Ella Wills shares her thoughts on the politics of a one night stand
It’s the morning after the night before: I lie in post-sex bliss taking in the view of my new bed buddy, waiting for him to wake the fuck up, so we can fuck again. I am sex goddess. I am the envy of the housemates I can hear creeping past my door. I am sex personified.
So my ego is somewhat bruised when, under a week later, I am watching a boy that I’m 96% sure to be my recent conquest dart across the road to avoid my path.
This is now our third encounter of the week. (Fourth if you count the sex). Having already spent an evening at the pub together, amongst our very mutual friends, you would think that any awkwardness would have been dispelled. You would be wrong. He spent the evening stunned, a rabbit in the headlights, growing only more terrified with each joke I attempted to crack. Now, as I watch him make so blatant an escape, I feel the heavy weight of something like regret sinking down. I am ashamed of my one night stand.
He might be avoiding the lingering image of his fingers up my butthole, but, you would think that if you have reached that level of intimacy then small talk would be a doddle. Wrong again.
Post-sex etiquette is a difficult thing. Particularly in the case of one night stands. If your enjoyable, go-get-some session has been surprisingly good then you immediately want more – moving your partner into the problematic role of ‘fuck buddy’. Girls then face the added irritant of their mythologised tendency towards emotional attachment – fuelling terror amongst men that a girl’s proposition for ‘Round 2’ equals girlfriend, marriage and baby.
Combine this with patriarchal language that classifies women who sleep around as ‘sluts’, while men are ‘bachelors’, and you have a major obstacle course to navigate between the sheets of your sweaty sex palace and the front door. What was a simple shag-athon the night before, all too quickly translates into potential rejection and one more notch towards having a ‘reputation’.
Having recently convinced myself that I am much more mature now and I can sleep with boys and not fall in love with them (and end up in the foetal position weeping because they haven’t replied to my text for a week) it comes as a surprise when, oops, here it goes again: I feel like shit. I also have the pleasure of a brand new achievement – for the first time I am worried what people might think of me.
Sex is complicated. It is easy to convince yourself when flying on post-orgasm endorphins that you will be ok with a one-time fling. I know this because I’ve duped myself into it one too many times. Sex at university is even more complicated. In the bubble of rampant hormones and alcohol it is easy to assume that casual sex is the norm. I think we are overlooking the fact that emotions and sex can come hand in hand; it is too easy to think with our dicks and transform it into some clinical drinking game, a list to be checked off – see The Tab’s ‘definitive list of one night stands’.
We all talk the talk – we are Gods/Goddesses of Sex – but I think we ought to remember that we are far from sexual maturity. If a recent post to my boy’s FB wall is anything to go by, he ran straight to his football club to declare himself “The Monet of Fingering.” With two Monets hanging over my bedstead I think I will be the judge of that. Besides, where is this astonishing arrogance when he is avoiding all eye contact with me?
In my case, there is one very important thing to remember. I only had sex on the brain.
In the strictest sense this was the result of an unabashed pre-period horn, getting one in before the parting of the Red Sea. This does not make me a slut, just a girl with a need for some peen.
Of course, I think it is time that I accept that whilst I may partake in my generation’s revolution of casual sex, I do have a tendency toward emotional attachment – even if only for a week. I will inevitably feel blue if the boy doesn’t come chasing after me. Fortunately though, I have some long-suffering friends who will pick up the pieces.
And hey, maybe I’m not alone. If his vanishing act is anything to go by, this guy seems to be just as much of a self-conscious train wreck as me.
Illustration by Leyla Reynolds