OMG, I had a one-night stand...
June 12, 2007 8:13 PM   Subscribe

I had my first one-night stand over the weekend... (long) was wonderful, I'm a little shocked at myself and just a little conflicted.

I'm an urban professional female in my late 20s, unmarried and otherwise unattached. I've been in a few long-term relationships (one of which recently ended), and have never had any scandalous affairs--that I know of. Socially liberal but fairly conservative in my own (love) life. Lifelong atheist who believes in karma and doing the right thing in the here and now.

I can pass for one of the cool, extroverted kids and can play the part of the saucy, life-of-the-party character when I have to but would much rather be out with a few close friends or curled up with a book or pursuing one of my many geeky interests. I've got a mad thing for electronic engineers and other science-y guys. Sex for me has always been an expression of lust and love for a person I have a relationship with and care deeply about. Until now.

The other night I went home with a friend of a friend I had met only hours before. He was a witty, charming, intelligent and utterly beautiful (head to toe, ahaha) man with a devastating accent also living in the city. I tried to play aloof at first, but we had an instant connection. I knew what was happening every step of the way. It was safe. He was tender and respectful. I felt worshipped, sexy, desired, wonderful. I knew we would part ways--frankly, I wouldn't know what to do if he were to find me and ask me out again. It's days later and I still grin and blush at flashbacks of the night and my colleages have noticed a significant spring in my step. Needless to say, I loved it.

The experience has opened my mind--it was akin to being moved by a piece of great literature, a breathtaking landscape, a bite of heavenly cheese, only it was... sex. I gave in to lust and sex and seduction freely, like a single man more commonly might. (Certainly not all men, of course!) It's been a rite of passage I didn't ever think applied to me. I've always been a "good girl" but I don't know what that means anymore. I'm absolutely glad it happened and will cherish the memory, and I also recognize this as something I probably don't need to do again. Probably.

Not to overthink this delicious plate of beans, but I'm feeling a little guilty for not feeling guilty, if that makes sense. And I'm not intentionally being secretive, but I haven't been able to tell my friends just yet. ("Guess what happened this weekend...") I'm not sure what I would say. I'm not sure they'd understand. Actually, I think they would. Do you?

I'm not really looking to figure out if I'm a late-bloomer, a jezebel, a prude. And I'm not bragging, I promise!

The question that's been lurking in my mind is this:
Dishing to friends is one thing, but if you were my future life partner, would you like to (vaguely) know about such an experience or would you rather not know? Would it be wrong or reckless to want to share a toned down version of this? Would it be wrong if I wanted to keep it to myself as my own happy secret?

Thanks, AskMeFi.

Anonymous only because I want to get more involved in the MeFi community and attend a meetup or two in the future, and want to tell my story in my own time. Throwaway email account at askmefianony -at- gmail -dot- com, just in case.
P.S. In the middle of composing this, he called me twice on my mobile... oh dear. I'll be taking care of that on my own though--no serial life questions here from me!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I wouldn't volunteer it, but it isn't like this isn't done. I don't think a future life partner needs to know about this unless he asks.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:17 PM on June 12, 2007

It's no biggie. I assumed my partner had had one night stands, I assumed that he assumed the same of me. When I was younger, I would share details of my sex life with my friends, now, not so much.

As for your future partner, maybe you'll fall for an uptight naive virgin who wants to assume the same of you. It's an impossible question to answer.

And what's to feel guilty over? Did you hurt anyone? Break any laws? Charge? No?

And if it was so good (yeah, I've had a few like that), why not do it again?
posted by b33j at 8:20 PM on June 12, 2007

1. If I were your future life partner, I would not particularly care about this experience one way or another, since you weren't seeing me at the time (unless you wanted to use it as an illustration of how sex can be like great literature, a breathtaking landscape, a bite of heavenly cheese - I probably wouldn't mind such a conversation).

2. I don't see anything wrong with sharing a version of it with your close friends (people who might possibly be interested in who you have sex with).

