In the hippie era, lovers around the world wore their hearts on their sleeves. Love flowed as freely as water and one-night stands were the norm rather than the exception. Even India was influenced by the ‘hook up in a jiffy, break up in a jiffy’ philosophy. But then social mores became dominant and forced casual sex to hide behind closed doors. What is the status now?
Woman on Top
Even a decade ago, pre marital sex was scared to even peep out of the closet and look the society boldly in the eye. But now, women are empowered enough to know carnal desires are as natural as hunger and thirst. Sexual wants are not sins to be swept under the carpet but throbbing needs that have to be satisfied. There is no bowing down to unjust impositions laid down by the society that unfairly views a man playing the field as virile and a woman doing the same as promiscuous.
Women are now exercising their right to remain single and yet mingle. Aside the contraceptive pill that has been a woman’s true friend over the years, the advent of the 72-hour emergency pill, available over the counter in most cities, has empowered her further. The pill is now as much a part of the contents of a woman’s handbag as it is of casual conversation between friends. Arunima, a marketing executive based in Hyderabad says, “I always carry them with me. You never know when and where you might bump into a hottie.”
Another factor that has seen resurgence in one-night stands is the increase in the milieus which can spawn such associations. Pubs, clubs, discotheques and impromptu soirees have turned into prime spots where one can ‘bump into a hottie’. And technological advancement has ensured that the meeting ground can be virtual too. Social networks, dating sites, chat rooms et al are all jostling for their share in the mating pie. Young couples meet, hit it off and have a good time and then part ways. Women do not want to play the old waiting game anymore. “If I spot a man I like, I just go over and say hi to him. Waiting for him to catch my coy glances and then approach me takes way too much time and effort,” feels Arunima.
Women like Arunima may feel making the first move is a natural step towards a casual liaison but how do men feel about the same? When it comes to one night stands, men and women seem to be poles apart. Most men from the urban milieu still harbor dual standards. While having an easy romp in the bed once in a while is ‘macho’ for them, they want the brides to be ‘pure’. Yes, old hat but still very much relevant if some of the wedding classifieds are anything to go by. Of course, the happy news is that the population of such narrow-minded individuals is on the wane. For every ‘primitive caveman’, there is a progressive guy for whom the past of the woman he wants to build a future with is irrelevant.
Emotions at Play
Considering the evolved state of women and most men, there seems 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. Some women do get emotionally involved even during a blasé romp between the sheets. Call it their hormonal leanings 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 start craving for marriage, kids and grandchildren at some point or the other. Again, the heartening news is that most ladies are wise enough to discern between temporary flings and long-term relationships and rarely muddle up the two.
Casually ever after?
“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. 28-year old Chennai based banker Neeta says, “I met Rishi at a pub and we hit it off right away. We ended up spending the night at his house. The next morning when I said goodbye I thought that was the last I would see of him. I quashed the emptiness I was feeling in the pit of my stomach and came home. He must have felt some connection too for he traced my Facebook account and contacted me. One thing led to the other and now we are married three years,” she says happily. Neeta’s may be a one off case but some casual relationships do culminate in something meaningful, given the chance.
Not all men and women are wired in the same way and the reactions to casual sex vary from person to person. The bottom line, however, is that one night stands may be non-committal expressions of sex but in no way should they be treated frivolously. Adequate precautions, sober state of mind and full awareness of consequences are mandatory. Maturity of the people involved matters a lot so that things don’t become messy the day after.