I’ve never had a one night stand.
While not all of my sexual encounters have been in the context of a relationship, I’ve known each of the guys far longer than the evening and at least trusted them somewhat. Yes, I’ve embraced a few friends-with-benefits-strings-loosely-attached relationships and I’ve stayed over at a guy’s place the same night I met him. But those sleepovers were PG-13 at best – I always kept my boundaries and my walls strong and tall, protecting all parts of myself – body and soul – from harm.
For a while I was overly concerned with what I would say to my future husband when he asked about my sexual resume or inquired about a number that remains private, unlike most things on this blog. I wanted to be proud of what I told him and I wanted him to view me as someone who thought before she leaped into the beds of strangers or spread her legs for Manhattan. I wanted to feel honorable and somewhat pure, though I passed up the virginity card nearly ten years ago.
But then that stopped mattering to me so much. Instead, I became more interested in what I felt like. If I wanted to makeout with the tall drink of water in the corner of an Irish pub, then I’d do it. If I wanted to have sex with someone I met on the first night, I’d do it. This is my body, these are my morals and my choices, and if I can stand confidently behind them, then what did it matter what my husband thought? He wasn’t around for those evenings because it wasn’t time for me to meet him, so that part of my past didn’t include him. As long as I was sexually safe and emotionally smart, then I could be what I wanted to be and well, do who I wanted to do.
And by the time I finally reached a point where I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could have that steamy one night stand I fantasized about, I met and started dating Mr. Possibility, and a few months later we implemented exclusivity, deleting the option of a fling from my New York itinerary.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m very happy with Mr. P and I’m not lacking anything I think I’d find in a one night stand, but it is something I’ve always wondered about. As a 20-something, it almost feels like a rite of passage before we reach 30, where suddenly worries about fertility and wedding rings become priority over the “Oh my god, I’m three days late, but he didn’t finish inside of me, does that mean I could be pregnant??? Should I buy a pregnancy test?” text messages we send our friends now.
I have more than enough time before I turn the big 3-0, but I wonder if I have it in me to actually execute the infamous one night stand. Almost all of my friends have done it, some more than others, some just because they wanted to try it, and some because they really dig it. A few of my friends are rather empowered by it – claiming their sexuality as their own and sleeping with whoever they damn well please, and best of all, demanding an orgasm out of it. These women are so sexually liberated that it makes me blush and envy the way they view sex. I mean, they can actually sleep with someone without trusting the guy, without knowing his last name, where that scar on the left of his knee came from, if he has brothers or sisters, if he likes chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla, or if he has any intentions of a relationship or is this just sex?
Maybe that’s what has always held me back – the idea of just sex.
My girlfriends who dig the one night stands like them because they’re not messy like relationships. They don’t come with rules and commitment. They don’t require compromise or a phone call the next day or a birthday present. They don’t grow, they begin and end with spontaneity. They don’t need care and concern to function, they don’t need reassurance or someone calling you beautiful. They just take two willing participants who at that moment, in that apartment or that bathroom or during that vacation – who want to just have sex.
But in my mind, which is probably far too relationship-oriented for this discussion to begin with – one night stands aren’t like that. When I envision my unrealistic notion of what a one night stand entails, I picture sultry kisses that can’t be stopped, conversation that is steady and fervent, and warmth radiating from my lips all the way down my body. I see a chiseled chest and my bare stomach, sweat rolling down places that are only sexy when you’re naked, and I feel the irresistibleness of a man’s weight on top of me. I see white linen sheets with the light of a candle competing with the summer air and the undeniable smell of raw sex on me as this man calls a cab to my apartment the morning after. I hear myself saying “Stop, don’t tell me your name. It’ll ruin it,” as I blow him a kiss and give him a playful wink out the window as he watches me leave, wondering what could have been, but both of satisfied with the anonymity of it all.
I know the more realistic snapshot is a drunken couple stumbling out of Joshua Tree in Murray Hill, draped over one another as the guy with greased hair attempts to wave a ride while the girl giggles because she can’t think of anything else to do. I know they involve stumbling into things on the way to the two-bedroom shared with three roommates with jack-hammer sex that’s barely decipherable in your memories, and ultimately end with texting your friends to ask if you should get the morning after pill, even though you’re on the pill. They must involved a long hot shower, or at least I think it would for me.
I suppose I haven’t had a one night stand and denied every opportunity to change that because I want them to mean something. I want it to go down in my book as an encounter I needed to have to fulfill my appetite, not as a last minute decision I made because Mr. Tequila thought it was a good idea. But if I want a one night stand to mean something, doesn’t that go against what a one night stand is?
Isn’t a one night stand just a stand-in before you find the guy who lasts longer than a night?
Daily Gratitude: Today, I’m thankful for rain. It’s been a while, dude.
Having lived a wee bit longer than you, my personal opinion is this, in general: it is easier to live with questions about things I didn’t do rather than with regrets about things I did. Jumping off a cliff changes you, especially when there’s no reason to, for you can’t step back once you do.
I’m proud of you. Sex is way better when it does mean something. When something is that great and that addicting, why deny it. And not do it day after day with someone you discovered you really like ?
I think most girls have higher numbers than most guys. A girl will never get turned down. A guy has to catch her in the right mood at the right moment, not say the wrong thing.
A guy just has to hope the girl wants him as her last. Who cares who was there before.
wow…seems as though we are sharing the same idea, only mine is from a uniquely male point of view on my blog… and you’re sooo right on some of your assumptions about what your future husband would take from those situations… so nice to have certain validations come from a girl who posted on the same day…
I’m a lot like your friends.
I think the difference between a one-night-stand that makes you feel skeevy and one that empowers is a matter of maturity. It’s a matter of knowing when you need something (sex) and not being afraid to go get it, without the guilt trip. That maturity takes it out of Mr. Tequila’s domain and makes it a conscious choice, with a guy that you can at least trust for the night (read: no axe murderers). And never ever take or give phone numbers, it’ll just make you wonder what if.
Wow. I basically agree with all of the other comments. I can tell you that when I was in college, I thought that the one night stand was a rite of passage, too. I wanted to feel “independent” and “liberated.” So I went ahead and did it. And you know what? It pretty much sucked. It made me realize that TV and movies and the media make “one night of passion” sound great. But it was one night with a stranger I didn’t trust and wasn’t comfortable with. If you know you are sensitive like me (didn’t figure that out til after, woops), you’re not missing out.