Have Women Changed Their Stance About One-Night Stands?

During the hippie culture of the ’70s when lovers wore their hearts on their sleeves, one-night stands were a rage. Cut to the present: the increase in cyber and mobile infidelity coupled with odd working hours and the time spent away from family at pubs, discotheque, etc. has seen a rise in ‘temporary’ flings. Young couples meet, hit it off, and have a good time and then part ways. All these have brought one night stands back into the limelight.

one-night stands

So what has changed between then and now? As a wise one said, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Same perceptions: It is rather unfortunate but most men’s perceptions have remained the same over the years. Most of them still have double standards. While they consider having affairs as macho they still want their brides to be ‘untouched’. A woman who agrees to spend the night on the first date gets labeled as cheap, easily available, etc.

The good news is that such thinking is on the wane. And the better news is that modern women have evolved much more than their male counterparts. But the best news is that for every primitive man there is a progressive guy who cares only about the present of the woman he loves and does not bother with her past.

Empowered women: Even a decade ago, sex before marriage was unheard of. Yes, couples indulged in pre-marital sex but behind closed doors. Discussing such a topic in public was taboo. Women always presented their coy and demure sides to society. But liberated women of the “naughty-nineties” onwards know what they are doing and are not ashamed to openly admit to satisfying their sexual appetites.

They no longer imprison themselves in societal impositions. There is no guilt trip involved. Today’s woman knows about the options available to her like the pill and the 72-hour emergency pill. She is not hesitant to adopt the appropriate contraceptive technique nor does she think twice before approaching her gynecologist with queries about her sex life. She is proud of her anatomy and knows how to carry herself and keep the ‘wolves’ at bay.

Bollywood reflection: The aaj ki nari does not feel ‘used’ any more by indulging in a quickie on the side. “She is just satisfying her physical need which is as natural as hunger and thirst. As long as both partners involved are consenting adults and are indulging in safe sex, what a woman does is her prerogative,” says one relationship counsellor.

Bollywood reflects the changing mindset of women. The movie heroine has come a long way from the adarsh Bharatiya nari who mouthed dialogues like yeh paap hai to the current leading ladies (Anushka in Band Baaja Baaraat, Rani Mukherjee in Hum Tum) who initiate the lovemaking process. The distinction between the vamp and the heroine has blurred in films as the heroines sport ample shades of grey and are no longer pristine white. The woman of the present generation knows her mind like Gul Panag in the recent flick Turning 30. She is no longer like Ash in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam who thought kissing would get her pregnant. The image of two flowers kissing each other in the breeze has given way to real kissing scenes in which heroines display a lot more chutzpah than their heroes.

Emotions at play: Considering the evolved state of women, there seem to be a lot of benefits to be derived from a no-strings-attached relationship. One problem that remains, however, is that women are much more emotionally vulnerable than men. Call it their hormonal setup or their genetic constitution, at some level a part of their heart gets involved and leaves them susceptible to pain, sadness and even depression. They get into the affair knowing nothing can come out of it, yet most of them cannot stop craving marriage, kids and grandchildren.

Happy ending?: “I am always looking for meaningful one-night stands.” Late British actor Dudley Moore may have made this comment jokingly but sometimes, one-night stands do have a happily-ever-after ending.

Nowadays, a woman does not hesitate to make the first move. “If she feels this can lead somewhere she should call the guy and let him know that. Then she has to respect whatever decision he takes. Usually, commitment phobes indulge in one-night stands and to expect them to smother you with gifts and flowers may be a wee bit too much. Their attitude is likely to be Slam, Bam, and Thank you Ma’am, Keep your eyes and options open when you indulge in a rapid romp between the sheets. It may perk you up instantly but to expect it to lead up the aisle may be wishful thinking.

Precautions:  Do not get into a one-night fling harboring any illusions of marriage or you may end up getting disappointed because rarely do such affairs culminate in marriage. And there is the omnipresent threat of STDs and unwanted pregnancies in case the protective/ preventive devices fail to do their jobs. Some one-night stands may start under the influence of alcohol and pose more risks. One night stands may be non-committal expressions of sex but in no way should they be treated frivolously.

Adequate precautions, a sober state of mind and full awareness of consequences are mandatory. The maturity of the people involved matters a lot so that things don’t become messy the day after.

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