No stag do is complete without stitching up the groom-to-be a couple of times. However, with one-third of men and women cheating while on a pre-wedding trip, according to dating site IllicitEncounters.com, tales of drunken debauchery can quickly add up to disaster (or divorce).
‘What happens in Vegas stays off Facebook’ is a given, but what do women really think about what goes on while on tour? We asked experts including researchers, relationship experts and even The Sun’s famed agony aunt for their opinions.
Nothing says ‘Last Night of Freedom’ quite like pubic hair glued to the groom’s face, staged kidnappings and a paintball gun to the testicles.
But a study by Salford University suggests that such extreme humiliation actually makes blokes feel uncomfortable. “Men often succumb to peer pressure during stags, taking part in activities that leave them degraded and scared,” says Anthony Ellis, who conducted the study for medical journal Deviant Behaviour.
Drunk groom-to-be Peter Thompson recently slapped an air hostess on the bum and swiftly landed himself a criminal record and his name splashed across headlines two months before his wedding. “That would end the marriage before it had started,” says relationships expert April Masini. “There’s no way I would marry that man, nor encourage a friend to.”
Look But Don’t Touch
Strip clubs are a stag do rite of passage, whether a regular attendee or not. According to financial website Vouchercloud, the average expenditure at a strip club on a stag is £120 per person, not including drinks. With 24 per cent of men also confessing to having a private dance, that’s a lot of cash down someone’s knickers.
Rub a dub dances aside, many women are more accepting of strip clubs than is first thought. “If you’re not embarrassed to tell me the day after, or show me pictures, then go for it,” says the experts at wedding planning site Brides.com. “The golden rule is always ‘look but don’t touch’.”
Turn Off The Red Light
A massive chunk (around 70 per cent) of cheating on a stag do takes place when the trip is abroad, with eastern European cities topping the bill this year, according to Vouchercloud.
BBC3 documentary maker Stacey Dooley visited Prague’s legal brothels and found that “five out of 10 men on a stag do will sleep with a prostitute – and that number absolutely always includes the stag.”
It’s the long-lasting effects that are even more eye-watering. “A third of clients demand unprotected sex, even when the girl has told him she’s HIV-positive. It’s like bungee jumping, it’s a thrill for them,” adds Dooley.
The Sun’s resident Agony Aunt Deidre Sanders says sleeping with someone on a stag do is completely unacceptable. “Out in the holiday sunshine, after a few beers, sex can seem like an interesting prospect, but you’re damaging your long-term prospects and risking your own mental wellbeing for one night of drunken fumbles.”
Take It To The Next Level
Clearly having read some of these statistics, some women are taking rule enforcement into their hands. Jane Park, the UK’s youngest lottery winner, drew up a rulebook for her boyfriend, Connor, ahead of his trip to Ibiza. This included things such as ‘avoiding eye contact with girls’ and a urine sample drug test upon his return. “It’s funny, but I am deadly serious,” says Jane.
Edinburgh resident Whitney Travers also made a DIY-rule book for her boyfriend, Kieran, before his trip to Magaluf. Whitney’s rules included ‘don’t buy girls drinks, that money can be spent on me,’ and ‘no girls whatsoever – no looking, no talking, no touching.’
While these extreme examples might push the boundaries of trust, Sanders says agreeing on rules before you head abroad can help avoid a grey area – and a looming sense of post-stag guilt. “Everyone has their own boundaries, so don’t wreck your own peace of mind before you’ve even got married. We all make mistakes, but guidelines between you on what’s acceptable will help you consider their feelings, even when you’ve had too much to drink.”