3. It would not be wrong to keep it to yourself either; if you get more pleasure out of keeping it a secret, do that.
posted by frobozz at 8:22 PM on June 12, 2007

i doubt any future life partners are gonna care about the deets of a ONS. i mean, really, who cares (besides you)? it was one night. are you gonna care about future dude's one night stands? would you want him to share all the gorey? i don't think you have to say anything more about the dude beyond including him in the number you give when you have the number talk.
posted by violetk at 8:23 PM on June 12, 2007

Um, so you had a one-night stand. I'm not trying to be a dick here, or downplay the significance to you, or otherwise minimize it ... but I think you might be making a mountain out of a molehill, at least wrt future relationships.

It just doesn't seem like anything that most guys are really going to care about. In fact, if someone freaks out because you had a one-night-stand one time (with no huge negative consequences), I'd say they are probably psycho and should be avoided.

I don't think most people sit down when they start dating someone new and give them a rundown of every sexual situation they've ever been in. Personally, I'd never lie or intentionally conceal anything if my SO asked, but there are a lot of things I just don't ask about her, and she doesn't ask about me, because neither of us really think it's relevant.

Talking about old exes to current partners has always struck me as a little ... gauche. If there's a reason to talk about it, it's not off-limits, but it's just not something that I think really comes up naturally in conversation all that often.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:23 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I understand your feelings completely. In my mid-20s I experienced a couple such episodes (and gave myself far too much needless grief over them).

These days they're far in the distant past. I find that the people I date now are quite mature and understand. There's not much need to go into sharp detail about the nature of any fleeting past dalliances, be they one-night stands or summer flings or several-month couplehoods. It all falls into perspective. If there is someone you're serious about, your one-night stands, however lovely, will fade into thin but pleasant photo-memories. No one is going to be terribly concerned about them -- not you, not your partner (assuming your partner has some similar experiences).

As you get older, you realize that there are just a lot of possibilities in life and in relationships. Today, when I meet and date someone new, I know they've had a past. I hope they've had love before. I understand that they've been reaching out all their lives to have important moments with others, and I'm glad to be with them now. Your future SOs may feel the same, and if they don't, it's probably because they're smitten with you and have a bit of jealousy. But if it were a deal-breaker for someone 10 years from now that you had a one-night stand once or twice in the past, that would be food for thought.

My sage, older-woman advice to you is: Enjoy this. Enjoy yourself. You had a wonderful time, took a risk, and have a great positive memory. These experieces build your confidence, empathy, and skill. It doesn't mean you're sinful, guilty, or wrong, and it doesn't mean you're going to go off the deep end and do it all the time. Enjoy this for what it is. Celebrate the moment you have - you are young, unattached, attractive, and the world is full of possibilities. You've just experienced one of them. There are many more.

You're obviously a grounded person. Shed the guilt. Enjoy the fact that this has been part of your life.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on June 12, 2007 [5 favorites]

Your closest friends probably can tell you got laid. Congratulations!
posted by kindall at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2007

I want to hear all about my SO's sexcapades if only for the sheer hotness of it.

But if you wanted to keep it a secret, as in, something that is only yours and belongs to you and not a secret as in shameful, then more power to you. No guilt necessary, imo.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:53 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure why you'd feel guilty about this. You're happy, someone else sure sounds happy. No confessions required.

Nothing wrong with sharing it either. It brought a happy crinkle to these eyes.
posted by YamwotIam at 9:11 PM on June 12, 2007

Would you like to (vaguely) know about such an experience or would you rather not know?

Personally, since it was a great experience for you, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

Would it be wrong or reckless to want to share a toned down version of this?

No, unless you end up with someone who has jealous or possessive tendencies.

Would it be wrong if I wanted to keep it to myself as my own happy secret?

Not at all. Think about it from time to time, and enjoy it. I still shiver when I remember a lovely Dublin boy that I met in a London club.
posted by Liosliath at 9:11 PM on June 12, 2007

Reminds me of one night when I used to manage comedy clubs in SoCal. We had a bachelorette party sitting in the front few rows. They were having a good time, but were perhaps a little too noisy. The comic picked up on the vibe.

A bachelorette party, huh?

-- squeals of joy from the group

Where's the bride?

-- more squeals of joy; a woman is pointed out as the bride-to-be

Where's your fiance right now?

