One Night Stands
Lou is willing to wait
I haven’t had sex in a year. There, just putting that out there. Or rather I’m not putting anything out there, and that’s kinda the point.
When myself and my ex parted ways a year ago, I was certain the last thing I wanted right then was another relationship. When I broke it down, this appeared to leave me with two options – celibacy or one night stands. I’ve always been one for living by the ‘get over someone by getting under someone else’ mentality, but I realised that for me that is not the healthiest approach. As usual, my initial reaction after breaking up with someone was to immediately find a willing woman to temporarily distract myself with. Something different happened this time though. A voice inside my head was shouting ‘no, no, noooo don’t do it!!’ and for the first time I actually listened.
In some circumstances, say in a meeting with your boss, getting the ride off different strangers every week would be kind of an awkward conversation topic. Not it would seem, with my peers. I’m the same, respectfully referring to sexual escapades when with friends is fun and normal and healthy. However, talking about not having sex –especially when you’re in your mid twenties – is something that makes people very uncomfortable. It’s sort of a taboo subject. When reminiscing about nights out, to recall of a one night stand: “It’s all such a blur, I barely remember it” often elicits understanding nods, the odd laugh. Announcing you went home solo, made a hot water bottle and read till you fell asleep and all by choice creates a terrible silence, punctuated by a distinct lack of eye contact.
You see, if I simply couldn’t get any action the response would be entirely different.
I know this because initially people mistook my sexless life as a ‘dry patch’ (which, even though it shouldn’t, always makes me giggle, because prolonged times without sex for many ladies tend to be anything but dry). People would reassuringly put their arms around my untouched body and tell me that, I’ll meet someone, it’s just a matter of time, it happens to all of us, it doesn’t mean I’m not attractive.. Eventually, when they had seen me kindly repel the advances of those showing interest while out, I confessed my celibacy was by choice. This changed people’s attitudes completely.
People who don’t know me all that well, when having not seen me for a while will impatiently interrupt the small talk and demand: ‘well, have you gotten laid yet?’ Other people will take it as a direct insult on their own sexual dalliances, and assume that I think I’m better than them, that I sit casting out judgements from upon my celibate high-horse. I’ve heard whisperings that I’m a little bit stuck up, think I’m better than everyone else, if I don’t want a relationship fair enough, but there’s no harm in a few one night stands.
That’s just it though. The longer this went on the more thought I was forced to give in. When I first decided to give myself a bit of a break, I wasn’t making a point about it, it just seemed right for me at the time. Since then however, in all the free headspace I’ve had that’s not taken up by sex and the complications it can bring, I’ve found myself giving a lot of thought to the nature of one night stands as I see them occur around me. Which essentially are drunken encounters with near strangers that never seem to offer all that much sexual enjoyment and leave people feeling a little bit bad about themselves.
Over the years, friends – of any sexuality – have disappeared from by my side on the street and are nowhere to be seen, to later confess that they were hiding from a one night stand they saw approaching. I’ve received messages along the lines of ‘call me and pretend there’s been an awful accident I need an excuse to get out of here NOW’, or even ‘PLEASE google this address I don’t know where I am!!!’. Working early on Saturday and Sunday mornings meant regular encounters with those making the walk of shame home, and shamed they did look.
After all that thinking , it came down to two sticking points that have stopped me from engaging in one nights stands this past year. One, they seem to only occur when people are drunk. Drunk sex is just NOT HOT. Tipsy sex with someone you are even reasonably familiar with can be a great revelation, but drunk sex with a relative stranger can often result in chosen partner drunkenly thinking it’s a great idea to re-enact something they saw happen in porn. It’s not. And I hate to ruin the illusion but it can also be quite gross.
A full night of drinking leaves nobody tasting too fresh. Anywhere. And this is really just a personal thing, but I tend to carry a toothbrush everywhere I go and it would seem to me that the majority of people do not. Hours of drinking and one night standing and not a toothbrush to be seen? No thank you!
The second is the whole walk of shame thing. I get that so much of the history of sexuality in this country is surrounded by secrecy and shame. I don’t want to perpetuate that cycle. If I was to have a one night stand with somebody, I’d want to walk home with my head held high, proud of my sexuality. Not sheepishly confirming with awkward glances away from the bus driver or my neighbours that last night I did something society says I shouldn’t; I had sex with someone I don’t really know. And I didn’t even brush my teeth!
If I was to encounter someone when I was sober, even reasonably so, and we had instant chemistry I wouldn’t hesitate in going home with them. I’m not against one night stands; I don’t think great sex can only be had in a monogamous relationship or with somebody you know really well. I don’t believe that women should behave according to certain definitions of what’s ‘right’ and ‘proper’, nothing like that. For me though, it’s gotten to the stage where I only want to have good sex, guilt and shame free sex, at least semi-sober sex and definitely not sex for the sake of it.
With these ideals it’s meant that I haven’t been able to partake in one night stands as they appear to me. Instead of having a one night stand, I’ve made a year long stand. It’s been sexless yes, but there have been no walks of shame, no fear of bumping into somebody that I regret, space in my head to figure out what I actually want instead of going blindly from one person to the next. I’m not sure when my time of celibacy will end, but I’m confident it’ll be really satisfying, and for that I am wiling to wait!