The summer days may be drifting away, but at least we can reminisce about the heated nights we've enjoyed over the last few months. This was the year that the summer fling – a rite of passage – became a "dating trend". Someone (it's still unclear who) in the world of dating vernacular started calling it "freckling" in reference to its fleeting nature: it pops up in summer, then disappears as the seasons change. Disregarding the fact that, er, lots of us have freckles all year round, the term did bring the formative concept of summer romances back to the fore. They never went away of course, but we'd forgotten what thrilling emotional rollercoasters they can be. Summer loving may happen fast but it's often a blast – and can teach us a whole lot about sex, love and relationships.
Ahead, three women tell Refinery29 what they learned from their brief but significant romantic encounters this summer.