When I first got out of a long-term serious relationship, I indulged the irrational fear that I'd never have sex again. Over requisite beers, a friend told me I was being ridiculous. "You're an attractive girl," he said. "Just go to a bar, pick up a dude, and get laid. It won't be hard; trust me." I looked at him like he'd ask me to sell my mother into prostitution.
One night stands were for drunk people and investment bankers, I told myself. Don't get me wrong; it's not like I never had one. Years ago I went home with a hot Brazilian I met at Max Fish whose name I can't remember. I do, however, remember the sex -- fondly. And when I think about it, I have to admit that my general takeaway from that and my few other similar encounters is that sex really doesn't always have to be about a meaningful and intimate connection; sometimes it's about doing what feels good in the moment.
I'm not saying casual sex is for everybody. But, as Josey Vogels once wrote in her column, Messy Bedroom, "There is a lot to be learned about yourself through purely physical-based encounters, especially for women who are taught that sex is this precious gift that is only to be given away in the most idyllic circumstances. Meanwhile, men are raised to have a much more casual physical relationship with sex. No wonder we women give it so much emotional play." In other words, our culture is saturated with the message that women who have one night stands are desperate for attention, suffer from low self-esteem, have issues with men or are alcoholic party girls. This idea doesn't resonate for me. I think women are more complicated than this idea gives us credit for. In some circumstances, having sex one time with someone you never plan to sleep with again can be exactly what you want and need, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Here are 8 good reasons I've identified to have the occasional one night stand:
Whenever you have sex, do it for reasons that make you feel good. That could mean doing it with someone you love and trust, but it could also mean doing it with a stranger you just met and won't ever (hopefully) see again. If what you're after is a fun, commitment-free experience where the goal is pleasure alone, there's no reason not to seek that out.
Feeling bad about one night stands is pretty pointless. If you used protection, felt physically safe, and found the sex enjoyable, you have nothing to regret. A little sexual adventure doesn't mean anything about you morally. If you're feeling like you did something "wrong," ask yourself, "Am I really uncomfortable with last night, or have I been programmed to think about my actions, my choices, and my body in a certain way that has little to do with me per se, but more to do with social expectations of how women should act?" Own your decisions. You made them for a reason, and you do only live once.
I can't take credit for this one. In her 1973 novel "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Flying-Erica-Jong/dp/0451185560" target="_hplink">Fear of Flying</a>," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erica-jong/" target="_hplink">Erica Jong</a> introduced the concept of what she called a "zipless f***" For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Jong wrote, "The "zipless f*** is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not 'taking' and the woman is not 'giving.' No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone." Although <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/07/erica-jong-no-such-thing-as-zipless-fuck_n_1079222.html" target="_hplink">Jong recanted</a> (after <a href="http://www.harpercollinsspeakersbureau.com/speaker/erica-jong.aspx" target="_hplink">selling 20 million copies</a> and becoming a cultural icon), I still think there's something intriguing about the "pureness" she saw in sex with someone you don't know. It's kind of like "no muss; no fuss" sex, and like one of my guy friends puts it, "We do it, and then I leave." There's something honest there that I respect.
Maybe this is familiar to for you: You tell yourself you're not going to get emotionally attached, that you're going to keep the relationship "just about sex." I know in my experience at least, once I get naked with someone, I become more vulnerable. My "casual sex" attitude usually goes out the window, but I'll spend months in denial of my true feelings, and at the end of it all the "no muss; no fuss" ends up a mess. One nighters are a good way for those of us who have a hard time separating the physical from the emotional to experience a purely sexual encounter -- without ANY expectation of it turning into something more.
One of the great things about a one night stand is that the person you have it with isn't suppost to be Mr. or Ms. Right. The point of this encounter is to have a little fun when the right person for each of you hasn't shown up yet. It can remind you that you've still got it and allow you to get your sexual needs met while saving you from dating people who aren't right for you because you long for physical closeness.
Your significant other cheated on you. Your BFF hooked up with your ex. You found out the entire time you were in your last relationship, he or she had a secret obsession with his or her hot co-worker. These are the times when it's easy to feel bad about you even though the other people involved are the ones who've acted inappropriately. Rather than self-loathing, why not experience your anger? After all, you have a right to be pissed off. Also, endorphins released during sex can help you loosen up and improve your mood after you've been so worked up and "pissed off." For a moment, you can get caught up in pleasure and forget about the people who've wronged you.
And as a single woman you have the luxury of playing around with an alter ego. Sometimes everyone needs a break from the routine of day-to-day life. A one night stand employing a fantasy persona is a break from being the fabulous woman you are and be another fabulous woman. I'm not talking about living a double life; I'm talking about one night. No strings attached. Just go with the flow.
Period. When you go into a one night stand (consciously or unconsciously) trying to fill an emotional void, you'll typically feel worse and emptier the next day. If you feel any hesitancy or are not 100% positive it's the right thing to do right now, don't. Do it if you know you're going to be safe, know you'll be able to focus on the moment, and know you want it.
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