Doing a one-nighter

There are many girls out there for whom a one-night stand is an unthinkable thing.  Sex with someone you’ve only just met?  No thanks.  Getting down and dirty with someone you barely know?  No way.

Now, I will freely admit that I have had a few one-night stands.  And to clarify: my definition of a ONS is having sex with someone you hadn’t met before that day and most probably won’t see again.  I’m not proud of it, but neither am I ashamed.  For those of us who don’t attach emotions to sex, and who can go into the act with open eyes and a knowledge that it will be a purely physical encounter, one-night stands are hardly taboo.  But there are many out there who would never consider doing at, and judge those who do.

I’m well aware that a large number of people, both men and women, would have a whole host of adjectives to hand when it comes to describing me and my fellow one-night standers.  ‘Slut’, ‘easy’ and ‘just asking for an STI’ are a few choice phrases that come to mind.  Put the shoe on the other foot, and we could come back with ‘frigid’, ‘prude’ and ‘delusional’.  Tomato tomahto…  Sex and how we approach it, as with most things, is a personal preference.

We live in an era where sexual liberation and equality are becoming more and more prevalent.  Free contraception is on offer to make recreational sex a safe and enjoyable thing.  So why do people still have a problem with one-night stands?  Is it the fact that we’re more open about it?  If it’s OK for guys to do it and talk about it, shouldn’t that be the same for girls?  Does sleeping with someone you’ve never met before make you a morally corrupt person?

Clearly there are different grades of sexual expression going on around us.  If you think of it as a scale with those who are saving themselves for marriage at the bottom and those who make one-night stands a weekly occurrence at the top, most people will find themselves in the vast grey area in between.  Just as a dogmatic Catholic might look at my behaviour with horror, I can be equally shocked by someone who sleeps with a different person every week.  Like I said, personal preferences…

So, you could say that the taboo of the one-night stand is purely relative.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, although I will say that some are more extreme than others.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional (read: once or twice a year) one-nighter, so long as safe sex is practised and both people involved are fully aware that it will only ever be just that: a one-nighter (there are plenty more caveats such as make sure he’s not married/has a girlfriend and don’t do it if you’re a fragile kind of person but then we’d be here all day).  It’s my body, my life, my decision.  I am also of the opinion that sleeping with someone you know and trust and care about is generally a lot better than with someone you only know by their first name.  But that’s not to say that a night of no-holds-barred sex can’t be just as physically fulfilling.  After all, sex is enjoyable (at least, most of the time) and can be great and leave you with an incredible glow and a feeling of physical satisfaction, so why should people in relationships have all the fun?

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Face value

If you ask a girl about what she looks for in a man, she might give any number of answers.  ‘I want a guy who makes me laugh’, ‘I’d like to find a guy who I can trust’, or ‘I just want someone who gets me’.  These are all valid points, and these answers may certainly be truthful.  However, I wonder how much is not being said.

We’re used to men focusing on the physical: ‘I’m a boobs/arse/legs guy’, ‘full lips are a must’, ‘she can’t be fat’ etc.  These criteria tend to preceded the funny/kind/intelligent aspects, and whilst women might not be as vocal about it, we also have our aesthetic preferences.  Let’s be honest, the physical attraction has got to be there at some point, so why are we judged as being shallow by saying that we’d like a guy who’s tall with great arms or a chiselled face or rugby thighs or washboard abs?  Why aren’t we allowed to openly say that we’d like to be chatted up by someone who looks a bit like David Gandy and it doesn’t matter (initially at least) if they don’t have the wit of Oscar Wilde?

Granted, it depends on what kind of scenario you’re in.  I know I’m not the only girl who, when on a night out with friends, will pull a total bitch-face* at anyone who doesn’t score at least 7/10.  In a situation where you’re making quick (and slightly vodka-blurred) judgements, both men and women will assess a potential flirting partner on their looks.  It may sound harsh to say it, but you’re not exactly going to gaze across a bar at some 5’9” overweight sweaty balding guy wearing an England football shirt and think ‘oooh I bet he’s got a great sense of humour, c’mere STUD!’  Or maybe you would, in which case we have completely different tastes in men…  Perhaps the difference lies in what a girl’s ultimate goal is.  If she’s looking for a quick fling, then it’s understandable she’d want it to be with some hunk with biceps big enough to throw her around the bedroom and cheekbones you can cut yourself on.  Personality isn’t the main factor here, it’s sexual chemistry and physical attraction.

On the other hand, I totally accept that someone who doesn’t float your boat initially can grow on you over time.  I have certainly found myself in a situation where I’d met a guy and hadn’t been initially attracted to him, but through spending time with him and getting to know him I became rather besotted.  Average Guy had transformed into Sex God in a matter of months, and no one was more surprised than me.  Needless to say, it didn’t work out, but I think that sort of illustrates my point.  When I think of the couples I know who have been together a long time, nearly all of them were friends before they became romantically involved, and that says a lot.

But I still don’t think that this should mean we can’t admit to wanting to be with a guy who’s physically appealing to more than just his mother.  If we’re talking long-term relationships and even marriage, why shouldn’t I want to be with someone who doesn’t want to make me gag into my pillow a little bit when I wake up every morning?  Obviously we all have varying tastes, and one girl’s David Beckham may be another’s Jonah Hill, and thank heavens for that otherwise there’d be a lot of sad and lonely men and women out there.  But, I do believe we’re allowed to want someone who ticks the box both physically and emotionally.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty damn picky appearance-wise when it comes to men, and perhaps this is where I’m going wrong.  I’ll also admit that at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.  Perhaps I just find it hard to get past the outward appearance in order to know the ‘inner beauty’.  In my defence, I know I’m not the only girl who’s like this – there are girls I know who will only date male models or at least a guy who’s ripped enough to be in an Abercrombie catalogue.  Even I think this is faintly ridiculous – I know that looks aren’t everything and, ultimately, I’d like to find a guy who offers stimulating conversation, humour, and a sense of trust.  But is it too much to ask to be attracted to someone both inside and out?

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‘Whaddya mean you don’t believe I was on this month’s Men’s Health cover??’

* Definition of ‘bitch-face‘: looking at a sub-standard guy who has dared to chat you up with a ‘you think you can tap this?!’ expression on your face.  Raised eyebrow optional.