-- he's at the bachelor party!

Wow, really? You're both having parties tonight?

-- yes!

And your girlfriends here? Are their boyfriends and husbands at the bachelor party, too?

-- yes!

Wow, pretty cool. So all the girls are here, and all the guys are somewhere else. But I guess those guys didn't choose to go to a comedy club, did they?

-- laughter, hoots and hollers

Probably some place a little different, right? Heh. I've been to a few bachelor parties in my time.

-- more laughter, more hoots and hollers

Here's how those things play out...

-- more laughter, in anticipation of a good story

Your fiance is at this party. And your girlfriends' guys and husbands ... they're gonna find a woman for your fiance. You know, something sexy. A going away present.

-- laughter, more hoots and hollers, some shouts of oh-no-they-won't

Oh yes they will! This is how a bachelor party works! And this woman, this stripper, the hooker, whatever. She's going to ... offer ... herself to your fiance.

-- laughter, more hoots and hollers

And you know what? He's going to turn her down. "Nope, nope, he's going to say. I'm in loooove." Are you sure, sweetie? Just one night. On the house. "No, no, shucks ma'am, you sure are pretty, but I'm getting married tomorrow."

-- the crowd goes awwww....

That's right! He's going to turn her down! He's going to turn her down because he looooves you!

-- the crowd goes awwww....

But! But!

-- now he points at all the other women in the bachelorette party; a hush goes over the crowd

All your friends' guys and husbands?

Yeah, they're all gonna fuck her.

-- and the crowd goes wild

Moral of the story: Your future husband is out there somewhere. And he's not feeling guilty at all. Neither should you.
posted by frogan at 9:20 PM on June 12, 2007 [32 favorites]

In fact, if someone freaks out because you had a one-night-stand one time (with no huge negative consequences), I'd say they are probably psycho and should be avoided.

Everyone has to get that tattooed on their hand. Should be mandatory.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:22 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I guess people do it all the time. I didn't really think people did it all the time, but then again, I didn't think people really took drugs either. Then I realized that I am the most naive person in the world and that drug dealers are pretty smart in not choosing me as a likely target market.

Same goes for one night stands. I'd be too caught up in thinking over the idea of a one night stand to actually just go with it.

I'm glad you had fun. I'm sure you used protection and let's hope that his nickname isn't Herpes McSyphillus. (BTW, I've always wondered, how does a one night stand actually happen. I think your post kind of cleared up the answer a bit for me, so thanks. I'll squirrel away that piece of knowledge into my notebook.)
posted by onepapertiger at 9:27 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're totally going to end up marrying this guy, rendering your question moot. Karma.
posted by nanojath at 9:28 PM on June 12, 2007

It is your first one night stand, but will it be your best? Time will tell. And you shouldn't tell. Your future husband, that is. What would be the point? After all, do you want to hear about his one night stands?
posted by davejay at 10:19 PM on June 12, 2007

I don't think you really need to ever volunteer such information.

I was once walking with my partner through a large botanical city garden. She pointed to a thick copse of bushes.

`I once had sex in there' she said, grinning, blushing a little at youthful craziness.

I wasn't upset, but I could have happily lived my life without knowing about that. If we had been discussing `crazy places for sex' I would have been more amused!
posted by tomble at 10:22 PM on June 12, 2007

I still refer to my one night stand as "That time I slept with that chick accidentally... twice."

That's all my wife needs to know, and all she has really asked about. I'd tell her more if she cared, but somehow, Twue Wuv has a way of washing away caing about those answers. Really, I think that any future SO Of Quality (tm) that you may have will not begrudge you an evening of fun. Tell or not tell as the relationship warrants.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:29 PM on June 12, 2007

caing = caring in a strange failure of Firefox spellcheck
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:30 PM on June 12, 2007

Congratulations! You've learned what you want, and now you've discovered you can have it without complications!

I'm a gay man that spent his late teens having gay sex. In that time and place, it was almost entirely one-time-stands. Having a partner was very daring. (early 70's midwest). There is a quality of excitement and pleasure to such uncomplicated sex that can become addicting. If you catch this too early in life, it really can mess you up in the relationship department. I suffered this way but figured it out by my mid-20s. This is opposite of your experience, obviously.

