We all remember Mom's sage advice: "Nice girls don't. Why would he want to buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?"
Do these rules apply in the 21st century? On one hand, we all remember six seasons worth of HBO's Sex and the City, with four highly liberated women living, loving and hooking up with men all over Manhattan (and some of them marrying the men they picked up). On the other hand, we still have traditional moral and religious rules saying that we just shouldn't entertain one night stands, and (in some cities and states more than others) people still whisper about women who play fast and loose with their... affections. At risk of sounding like SATC's resident sex columnist, Carrie Bradshaw, one has to ask: Is it really acceptable for women to hook up?
According to a recent article in Science Daily, women are just not that good at unattached involvements, despite how liberated we might say we are. During a study performed by Professor Anne Campbell, a research scientist at Durham University in the UK, a sample of 1743 men and women were asked to rate their positive and negative feelings after a one-night stand. Eighty percent (80%) of men rated the experience as positive as opposed to fifty-four percent (54%) of women, a significant difference where women predominately reported feeling "used" and according to the article, "Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out."
What about real women on the street? Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s concurred: if you do it, protect yourself both physically and emotionally. Tara, 28, is single and says, "I think you just have to be smart and safe. Obviously, you have to use protection, but you also have to be realistic about your expectations. If you're never going to call someone again, don't ask for phone numbers but you also can't get your feelings hurt if someone doesn't ask for yours."