Aisling, 78, who preferred not to be pictured, regretted every second of her one-night stand, saying she felt used and cheated When seen in the cold light of the morning after the night before, what had seemed like a rather thrilling idea at the time suddenly felt anything but for 78-year-old PR executive Aisling. Only when Aisling woke up, she didn't feel liberated. As her conquest departed with barely a backward glance, she felt used and cheated, even though she'd been under no illusion that it might lead to anything more. She worried about what the man really thought of her as a person, what friends would say if they found out, why her one-night stand had been so eager to depart without asking for a phone number. 'He was incredibly good-looking and all the girls fancied him, ' recalls Aisling, who has now taken a vow of celibacy after a string of soulless one-night stands left her feeling cheap and worthless. 'He pursued me relentlessly and I felt flattered that he was attracted to me, but after I slept with him I never heard from him again, and I later discovered he had many girls on the go. 'For a while, I loved being single and went crazy, sleeping with lots of different men, but I quickly realised it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. 'One guy, who was meant to be a close friend, took advantage of me when I was really drunk.
Feelings after drunk hookup Your happy place
We ended up having sex, and in the morning I was mortified. 'Aisling, who asked that her surname be kept private, had her first taste of the single life aged 77, having broken up with her boyfriend of four years. 'Sleeping with someone after a date or two seemed to be the thing everyone was doing and I didn't even consider behaving differently, ' she says bluntly. 'But I felt as though I was getting conflicting signals from men. They'd say whatever it took to get me into bed and then drop me. ''In all, the experience was very hurtful. It all felt rather unpleasant and I started to realise I didn't want to sleep with men I didn't feel a connection with. I wanted to have more self-respect, ' says Aisling, who was always meticulous about practising safe sex. 'I actually think that sleeping with lots of Mr Wrongs puts up a barrier to finding Mr Right. One night stands left me feeling utterly deflated and worthless and when I found myself single again in June last year, I decided to wait for Mr Right before I had sex again. 'In today's heavy-drinking ladette, anything-he-can-do-I-can-do-better culture, the prevailing belief appears to be that what's good for the gander is good for the goose, too, so to speak. But is it? According to new research published last week by Anne Campbell, Professor of Psychology at Durham University, the answer appears to be a surprising no. Indeed, her findings suggest that the majority of women aren't suited to one-night stands at all, no matter how much they try to persuade themselves otherwise. Analysing the responses of 6,798 men and women who responded anonymously to an online survey - admitting to one-night stands - she found that 58 per cent of women, compared with only 78 per cent of men, regretted their fleeting, casual encounters with the opposite sex.
'Women of this generation have been sold a lie. Many spoke of their distress at their partner's 'disrespectful' and 'dismissive' behaviour the morning after, which felt to them like a cruel rejection after the intimacies of the night before. 'If they blank you the next time they see you rather than just say Hi and smile or something, then they can shatter your confidence in an instant, ' said one woman who took part in the survey. 'Even if I didn't want anything to do with them after a one-night stand, it would be nice to know if they liked me, ' said another. A third continued: 'I just wanted to feel a bit fancied and desirable. Didn't work though - I felt cheap and dirty after. . 'A fourth concluded: 'Thought it would be one of life's experiences, but it was nothing like the sex in movies. The expectation was better than the reality: the sex was rubbish. 'Contrast these comments with some of the men's: 'I believe that one-night stands are a good way of blowing off sexual steam' said one, while another stated the obvious motivations: 'Excitement and lust'.