You don't' have to tell about it. Just learn from the experience. And answer your phone. Just because you went so far the first date doesn't mean a 2nd date is dangerous. That spark of interest can be cultivated and encouraged. At least in the 80's, this was rather the normal way to start a gay relationship! First have sex, then get to know eachother :-) (What would you expect 2 guys to do? Guys get crazy going without).
posted by Goofyy at 12:03 AM on June 13, 2007

Um, can I have your life? You sound -exactly- like me and my current circumstances but your 'problem' isn't mine, and it really much of one, is it? Seriously, if you write a step by step guide to having that problem and I'll be first in line to buy it.

Which is all to say, don't feel guilty, and leave it until you meet your future life partner before having issues about whether or not to tell him about the fabulous love-life you had before he came along.
posted by np312 at 12:45 AM on June 13, 2007

This reminds me of a story. A catholic priest is sitting in his confessional, and a man comes in and says, "Bless me father for I have sinned. I am an 80 year-old man, I'm married, I have 4 children and 11 grandchildren. Last night I strayed and had an affair with two 18 year-old girls. I took them to a motel and had wild, animal sex with both of them all night long."
"Do you regret your sin?" the priest asked.
"No, Father."
"Do you have any remorse at all for what you did?"
"No, Father."
"My son, when was the last time you were at confession?"
"I've never been to confession. I'm Jewish."
"Then why are you here telling me this?"
"Father, I'm telling everyone!"
posted by stereo at 2:04 AM on June 13, 2007 [7 favorites]

You need to pop in a Sex and the City dvd, open a bottle of wine, and relax. Enjoy the experience now, it will fade away - and if there is someone out there who has told their serious partner about every aspect of their sex life pre-serious relationship, I'd be very, very surprised. (Good god, I never would.)
posted by meerkatty at 2:19 AM on June 13, 2007

Whilst you could actually cut a notch in your bed post to commemorate this the tally of all those you have slept with is probably going to be carried in your head. A future long-term partner will have his tally too and the totals will, no doubt, differ. The standard etiquette is for you both to act a little coy when it comes time to compare numbers - and perhaps tell a few stories . At this point whichever one of you has worked out they are the slut will round down while the prude will round up.
posted by rongorongo at 3:04 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Wow, you're over-thinking this.

Also, you're a grown woman. Thinking of yourself as a "good girl" is kinda silly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

OMG, you're a human being with sex organs and needs. There's nothing wrong with a random hookup if you're not hurting anyone.

Do it again, if you get a chance. I did, and it hasn't made any difference to my [later] life.

Jealousy is for the insecure, low-self-esteem crowd. You wouldn't to marry anyone like that anyway.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:05 AM on June 13, 2007

if you were my future life partner, would you like to (vaguely) know about such an experience or would you rather not know?

I think if the subject comes up, it's OK to discuss past partners in a matter-of-fact way. Call me jealous, but I think if you can't talk about it without sounding a bit too enthusiastic or wistful it's probably best left alone. Nobody wants to feel like the settled-for "good provider".
posted by teleskiving at 4:24 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


It sounds like your simply overthinking this plate of beans. And if you're going to date this guy, then all the better. You two just got a head start on your sex life.
posted by zardoz at 5:05 AM on June 13, 2007

Mod note: a few comments removed, take "is this real" speculating and snarking to email or metatalk
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:35 AM on June 13, 2007

My advice to get a blog was completely in earnest and not snark.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:43 AM on June 13, 2007

Most people have one night stands at some point. You had fun, no one got hurt, no need to feel guilty, and you don't.

Does a future life partner need to know? Well, if he specifically asks if you has sex with so-and-so, and that's who you had the one nighter with, then yes.

Otherwise, it's not something worth bringing up. It's assumed.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:50 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

If he keeps calling you, and then you guys go out for dinner, and then the next three weekends you spend getting it on, and then a year later you are living together, then maybe it wasn't a "one night stand."

