than Sex. The premise of the blog is that I don't have sex for 100 days but for each of those days, I have to find or do something in NYC that is, you guessed it, Better Than Sex. I started it a little more than a month ago as a social experiment and a way to explore the art and cultural offerings of the city. It could be food, a play, a concert, a hobby or practically anything under the Manhattan sun. Some of the fun things that I've done so far include going on a silent date at the Cloisters; seeing Les Paul, the man who invented the electric guitar and is now 93, in concert; the chocolate cube dessert at Park Avenue Summer [
pictured above]; and randomly going to City Hall to be a witness to a wedding ceremony. I just attended a cuddle party in NJ and will be going to the Russian/Turkish Baths in the East Village later this week. It would be great if you can recommend things/events that would be Better Than Sex (or really bad sex, at least!) that I can explore for my blog. Thanks very much and I hope to hear from you soon!

B.T.S. Boy



Dear B.T.S. Boy,

We love it! Here are our suggestions. We tried to keep most of them either free or at least cheap, but sometimes orgasmic-like fun costs--and unlike with sex, you can't pay in sweat.

20 THINGS THAT ARE (ALMOST) BETTER THAN SEX IN NYC...

1. Taking a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise Around Manhattan
The 2- or 3-hour cruises will give you a view of all the NYC Waterfalls by Olafur Eliasson. We like the Harbor Lights Cruise at night--it can replace the sex with romance.

2. Riding the Staten Island Ferry
If the Circle Line is too pricey, just take the ferry there and back for similarly spectacular views for FREE. Plus, you can live out your Working Girl fantasies.

3. Sipping Overpriced Cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental
The Lobby Lounge on the 35th floor has amazing views of Central Park and the skyline. Dress to the nines and go at off-peak hours to try to get a good seat--guests get the best ones first, if not all of them. You'll feel screwed when the bill for two drinks comes to $60 bucks.

4. Being a Rockstar for Two Minutes
We're sure some famous frontman said performing in front of a live audience was better than sex--here's your chance to find out: Every Monday night Arlene's Grocery hosts Rock n' Roll karaoke with a live band backing you up.

5. Riding the Cyclone at Coney Island
That rickety, jerky, wooden nightmare will get your I'm-gonna-die adrenal pumping--and when you get off you'll feel like you've gotten off.

6. Visiting Governor's Island for Free
It's that weird military island that was empty for years, but is now open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until October 12th: You can bike ride, picnic, check out concerts and art festivals, take a tour...the ferry ride and admission to the Island are FREE!

7. Attending a Free Concert of the Music of Johnny Cash
Better to get a ring of fire this way, than through rough anal sex: The River to River Festival has a ton of FREE events, including a Cash concert on July 26th at 8pm with a bunch of artists covering songs well-known and obscure from Johnny Cash.

8. Taking Free Dance Lessons at Lincoln Center
Since you can't do the horizontal dance of love, do an upright one: From July 8-26, 2008, this outdoor dance party called "Midsummer Night Swing" features 25 theme nights--including swing, salsa, disco, funk, and more. Each evening begins with a dance lesson at 6:30 p.m. for dancers of all levels of experience. The live music begins at 7:30 p.m.

9. Taking a Helicopter Tour of Manhattan
Instead of getting blown, blow a couple hundred on a 15-minute aerial tour--the views will blow you away.

10. Attending Free Shakespeare in the Park
The Public Theater is doing Hair this summer, so maybe you can get some nudity that way. (Not sure what relationship Shakespeare had to hippie musicals.)

11. Watching Brooklyn Bridge Park's Movies with a View
They're not showing anything too sexy, but hey, they've got Cabaret on Aug 14th.

12. Swimming in Holiday Inn's Rooftop Pool
For 60 bucks, you can gain access to the rooftop pool at this chain hotel on 57th Street and get as close to sex as you can without having it: undress, get all wet, and feel refreshed afterwards.

13. Going on a Scavenger Hunt
Watson Adventures offers adult scavenger hunts, like "Sex and the Village," based on locations from the show and the movie.

14. Taking a Gay & Lesbian History Walking Tour
Big Onion is one of the biggies when it comes to walking tours and on this one you'll "discover the many facets of lesbian and gay history as we trace the development of Greenwich Village. Stops could include: The Stonewall Inn, The Duplex, and sites associated with Bayard Rustin, Willa Cather, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Audre Lorde." Not sex, but sexual-orientation related.

15. Taking a Flying Trapeze Lesson
Flying has got to be better than sex.

16. Going on a CrazyBlindDate
Just don't have sex on it. (See this post for more details.)

17. Answering a Strictly Platonic Ad on Craigslist
Like this one. Or better yet, this one!

18. Kayaking on the Hudson for Free
The boats are very phallic.

19. Taking a Power Nap in a Nap Pod
Paying to take a nap at Yelo is indulgent, relaxing, and ridiculous, just like sex.

20. Becoming a New York Cares Volunteer
Go to their website, create an account, sign up for and then attend an orientation, choose a project (they have hundreds of one-off or repeat events each month), sign up and start volunteering. Their biggest day of the year is New York Cares Day on October 18th. Helping out makes you realize what a non-issue sex really is.


6 Comments

caitlin said:

what fantastic ideas! hope you don't mind that i'm not gonna take the celibacy challenge to indulge in them, but these activities will definitely enhance our date-nights -- thank you!!

Wendell said:

The Dream House, a sound/light installation by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. It should reopen in late September, which I hope is within the BTS time frame.
http://www.melafoundation.org/DHpressFY08.htm
The sound completely envelops you--you can't control the fact that it's all around you, but due to acoustics and the nature/frequencies of the tones occurring, you can control *how* you hear it with the rate of movement and placement of your body in the space. $4 suggested donation. It felt like an aural massage, and after a while I felt calm and centered. It was also fun to "play" with the tones by speeding up and slowing down my movements. Highly recommended!

So is it too hedonistic to want to experience all these before, during or after having sex? It all sounds divine...

Patrick said:

I think that a good body massage is a lot better than sex. Before, during and after a good massage you feel completely vulnerable, relaxed, euphoric, energized, powerful and total at peace with the world. It is a wonderful feeling; try it sometime. Though make sure that you find a competent massage therapist; someone who knows how to use his/her hands well.

said:

All these things are not better than sex. I ve not had sex for a long time now. I 've tried things similar to all mentioned here. They are not that cool.

Amie said:

Education is far better than sex! I can say this because sex is aval. any day at any age. Education fills the mind with self asteam,knowledge and self respect. Sex can desttroy lives and cause endless pain and even death. Not to mention CHILDREN!

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Em & Lo, more formally known as Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, are the self-proclaimed Emily Posts of the modern bedroom.

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