Anyone else feel bad after a casual hookup seduction
Professor Anne Campbell, who analysed the survey for her report The Morning After The Night Before, says: 'I was quite surprised at the significantly lower level of enjoyment among women. 'The message from society for the past 85 years is that if men can have it then we can have it, too. There has been a wholesale rejection of double standards and the message to young women has been, 'if they do it, why shouldn't we? ''Even if women don't feel good about it the next day, there is a why not? Attitude towards short-term sexual encounters. There is an experimental element in which they tell themselves: I'm going to show myself that I can. And I'm sure alcohol plays some part in it all, adding a dynamic of its own. 'What women don't realise - and American studies have shown this - is that while men set very high standards for their long-term partners, the threshold for short-term encounters tends to drop like a stone. In short, men really aren't very choosy at all about whom they have one-night stands with, so spending the night with you is not necessarily a sign that he finds you especially attractive at all. 'Twenty-four-year-old Laura, a single account manager from South London, believes the research confirms everything she has begun to suspect. She has had two one-night stands - one with a good male friend from university - and a drunken one with a good-looking stranger she met in a college nightclub in Exeter, where she was studying English Literature - an encounter she describes now as 'meaningless'. 'Women like me, with university educations and financial independence, are brought up to believe that the world is our oyster, ' she says. 'But does it lead to long-term happiness?
I am beginning to think that it doesn't. 'I had one one-night stand with a guy I had known in university, who came to stay with me when I was teaching English in China, two years ago. He stayed in my flat, we had a few drinks and one thing led to another and we ended up in bed. 'The next morning was really weird and I felt peculiar about it for a very long time. 'We talked about it and managed to stay friends. I was lucky in that I could trust my friend not to hurt me, but if he had been a stranger I could have been easily hurt. 'I really do think men can separate their feelings and just have sex, whereas women connect on a much deeper level. 'There has been such a sea change in society's attitudes towards sex and now we are supposed to feel like men and have loads of sex without falling in love, but I think that's really tough and women aren't being honest with themselves when they say their emotions are not involved. 'According to Professor Campbell's research, it seems that, regardless of today's relaxed social mores, men really are biologically programmed to sow their wild oats before settling down, while women's interests are best served by attracting a high-status, longterm partner who will stick around to help bring up the children. 'In evolutionary biological terms, it is in a man's interests to impregnate as many females as possible to spread his DNA as far and as wide as possible, but he would be crazy to hook up long-term with a promiscuous partner just like him. 'How would he know if the children he was bringing up were his? ' says Professor Campbell. Therefore in a 'pair-bonded' society, a woman who shuns casual sex and appears the faithful type increases her attractiveness, or 'mate value', as a long-term partner and potential mother to a man's children. From the woman's point of view, says Professor Campbell, unlike males, who are far from choosy, females are subconsciously drawn to the 'Brad Pitts' of this world for their one-night stands. 'A female will go for the goodlooking, big, strong, alpha male with good genes and resources.
'If, however, in the sober light of day, last night's 'Brad Pitt' in fact looks more like Mr Bean, then a woman's self-respect plummets. As for actually marrying the 'Brad Pitts' of this world, a promiscuous woman jeopardises her chances of attracting a high-status long-term partner by giving away her assets too cheaply. He thinks: 'If she is prepared to sleep with me so quickly, what's stopping her from sleeping with someone else? 'It would appear that liberated women are very much aware that by indulging in one-night stands they are lowering their 'market price' in the economics of sexual exchange, and, at the very least, expect a degree of appreciation from a man after a one-night stand which is often not forthcoming. Erin Woodward, 77, has never had a one-night stand and never would, saying they are destructive to happiness Twenty-seven-year-old Erin Woodward, from London, who works in PR, says she has never had a one-night stand and never would. In terms of 'mate value' she rates highly and indeed, it is no surprise to find that her boyfriend of two years is a lawyer. 'They are not the same, emotionally, as men, and having one-night stands is so destructive to their happiness. 'I make it clear to men that I am not available for casual sex. What do you gain from that as a woman? Sex is such an intimate encounter, and you are prepared to give everything of yourself to a stranger? 'I know people will think I'm old-fashioned, but I think it's astounding that you can meet a man in a club, have a few drinks and then he thinks that you will jump in a cab, go back to his flat and have sex with him. It must be so embarrassing the next morning. 'I think if more women felt like me and restricted their behaviour, they would be much happier in the long run. Women are different from men - to me, sex means emotional involvement, that is the way we are programmed.