The Problem With One-Night Stands

“If I was a complete stranger and you slept with me on the first night, I’d never call you again. That’s one of my rules,” scolded the guy driving me home. It was noon and I was still wearing last night’s cocktail dress, my hair matted into fetching postcoital clumps. While I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve found myself in this particular scenario, I’ve never bought into sexual timelines. I’ve always just done what I wanted as long as it felt right. But maybe when it comes to sex, like they say in fashion, it’s better to look good than to feel good. And to this man, I looked like a slut.

I tugged at the hemline of my tiny dress. “Gee, sorry, Mister Goody-Two-Shoes,” I mumbled, trying to will away my raging hangover. My retorts are about as strong as my willpower.

He seemed like a really nice guy. We’d been introduced the night before by a childhood friend. I trusted her judgment, and it didn’t hurt that he was handsome and highly entertaining. Over tequila shots, we’d pieced together that some of our other friends had been meaning to set us up for years, but we were never both single at the same time. One thing led to another, and I leapt into bed with him.

In terms of waiting for sex, I’ve run the gamut from four months (for a fast-talking bad-boy trader) to four hours (for a one-eyed hockey player who thoughtfully penciled me in to his “afternoon slot.”). And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that men can fold on the first night with little to no consequence, but women are held to a different standard. A double standard. And as heinous as the inequality is, I understand it.

Hear me out.

Sex sends off different signals for men than women. While Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes was probably thinking, “Let’s call this girl a cab so I can watch football on my couch,” after our first-date sex, I started wondering what our kids might look like. Men think “bondage,” women think “bonding.” It’s just how our brains are wired. So when my date shamed me with his sexist rule, it forced me to reconsider my “no-rules” rule. I decided that no matter what, we girls should never, ever sleep with a guy we’re interested in dating on the first night.

That might seem like a no-brainer, and I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey, thanks for the hot tip, ho-bag!” But as someone who’s made the mistake before, trust me. If you give it up on the first date, you will most likely never hear from him again. The best you can hope for is a ride of shame home and a set of sex dreads to rival Bob Marley.

When I floated my theory to a coed gathering, the response was agreement (men) and panic (women). There was one timid optimist at the table who regaled us with the tale of two people, dining separately at Le Bilboquet, who ended up boffing in the restroom and are now married with two kids. This urban sex legend seemed designed to encourage delusion (and, having since been to Le Bilboquet, I call bullshit—you’d have better luck fucking on an airplane than you would in the tiny bathroom of this Upper East Side French bistro). That said, when I shared this saucy story with Goody-Two-Shoes, he posited that it might be possible to have sex in the restaurant’s miniature water closet “from behind.” Hmmm.

Maybe he’s not so virtuous after all.  And maybe this hard-and-fast rule isn’t without its exceptions.

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