Dating with one night stands
My generation doesn’t think one-night stands are remarkable.’ There was, however, nothing laughable about the ensuing weeks, during which Ashleigh, feeling listless and feverish, slowly realised the persistent symptoms she had attributed to ’flu could signal a pregnancy.‘I did a test in the loo at work, and when I realised I was pregnant I was so horrified I felt sick. They confirmed I was 14 weeks gone — I think I’d been in denial for a long time that it could be happening — and I told them straight away I wanted an abortion.‘I had no money, I was about to start university and my parents — Mum is a teacher and Dad runs his own IT business from our home in Devon — are traditional and would have been deeply shocked and disgusted by my behaviour.‘For two days after the termination I lay in bed, shocked and exhausted — it was horrendous. ‘Then I went back to my job and, three months later, started university. And, although I still believe I did the right thing, I’m paranoid about getting pregnant again and haven’t had a successful relationship since the abortion.’Ashleigh’s experience is not remotely uncommon.Today, in the final day of the Mail’s survey, British Women and Sexuality, we can reveal that almost half of British women in their 20s — and almost as many in their 30s and 40s — have had a one-night stand.Jayne, who has a son, 14, and a daughter, 12, is married to Richard, 52, an IT consultant, and admits her husband has no idea how promiscuous she was before they met.‘I have never confessed how many men I’ve slept with,’ she says.
Almost half of women in their 30s (46 per cent) and 40s (45 per cent) have had casual, one-off sexual encounters, while those in their 50s are not far behind — more than a third have had casual sex.‘Actually, I’m not quite sure myself — definitely over 20 — and I’m ashamed that many were one-night stands. I’d wake up the next day and could barely remember if we’d had sex or not.