SEVERAL years ago, I woke up in a hotel room with a random man sleeping next to me.
I had many regrets: my horrendous hangover, my burning eyes because I had forgotten to take out my contact lenses, and the bill I was later presented with that informed me I had spent the equivalent of a small country’s GDP on the contents of the minibar.
But did I regret the one-night stand itself? Hell, no.
So I’m surprised that a new study from Norway has found that women are more likely to experience regret than men after casual sex. Apparently, 35% of 19-37-year-old women regret having a one-night stand, as opposed to 20% of men.*
It seems to confirm what we’ve long been told – that women don’t enjoy meaningless sex as much as men. But perhaps it’s actually that women have just internalised the message that we’re slutty if we seek out sex for the sake of it.
Jokes about the “walk of shame” never apply to men (and not just because they’re less likely to be getting the first train home in six-inch heels).
When I was growing up, I believed that women who had one-night stands must be secretly looking for it to turn into a relationship.
This was the era of The Rules, where we were told not to sleep with a guy until at least the third date if you wanted him to like you, and everyone wanted to know “your magic number” (double digits was a bit frowned upon).
I turned down opportunities for casual sex because I didn’t want to be that girl, and I still think wistfully of the one-night stands who got away: the hot Australian guy I met backpacking around Thailand, the friend-of-a-friend who shared my sleeping bag at Glastonbury…
And, as a result, there was a time in my late-20s when one-night stands were like crack for me –not actually having them, but hearing about them.
Having been in a series of long-term relationships, I’d never had a proper never-see-them-again one-night stand, so I had serious FOMO. While my friends were out having their Fleabag moments, I wanted to live vicariously through them.
They told me about the guy who used mayonnaise for lube, the hook-up who serenaded my mate with a ukelele post-sex, and the DJ who invited my friend back to his, only for her to discover he lived with his parents and they were hanging up his pants to dry in his bedroom.
One of my favourite news stories ever was the girl who got trapped in a window after trying to throw her poo out of it after a hot Tinder date. Hey, we’ve all been there… Except, I hadn’t.
So when my marriage ended, I went on a bit of a one-night stand spree to make up for lost time.
I downloaded an “alternative” app called Feeld that said it was designed for “sex-positive pleasure-seekers”, and the people I met through it were open-minded, fun and respectful. I discovered, aged 34, that you didn’t have to be in love to have a really good time.
This week I’m…
Listening to… Californian Soil
Indie pop trio London Grammar’s third album is the perfect soundtrack to sunny days in the park.
Beautiful toys made from sustainable, chemical-free wood. My seven-month-old daughter Blake loves her rocking horse.
Reading… Working Hard, Hardly Working
Grace Beverley’s book about redefining success resonated with me. Anyone else a “lazy workaholic”?
In fact, you probably didn’t even need to know the other person’s name.
Now that I’m happily coupled-up and my idea of a wild night with a stranger is when the pizza delivery guy knocks at the door, I look back on those heady days of lustful adventures with fondness.
I found my one-night stands to be empowering and confidence-boosting, not disappointing or shameful.
My only real regret? Not having more of them.
Source: *Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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