In other words, you are a bit too close to the experience to even know what to call it, never mind know how to feel about it. You should tell your friend(s), but only if they are people whom you tell (and who tell you) everything. Other people (people at work, your second cousin, the 30,000 people who skim AskMe looking for the sex posts) don't really need to know, any more than you need to know that Bob down in Accounting finally talked his girlfriend into taking it up the butt, or Susan at the front desk waxes her mustache. It's part of that broad spectrum of life that gets called "private," and keeping the details a little fuzzy is good manners. "I met a nice guy, and I hope things work out" is great; "I met a nice guy and he left me walking bowlegged" is great only for your very closest friends, and even then only in certain circumstances.

As for future relationships, everyone has different ideas about what they do or do not want to hear. The safe approach is a fairly vague answer -- "I've mostly had long-term relationships", which everyone will understand as mostly long-term relationships but with a few fun weekends somewhere in there. There are people who will want to know every person's name and favorite positions, and you can share that kind of detail with them if it makes both of you happy.

And as I began, you will probably find as you go through life that there isn't always a clear line between "relationship" and "one night stand," at least at the beginning. It takes time to evaluate your feelings, and for them to evaluate theirs, and to see how things play out. Lots and lots of long-term relationships (including marriages for those allowed to have them) begin with a weekend of sex, and then a superstructure of feelings and "coupleness" is built on top of that experience. Other times you can have six months of flirting and hanging out that culminates in a night of sex ... and then ends there, forever.
posted by Forktine at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2007

1. People always get confused: Do I want to really know the person I'm involved with? Or only the good bits/parts that don't challenge our relationship?

Pick one and stick to it.

2. I suspect that one nighters are a kind of drug... you feel better without an actual health benefit. Don't get addicted, get involved with someone.
posted by ewkpates at 8:39 AM on June 13, 2007

oh, I've been there. I was in my early twenties, thought of myself as a "good girl," not because I felt sexually prudish at all, but because I always felt that the 'type' who had one-night stands was Samantha or Carrie from Sex and the City - i.e. not me, and so I existed in some gray area between Samantha and a wait-for-marriage virgin. Then a one-night-stand-opportunity presented itself, I took it, and spent the next couple of weeks thinking, "gee - *I* did *that*?!" Eventually I realized I was kind of proud of myself for owning my sexuality in a realistic way. I knew I wasn't attached to the guy, nor did I need to hear from him again to feel ok about what happened. I knew we were as safe as one can be. And I had a great time! But I had to rethink who I thought I was, sexually, afterwards, and I liked what I saw after that night than I did before.

Years later, it's not happened again, but I understand what I am ok with in terms of unattached sex and what I am not. Frankly, that kind of confidence has served me well since then... :)
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

In a relationship, secrets (about peripheral matters like this) can be fun. And so can sharing secrets.

So, either way, you have equipped yourself with a greater possibility for fun in future relationships. Congratulations!

I am male, late 20s, and I am somewhere between uninterested and intrigued by a gf's past. I can't see getting upset about it. I guess I'd rather be able to talk about that sort of thing, than pretend neither of us have a past. It makes me sad for a gf when she talks of past experiences with regret or shame; I'd rather that she enjoy the memories.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2007

If I was dating a girl who had a one night stand, I would want to know. But it would probably be a good idea to wait until after having sex with a guy before telling them, otherwise they'd get jealous.

A friend of mine recently had a one night stand with a guy and she was pretty happy about it (nervous and everything as well). It was actually a pretty cute story. Someone had sent her flowers, and she asked the delivery guy out, and slept with him that night. (I'm just mentioning this because someone said the story sounded 'fake', but it doesn't seem that way to me at all.)
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on June 14, 2007

Yeah, don't bring it up with another guy/suitor/boyfriend/husband unless they specifically ask -- and even then, it's your call. (I swear to God I always have to give the little speech to a new girl, "Look... Don't tell me about your ex-es, or compare me to them, and I won't tell you about mine.") Tuck it away into your little "pat myself on the back" file. Oh, and pat yourself on the back.

To your friends, dish dish dish! Not something I'm into anymore, but the last girl I dated for any length of time kept all her friends very well-informed, hehe.
posted by LordSludge at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2007

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