If you thought I was gone, think again…Your favourite columnist is back yet again so we can all talk about our favourite topic, a.k.a. SEX. If you’re a newbie to Nexus, nau mai! This column is for you, the middle-aged man reading covertly in the library corner; for you, the freshers pouring over the pages together in halls; and it’s for you: the masses, the former lovers, the people of the tron, aaaand pretty much everybody except my dad.
No matter who you are or how much experience you have, the more you can learn about sex, relationships, and everything in between, the more empowerment you have to be a bomb ass lover, emotionally and physically. We all know that discussion around sex in high schools these days is probably more comparable to sex ed lessons in Gloriavale than it is to healthy conversations around autonomy and lust, so some serious schooling needs to be done before I’ll allow any Nexus-abiding students to cross that graduation stage with true dignity.
With that said, the 2021 O-week issue just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t talk about one night stands.
The first time I wrote about one night stands for Nexus, I’m preeeetty sure I hadn’t even experienced one. Fast-forward through undergrad and let me tell you, I’ve learnt some things.
What I’d written back then about the decorum stands true. Namely, 1) Anything left behind should be considered gone forever. Even if it was an accident, it can look like you left it on purpose, which is kind of sad and transparent. 2) If you want to preserve your dignity, never show up to their place uninvited, and/or bombard them with text messages and calls late into the night. You won’t win them – or your dignity – back by crying on their couch at kickons while they’re off with their l some pull. Crucially, 3) Do. Not. Expect. ANYTHING further from them. There’s absolutely no guarantee you will ever be contacted by this person again, much less embark on a whirlwind romance. It’s a one-off contractual agreement with no further promises, and folks can oh so easily get hurt when they have high expectations. Do yourself a favour and avoid Googling “What percentage of married couples started off with sex on the first night?” because it may only get your hopes up (cough). It doesn’t matter how affectionate they are, how tightly they hold you the next morning, or how keen they appeared to be. If you’re still chasing them afterwards and it’s not being reciprocated, it’s time for the rough reality check – they got what they wanted (a root) and they’re onto the next thing (rooting someone else, probably). It sucks, it’s rough, but it’s not called a one night stand for nothing.
I’ve been on both sides of the catching-feelings-fucked-once scenario, so I have the authority to warn you it can be downright creepy when that slay does not get the hint. In most scenarios I’d like to keep it a charming little anecdote, no need to hit the “How you been?” yarn after 2 years, love. The mature thing to do is to understand if you’ve reached out again and it didn’t work out, or if they’ve updated their relationship status 3 days later, it’s time to move on. The ideal situation is mutual attraction consent, a fun night together, and someone who doesn’t stick around the next morning. Personally I think it’s great to get up and go first thing when you wake up, maybe a sleepy hello and see ya round, but get your flatmate out to do the morning pick up ASAP. To hell with awkward conversation and expecting eggs for breakfast, as far as I’m concerned the ideal situation is never seeing each other again (consider this before fucking your friends).
If the national census included a ‘Have you had a one night stand?’ tickbox, I’d bet my left kidney that a huge chunk of the student population would be saying yes. Not that that means you’re by any means weird if you haven’t done it – plenty of people can’t have sex without knowing somebody well first or without emotional attachment – it’s simply one of the easiest ways to chase the O in a student community filled with a smorgasbord of carefree young things. Almost like a free loving hippie commune. There’s something alluring about the idea of hitting it off with a stranger at the bar, based solely on hormones and attraction, with absolutely no knowledge of what a crappy person they probably are. It’s all the fun of flirtations and games with absolutely no follow-through or admin required. One night stands can be just the ticket to make you feel young, free, and alive. In that sense, I can see how they could even be the #1 preference for some folks.
In saying that, let me be real with you for a hot minute. There are some serious potential problems here, and one night stands often aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The thought of you lovely readers hopping right in the deep end and getting hurt, traumatised, or infected keeps me up at night, so listen here.
Loads of people absolutely hate the thought of one night stands. People can treat you like an object, label you unfairly, and have absolutely no regard for your comfort zone. You might be different, but a couple one night stands in and the way I viewed myself started to change. I genuinely struggle with some of the choices I made. I regret not saying no when I knew I wanted to, because I felt too awkward to do it at the time. I’m angry at the guys who stealthed the condom off halfway through, especially as a BCP-free bitch who kinda really wanted that protection. And being pursued after a one-time thing didn’t make me feel proud or confident, it made me feel uncomfortable and objectified for sex. Intoxication and sex is a weird mix. I know many people who felt like what they experienced was assault but they were drunk and don’t really know what’s right and wrong. The truth is that sex under the influence can absolutely equate to assault considering participants aren’t in a state to give informed consent, so bear that in mind. One night stands and drinking tend to go hand in hand, but if someone is clearly wasted, and especially if it’s someone you know that’s never expressed any interest before, the best bet is always to play it safe and don’t do it. Either party of the pair (or orgy, you do you) should not be afraid to say no. In saying that, no is not the only form of consent. I’d never understood why someone couldn’t say no until I got into a situation myself where I felt too awkward and afraid to say something to stop it. If it’s not a direct, enthusiastic, clear-headed yes, it also means no.
When you’re partaking in casual sex, people seem to like having opinions on one another. Be aware that ignorant people can be quick to dub you as a prude and just as quick to dub you a slut/man-whore/etc. I would be missing the elephant in the room if I didn’t remind everyone that the old adage of guys sleeping around = charming heroes and wāhine sleeping around = dirty sluts is unfortunately still very true. That could be a whole column on its own. Point is that we really need to think before we judge – would you like people talking about you/your best mate/your mother in her youthful prime the same way you’re talking about somebody else’s sexual escapades? You can’t judge what you don’t know. Nonetheless, unfortunately people will talk; what matters is making sure you’re okay with the choices you make, that you feel safe and happy, and that you aren’t hurting people around you because of those choices. If those things are all good, then you can get around every bloody flat on Greensboro if you so wish. Yolo.
I’ve got to be clichéd and say that the sex is usually significantly better with somebody you’re getting to know and adore. Everyone’s different, but one night stands can just as easily be kinda fucking terrible as they can be exciting and great. You mightn’t believe me now but going home alone is a million times better than getting fucked and crying afterwards. Even more so if you catch the clap because of it.
Seeing the world through a lens of trying to get fucked, looking for sex, and spending every Saturday night hoping for a root isn’t the healthiest mode of operation. Remember, the friendships you form at uni are far more important than any notches you collect. The summary of this braindump is to have fun, but be safe, be smart, don’t make anybody do anything they don’t want to do and don’t do anything you don’t want to do. If it’s not an enthusiastic YES, it’s a no. Make sure people know where you are if you’re off for a lay in case you need an emergency exit, speak up if something’s bothering you, have plenty of condoms at hand, and remember STIs are a thing. Slip slop slap and swab, as they say.