• Thu, Feb 21 2013

A Case Against One-Night Stands

one night standMy first one-night stand was shortly after I moved to New York City. I didn’t lose my virginity until after high school, and since college was all about relationships, being in love, and the type of stuff you see in a John Hughes film, the opportunity never arose. It was also something that, in my mind, seemed like the worst possible situation in the world.

If we think about it, realistically, one-night stands really are one of the worst, or at the very least, most awkward situations in which to find yourself. You are having sex with a stranger, your bodies are as close as two bodies can possibly be without being in utero and, depending on how open you are, you’re likely to do some things that most people never get to witness. How many of your friends know what you look like when you come? Exactly.

That first one-night stand was horrible. I had met him at a bar while waiting for friends, we exchanged numbers and after my night came to an end, I texted him. He came over, we had sex, I tried to convince myself I enjoyed it, and when it was over I laid there wondering how long I had to pretend to be interested in his chatter before I kicked him out. A scene from When Harry Met Sally ran through my mind; the one where Harry is telling Sally that after he goes home with a woman he tries to figure out how long he has to hold her – “Is 30 seconds enough?” he asks. In my case, 30 seconds seemed like an eternity.

When he decided to go for round two, I rolled off the bed with the sheet wrapped around me and told him my roommate didn’t like random guests in the apartment, so he should leave. And left he did; I never saw him again.

Part of me felt great! I had scored! I had gotten laid, and done that one-night stand thing that I had seen in movies thousands of times. But then there was another part of me that was confused. I knew I’d never see him again, I didn’t care to see him again, and I struggled to wonder if in not caring that meant something about me. It was my first one-night stand after all, and you’re just not sure how to handle it.

Of course, that would not be my last. I say “of course,” because in the almost 10 years I’ve been in New York City, I’ve been single more than I’ve been in relationships, and that’s what single people do who are not “ready” for something “more.”

I’ve woken up hungover with a guy’s naked body draped over my hips, trapped under his weight while having to pee and not being able to make my exist, I’ve slipped out of apartments without a pair of underwear or bra because I didn’t have the energy to find them, and I have done that really fun thing where you pretend to be asleep while the person you took home makes their own escape. And each time, that whole leaving aspect, wasn’t any less awkward. In fact, as I became a pro at it, it became even more awkward because I had it down to a science. When something becomes second nature you start to wonder exactly what the purpose is behind something that has become so naturally inherent. My thoughts always go to “So this is it? This is all I get? Is that why I’m a master at it?”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/magda.nunez2 Magda Nunez

    Having never had”relationship” sex, my sex life has been composed of one night stands… But after a horrible pregnancy scare, I decided to follow the surprisingly sage advice of a 19 year old man/boy. He told me, “I won’t have sex with a girl, even with protection, unless I can picture her as a mother to my children because condoms break all the time and you never know what can happen.”
    Now, though I don’t want children, I think there is some truth in this. If I couldn’t see myself commiting a chunk of my life (18 years perhaps) to this person than it just felt like I was selling myself short some how. Since then I’ve given up being so easy. It’s been a couple of years too. Sure, these last few months drunken one night stand sex has grown increasingly appealing but thus far, I’ve held out.
    Thumbs up!

  • Brianna

    I’ve had many one night stands and I’m glad I did, I’ve experienced some amazing sex because of them. My one rule – they never come home with me. I was a wake up a 6am, get dressed in the dark, and quietly whisper “I’m leaving” kind of woman. I never wanted to be stuck trying to politely get someone to leave.

  • anna

    I was actually engaged for a while, which ended because he cheated on me alot. all with one night stands. I’ve always wondered, how could you risk your relationship with someone you love for random sex? it seems so unappealing, like a last resort. But I guess he was one of those people who craved it.

  • meteor_echo

    I never really understood the appeal of one-night stands. Like, I have nothing against them – you like them, go get them, stay safe and be consensual… but what are the pluses of it? I just can’t wrap my head around it at all.

    • Sean

      What are the pluses? You’ve got someone to help you scratch an itch, and you don’t need to be in a relationship you may not want.

      I’m sorry if that sounds simplistic, but in many cases that’s what it amounts to. Ever have a craving for a cheeseburger, so you talk someone into going with you? Same basic idea.

    • meteor_echo

      Well, I guess you do have a point there :) I’m the kind of person who feels like it’s easier to pick up a scratcher and deal with that itch myself, but I do get what you mean.

    • Sean

      That’s my typical plan as well, but sometimes it’s nice when the scratcher has arms and legs and talks back to you.