- 10 Sep 19
You could be on a night out. At a bar, a club or a house party. Have met on Tinder or Bumble. You could be complete strangers or best friends. Whatever the trigger, one-night stands are more common than most of us care to admit, especially among students.
For so long now, one-night stands have gotten a bad rep. Admittedly, where men are concerned, in certain company you can get away with being seen as “lads” or “players”. That might sound great at first, but in fact it just adds to the impression that the old, creeping, toxic masculinity is still far too widespread.
Is it too much to hope that this might be eliminated by the new generation of students?
For women, however, more often than not, one-night stands come hand in hand with slut-shaming and moralistic judgment. This tainted view of one-night stands seems to be as common among students as in the wider world of adult life. It hasn’t stopped us having them but, instead, has resulted in them being swept under the carpet, pushed into the dark – and as a result, the conversation has been silenced. And our experiences of one-night stands are suffering because of it.
The truth is that one-night stands are a common feature of student life and need to be viewed as such. Far better to be prepared for the eventuality, if and when it does occur. From the problems that can arise to the potential pleasures that can be derived, we need to talk more openly about our one-night stands and what we can – hopefully – learn from them. So I’ll start!
Over the years, I have had my share of one-night stands – and from my experience, they fall into three categories: the good, the bad and the ugly.
One-night stands, between two (or more) consenting adults, can lead to extraordinary sex. We are told that the best sex happens in a loving, long-term relationship and while this can be true, I think it’s not just about love.
In a long-term relationship, it’s usually the case that you have gotten to a place of comfort with your partner, where you are happy to express your turn-on’s and what you want. By comparison, one-night stands come with a pre-conception of awkwardness. Of not knowing the person and having to “go along with it”. But here’s the thing: you are never going to see them again. Or even if you are, what’s the point in having bad sex? No-one is worth that. So the first advice is to communicate.
One of my all-time best one-night stands happened with a friend. A friend who cared for me, who listened to me and who wanted me. A friend who wanted me not just for sex, but who wanted to pleasure me. Did this night lead to anything else? No. Did we know that at the time? Yes! But that didn’t stop us both wanting to be pleasured and that doesn’t mean that love wasn’t involved. It was.
Sex can full of love as well as lust, even if it is just for one night. And, whether it’s with a stranger or not, the fact that it’s a one-night stand, doesn’t mean that one person is more important than the other. Trust me, if you disagree, have a wank instead: it will be much quicker, and you won’t have to sneak out the next morning.
Which Leads Me To The Bad…
I once had a one-night stand that might as well have taken place in a silent movie. Once we got back to his, I don’t think he uttered a word until we said goodbye the next morning. Instead of talking to me, he just moved my body into different positions that pleased him. I, of course, tried to break the silence with the odd jokey comment of “Oh, are we doing this now?” or “Oh right, I’m moving here I guess.” Which probably tells you more about my need for communication than anything else. But seriously, for that entire night, I literally felt like a hole and nothing else. Before you ask, no, clearly I didn’t cum.
This idea that women are just there to please, or that one-night stands are about sticking a penis in a hole till it (the penis) cums, spirals us into a place where consent gets blurred or more dangerously, on occasion, lost altogether.
What should I have done in that situation? Got up and left? Said, “Hey dude, are going to ask me before you move me?” Silently tried to move his body until we both ended up like mimes trying to have sex? Maybe. But taking any sort of action goes against our in-built narrative as women; that we aren’t important in the act of sex. When in fact we are. And so, whether it’s a one-night stand, just casual, or within a relationship, neither party should be made to feel like an object.
And Finally, The Ugly.
Sex can get messy. Indeed, anything that involves bodily fluids can get messy, and one-night stands aren’t exempt from this. My favourite story was actually told to me by a friend, who was wakened up from her one-night stand by the guy farting loudly.
There’s not a lot you can take away from this snippet, really, other than the fact that no-one is perfect. You might have built the person you are going home with up to be this flawless god-like being – but at the end of the day, we are all human. At some point, those rose-tinted glasses are going to shatter, and you will see you partner for the night as the beautifully flawed person that he or she is. Warts and all.
Straight or LGBTQ+, they are not perfect and neither are you. So, when it comes to sex, don’t try to be someone you aren’t to impress this person, ‘cause a couple of hours later you could be waking up to the smell of their farts.
This is my story. My one-night stands. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Every student starting out in college will write his or her own script. You can do it well. Or not. The most important thing I have learnt is that sometimes you just want to have sex. Sometimes you are just unbelievably horny. Sometimes you just want to feel alive and connected to someone. And the shame that we are made to feel because of it, is totally outdated, unnecessary and wrong.
Whether it’s with a stranger or your best friend, if it started off as a date or someone you met at a club, if it’s love or lust, or both, enjoy each other and listen. Because this (hopefully not silent) movie it’s programmed for one night only.
One-night stands should be just that: for one night. There’s always a risk of getting carried away in the moment, but when the morning after pill costs around €30 is it really worth going without protection? And that isn’t even starting on the risks of STI’s. So save yourself unnecessary anxiety. Throw a couple of condoms in your bag – and enjoy your night to the max.