By FAITH PONTI
One night stands: We hate them, we love them, we want them, we stalk Tinder to have them and sometimes we regret them. They can relieve stress, boost confidence and teach you about yourself and your body. However, they can also send you into a spiraling abyss of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred. Unfortunately, we live in a society that predominantly “slut-shames” young women for choosing to have sex outside of a relationship while simultaneously praises young men for accruing as many partners as possible. Society asks purity and celibacy of women — who are otherwise labeled as whores — but expects unencumbered sexual prowess from men, who fear being called pussies should they fail to “get it in.”
This, in my opinion, is complete bullshit. Your number of sexual partners — be it zero or 50 — has no bearing on your worth as a human being. You are not defined by the amount of times you brought someone home after happy hour, nor are you defined by the nights that you left the bar by yourself to come home to some solo Netflixing. As a woman, you should not feel the need to subdue your sexuality or desires in order to better conform to an F’d up society that wants you to keep your lips — all of them — closed. And, as a man, you should know that others’ respect for you shouldn’t stem from how many women with whom you’ve hooked up. Ideas like these are archaic, sexist and harmful to all of us.
This being said, I truly believe that having one night stands is a choice that can affect us in extremely positive or negative ways. Should you choose to have one (Congratulations! Sex! Yay!), I think that there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself that will help you have a generally positive and O-fficially amazing experience.
- “Am I comfortable around this person?” We all have insecurities, sure. Maybe one of your boobs is bigger than the other (fun fact: All girls have a bigger boob and a smaller boob!), or you’re not feeling as swole as you’d like to feel (fun fact: You don’t have to be swole to be sexy!). However, if you’re with someone who makes those insecurities seem less like flaws and more like turn-ons, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Anyone you have sex with should, for those couple of hours (or 20 minutes; hey, who’s judging?), make you feel like the sexiest human alive. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being naked around them, then maybe this person isn’t the best one night stand choice.
- “Does this person respect me?” Did they ask for your consent? Did they listen when you told them you wanted to use a condom? Did they stop doing the thing that made you feel weird? Do they remember your name? Do they take you out to a five-star breakfast the next morning and offer to fly you to Jamaica for the weekend? (okay, the last one is slightly unrealistic, but still encouraged.) If not, then back away. Fast. You are not an object; you are a human with thoughts, feelings and needs. You deserve to be heard and be respected, and to be touched only with your consent. Respect is key: Do not get into bed (or the couch or the kitchen floor or the backseat of your car) with someone who doesn’t understand this concept!
- “Is this the right decision for me?” Why are you having sex with this person? Make sure that you’re choosing to have sex for you and you alone. Make sure to evaluate the situation to some degree. If you know that you’ll regret your decision in the morning — either because this person has hurt you in the past and you shouldn’t let them back into your life, or because this person is your best friend’s girlfriend/boyfriend/life partner — then walk away. Similarly, if you’re feeling too much pressure from this person, make sure you ask yourself whether you’re having sex for you or for them. Never, never, never have sex for anyone but yourself. You’re a pretty young thing whose body serves no one but you. Make every sexual decision with clarity and self-respect.
All-in-all, your body is your own, and you should be able to do with it whatever you choose. Whether you decide get freaky with the hottie from your biology class or not, feel no shame. You are sexy. You are a bad ass. You deserve to spend your nights however, wherever, and in whatever position you want. So get on with your bad self!
Faith Ponti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org