It all seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes it is, sometimes not.

Growing up watching the odd risque 12a or PG, my perception of one night stands were this exciting union between two people that resulted in maximum pleasure and a morning of coffee and flirtatious chat between two people… that normally lead to an amazing relationship just before the credits started to roll.

My first year at University abruptly ended this perception. Between my friends and I, one night stands became tales of embarrassing situations and, often, regret. 

During my second year, I decided I no longer wanted to have one night stands. For me, the embarrassment, continuous disappointment, plus adding numbers to a previously small list (and a trip to the clinic for chlamydia) the desire to do it began to evaporate. 

So, here’s why.

drinking

I got too drunk in first year. I wouldn’t really know what I was doing until I was in the cab and then I’d feel like I was too far down the line so I might as well see it through. What an idiot. I no longer leave a great night out before my friends do to go home and have shit sex with a stranger and, if I do meet someone I want to sleep with, I now get asked for a drink over the following days after giving them my number instead of my body. 

Aside from the very serious implications of having sex with someone who is too drunk, or being too drunk, you’re not likely to have the best experience. I rarely had great sex and, more than once, the guy was unable to keep it up. This then lead to a drunken, cringey, and awkward situation where I’d want to call it a night whilst he was adamant to make it happen. 

Now, after meeting these guys sober, I can determine whether they’re someone I want to sleep with. It’s been fascinating because, actually, most of the guys who I meet up with for a drink I realise I would never want to sleep with in a million years.

I wonder if we met the people we have one night stands with stone cold sober, in day light, whether we would actually get into bed with them. If you’re reading this, I’d be willing to bet £20.00 of my already deepened overdraft that you’re thinking ‘No, probably not’.

So, if you’re too drunk maybe just don’t get in the cab. Exchange numbers and organise to meet again.

“ Do we tell ourselves that it’s fine because it makes a good story? Or, actually, are we dying of embarrassment and feelings of shame? ”

STI’s

Isn’t it weird that we are all aware that STI’s are super common in student populations yet we all risk having sex without condoms? After catching chlamydia in first year and (confession time) not being entiiiiirely sure who gave it to me, I realised that I didn’t want that situation again. I don’t just mean catching the STI but also that feeling that it hadn’t even been worth it, or with someone who I knew, made me feel even worse. Throughout my various group of friends, around ten had STI’s during our first year - and that’s only the ones who felt comfortable admitting it. 

Boys, it’s so much more attractive when you have condoms. I really mean that. If you can’t get hard because of it and you’re embarrassed, many girls enjoy foreplay more anyway – so whilst keeping the condom on, get busy with your hands.

You know about lad culture and “Locker Room Banter”. Don’t be the girl that they boast about being able to ‘shag bareback’. I know these boys. I have been there when they’ve described girls like this. It made me never ever ever want to be referred to as that. I know that condoms can sometimes effect pleasure for us all so why not invest in some jazzy ones? Ribbed, flavoured, extra thin – what else is your student loan for?!

Evolutionary, humans are attracted to healthy people. Condoms show you’re looking after your health = sexy (Believe it or not). So, make sure you do. Wack ’em in your jean pockets, handbags, clutches, bedside tables, hell even your kitchen drawers if you’re into that (I hope, for your flatmates sake, you aren’t). 

UNI CULTURE

I was going to call this ‘LAD culture’ but actually, girls can be just as bad as boys. Between me, my different groups of friends, the sports and society socials I have been to (which equal the copious amounts of ‘I have never’ drinking games), I have heard A LOT of intimate and embarrassing tales of sexual escapades. Sometimes, you’ll never know who the people mentioned in these stories are but other times, you’ll know fully well who the person is. When you next see them you can’t see past the person who tried to do X to Y, or said he or she wanted to do god knows what to who. It occurred to me that I was increasing my chance of being this person - that the people I slept with could discuss intimate details of their experiences with me in bed and knew what my body looked like naked. If something embarrassing happens to you during sex, as is often unavoidable, that person is highly likely to share it with their friends. The joys of sex, right?!

“ Throughout my various group of friends, around ten had STI’s during our first year – and that’s only the ones who felt comfortable admitting it. ”

FEELINGS

I am determined that in my first year I was a happy, secure woman. I genuinely had the best year of my life and I had so much fun. I know that people would like to dispute this because of the fact I had slightly more casual sex than most – single women who do this are almost all deemed as insecure with daddy issues. Although I disagree with that, I definitely didn’t respect myself enough… or there’s definitely something that I have now, within me, that I didn’t then.

Now, I think I am more deserving than being someones end to the night. 

Now, I see myself as someone that people should be grateful to date.

I don’t care if I sound big-headed.

Don’t get me wrong, I saw the men in a similar light but, occasionally, was I secretly hoping that it might lead to something more? Once or twice, there would be a guy who I’d really click with. I’d be hoping to hear from them again but I didn’t, unless it was for ‘Netflix and chill’.

We all know that it’s hard to say no when you genuinely like the person, even though you’re allowing yourself to fall down a deeper hole of feelings whilst fully aware that they want you for one thing or don’t quite see you in “that way”. There was one guy who, if I hadn’t slept with, it might have gone somewhere but he never saw me as more than “fun”, despite us getting on so well and having great sex.

I’d also, without realising, slept with one of his team mates. Oops.

We had an open discussion about this once, after I told him how I felt, and he said that – honestly – he couldn’t see me as a girlfriend because of how we had started and how I had slept with his friend. It’s fair enough, as much as ‘double standards’ screamed in my head. I also believe that, had he liked me enough, it wouldn’t actually have mattered. 

Now, when I meet people and exchange my number instead of my body they are automatically more interested in getting to know me. 

I love the power I feel in saying no. It gives me such a feeling of self confidence. Sometimes, I won’t get a text from someone I reeeally fancied and was a great kisser. But who cares?! It’s disappointing, sure, but at the same time, I know that if they aren’t texting me now then they definitely wouldn’t be if I’d had sex with them. I know that I’ve saved myself in the long run.

So, respect yourself. Be hard to get. Don’t be that creepy, pushy lurker who dances up behind people or lingers around. Even worse, don’t be that person who begs or pressures another person into bed. It is not sexy, it’s not cool. Don’t get a reputation as easy or creepy. It can be hard to shake and it could even make it hard for you when you find someone you genuinely like. As I found out myself.

“ When you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you care about each other but during one night stands, why should the other person care about you? ”

So, that’s why I am through with one night stands. I feel so much better and safer for it. 

I like that I’ve had the experiences to learn from but that I can also close the door on that period of my life. Many of my friends still enjoy one night stands and I, of course, have no judgement on their actions. However, I am through with the ‘walk of shame’, worrying about passing people in uni whilst I am a sweaty, gross mess after the gym, the embarrassing feelings in the morning, and that feeling in my stomach when I realise I should book to get checked out. 

I still love being single and enjoy having sex, just not with people who I’ve only known for one night. 

There’s nothing to lose from waiting to sleep with someone. In fact, there is so much to gain by doing so. Even if you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you and you don’t care, I just wonder if you’re being honest with yourself…

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Written by Alice Webster, 9 months ago