Sex on the beach: Why settle for the drink when you can have the real thing? Your chances of a one-night stand might increase this summer, according to a recent UK survey finding that 40 percent of women under 30 said they’ve done the deed during vacation.
This isn’t a huge surprise. Inhibitions drop when you escape business attire, Microsoft Excel, and your overbearing boss for a week. Still, I find it disconcerting that women are often judged for such encounters, and sometimes regret the decision as a result.
Consider a Durham University study in which 80 percent of men rated their feelings after a one-night stand positively, compared to only 54 percent of women. What’s more, many of the women reported feeling “used.” Not shocking when you think about it. After all, “walk of shame” usually refers to a woman.
But if both parties are consenting, what’s so shameful?
“It’s the lock and key thing,” says one of my guy friends. “A woman who has casual sex is like a weak lock because she’ll open for anyone.” [Insert I’m-so-sick-of-this-analogy groan here.] “But a key [the man] that opens any lock is the master key.”
Translation: A woman is supposed to “stay strong” and resist temptation. And if she doesn’t? She’s flawed. Weak. (Can someone please demand a product recall on these completely inadequate locks?) Besides, should sex really be about breaking into something? (*Cough, slippery slope, cough.*)
Now, I know the majority of guys are respectful, but I’ve heard some variation of this “lock and key” analogy—even from friends, niceguys—way too many times. Not only is it a double standard, it’s stopping many of you from having truly amazing sex. Just imagine if a woman didn’t feel like she was “giving in,” doing something wrong, and actually started enjoying herself. Everyone would win.
The first step: Be respectful during your one-night stands—whether or not either of you wants a relationship. The more respectful men are, the more (and better) sex everyone will have. Here’s how.
While you’re hooking up
Be generous. No one really expects a one-night stand or first-time sex to be mind-blowing. You don’t need to be amazing—women know that there’s a lot of pressure on guys to perform—but you should try. It says that you care about her enjoyment, too . . . even if it’s only a one-time thing.
After the act
Talk to her. I don’t mean dirty talk (unless that’s what you’re into). I’m talking about a person-to-person conversation afterward. (If you’re too tired immediately after, do it the next morning.) It doesn’t need to be “sweet nothings,” and you don’t need to ask about her hopes and dreams—just something that indicates she’s more than a means for your pleasure. Maybe even cuddle. (Men like it, too.) What not to do: Roll over afterward, then point to the door the next morning.
Think of it this way: You both shared something—whether there were emotions involved or not. Respect the moment (and her)—even if you have no intention of seeing each other again.
The next morning
Be a gentleman. You don’t necessarily need to make a gourmet breakfast and walk her home. But if it’s raining in the morning, lend her an umbrella. If she left her jacket at the bar, lend her a sweatshirt. You get the idea. Trust me, being polite isn’t going to make her want a relationship if she doesn’t want one in the first place.
Return to normalcy. Let’s say you were friends—and you don’t want anything more or less. Behave exactly as you did before hooking up. If you Gchat her everyday at work, then Gchat her everyday at work. It’s only weird and awkward if someone makes it weird and awkward. Don’t let it be you.
You may have noticed that the foundation of some of this advice is simple consideration for another human being. (I mean, you’d probably lend an umbrella to an acquaintance if he didn’t have one, right?) See, a funny thing happens when you see the woman in your bed, not as weak lock, but as—wait for it—a woman in your bed. Respect follows without a second thought—as will better, uninhibited sex.