Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
One night stands are obviously something very personal – it’s a personal choice based on your personal values and beliefs. Some people have just had one, some have had a few, some do it often, some haven’t had a one night stand – yet, and others would never have one at all. I have respect for everyone’s beliefs, morals, values, and all religions. The purpose of this post is not to bring out the moral or judgemental police, nor is it about wanting to ignite a conversation that further dilutes something I personally think we can do a lot better at understanding (and not judging).
I want to provide for you, everything that I wish was said to me about one night stands.
I think one night stands are very confusing, unnecessarily judged, and extremely contradictory.
They are either depicted as these exciting, intense, passionate encounters (that are romanticized in movies, books, and on television) or, they’re viewed as desperate and slutty. Regardless, both are not constructive. They are destructive.
Think about it – the WALK OF SHAME is most often described as what follows a one night stand. And because of all the contradictory elements, there’s a lot of information out there that just focuses on one end or the other. Which is fine, but I think that this kind of black-and-white analysis contaminates our perception of one night stands in a way that doesn’t serve anyone or anything – other than perpetuating ignorant stereotypes and assumptions.
So far in my life, I’ve had two one night stands. One was a literal one night stand and the other was a one night stand… that turned into a relationship… that lasted over a year. Looking back, both had a degree of shame associated with them. The shame sabotaged the relationship I had with myself, and in the case where it turned into a relationship, the other person.
Just like there are two different depictions of one night stands, there are two different reactions most people get when sharing their one night stand experiences. There’s either this frat bro, high-five “tell me everything” kind of slumber party cheerleading or… the listener realizes that this is a great opportunity to covertly place themselves on a moral, ethical, and psychological high horse. They do this by emotionally recoiling and being passively judgemental (even though, more often than not, these people have done things that are much more ethically and morally questionable than having a one night stand).
There’s no judgment here on this blog. Ever.
I used to think that a one night stand and dignity could never coexist.
I was wrong.
Whatever your beliefs are, if you are having one night stands or if you choose to have a one night stand in the future…
There is a way to go about it where your dignity remains intact, your boundaries are respected, and you don’t fall off your white horse.
There are many reasons why people will have a one night stand (whether it’s just once or habitually):
- It’s a way to connect with another person at a time where it may be too painful and risky to emotionally connect.
- Carrot dangling. It’s a way to see if we really are THAT irresistible, attractive, and special (we have a one night stand and then, tie our value to seeing if the other person will follow up with us and want more).
- It’s a way, for one night anyway, to be the person that we wish we could consistently be (more spontaneous, more open, more sexual, more care-free, less anxious, more adventurous, etc.).
- It’s an escape.
- It’s a carefree, enjoyable, superficial connection via substantial (and hopefully gratifying) physical means.
- It’s a way to prove that you are attractive and desired without having to put yourself out there emotionally and relationally (where there is a higher possibility of rejection). There’s much less of a possibility of rejection when it comes to no strings attached sex being on the table.
- It can be a form of compulsive avoidance. Being so busy “living in the moment” gives you a valid license to avoid facing the deeper issues that may be causing this behavior.
The Do’s of One Night Stands…
As long as…
- You aren’t doing anything that you don’t want to do. Everything is consensual and safe.
- No one is breaking the law.
- No one is being physically or emotionally hurt/abused.
- You are both of age (physical age and emotional age).
- Your boundaries are being respected.
- There’s a common denominator: You are both looking for/wanting the same thing.
- Communication is clear.
- You don’t have unreal expectations. No one is trying to wake up engaged the morning after.
- You’re not making yourself feel better in the moment at the expense of the other person’s heart and emotional well-being.
- You are doing it to add to an already great life and life experiences – not literally make your life, your confidence, your self-esteem, and be THE experience.
- You are in alignment with your own morals, values, and beliefs.
… I really don’t see the problem here.
Nor do I see a need for shame, guilt, or judgment – from yourself and others.
- Put a bandage on the cancer of your loneliness and insecurities.
- Emotionally cut in the name of reaffirming a self-fulfilling prophecy that you aren’t worth a real relationship.
- Carry out an experiment to see if you’re so good that you can hook the other person into wanting more (whether that’s more sex, a relationship, whatever it may be).
- Seek validation, attention, love, or approval.
- Fill a void because you don’t know how to be alone. You are desperate for true love but are always in a limerent state. You crave intimacy but feel like you don’t have the social skills or confidence for anything more than physical intimacy.
- Feed an addiction. For some people, one night stands are a full-blown addiction. Because you feel so worthless and unloved, you become addicted to feeling wanted, special, and loved for a night.
If you’re having one night stands to…
- Don’t ever think that having a one night stand is going to change anyone – yourself or the other person.
- Don’t do it if you already know you are going to have a regret hangover.
- Don’t do it if you know that you’ll get emotionally attached/dependent/clingy/anxious. Also, don’t do it to perform a test/prove to yourself that you can do it without getting attached. You will lose every time.
- Don’t do it if you are using the one night stand to try to get the other person (or the situation) to make you feel a way that you can’t make yourself feel.
- Don’t do it to forget your ex (even if they were toxic. It will just highlight their absence that much more if you haven’t done the emotional work. A one night stand won’t erase or replace anyone).
- I would also suggest not doing it if you’re drunk or on drugs. It’s a bad look and unsafe.
Keeping Your Dignity Intact…
The best way to keep your dignity intact is to communicate through your words and actions that you have self-respect. Don’t lie and say that you’ve never had a one night stand if you have. Just be YOU. If you’re adult enough to have a one night stand, you’re adult enough, to be honest.
If at any point you feel as though you can’t be yourself, FOLD. You are either with the wrong person or, you feel like you are wrong – either way, save yourself the shame, guilt, and heartbreak. Do not proceed.
I wish that there wasn’t this reputational fear-mongering that always came with one night stands when I was younger.
I wish I wouldn’t have been told that one night stands are shameful, will make you look bad, give you a bad reputation, etc.
I wish I would have just been told that if you end up in a place where you are seeking this kind of connection, all you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself WHY you want it. That’s all.
If you are doing it for the wrong reasons, you should prioritize looking for more sustainable relationships such as true, mutual friendships (with yourself first and foremost) and spend some time alone. Get to know yourself, figure out what it is you really want, and go for THAT.
Little by little, you’ll start to enjoy your own company. Soon, the thought of being alone won’t elicit emotional triggers that are so powerful, you have to chase hot and heavy moments – that ultimately, end in an even lonelier existence than before.
I was always told “Natasha, you will regret it.” “Don’t do it.” “You’ll appear slutty.”
I guess that was much easier for people to say than “just make sure you don’t have zero self-esteem and an inability to deal with your loneliness, your insecurities, your life, and yourself.”
If all of those are intact, I promise that you will feel secure in WHATEVER it is you choose to do or not do. And you won’t care what anyone else thinks because you will be unapologetically, powerfully, and confidently acting in light of your own moral compass and code – not anyone else’s.
Do I regret having one night stands? Not at all.
And it’s not because I had them for the right reasons and didn’t mess up. It’s because I learned as a result and stopped allowing the shame to define me.
What defines us is the growth and evolution from lessons learned – not the shame from acting on insecurities that we ALL feel.
– Natasha Adamo
Are you done with toxic relationships and ready to attract (and be attracted to) healthy relationships? Do you want to connect with others on a deeper level than the comments below? Click here to become an Emotional Mastery Member and learn more. If you’re looking for more personalized, one-on-one help, you can work directly with Natasha Adamo here.
I can say I had both type of one night stands. One where I actually went and did it knowing what I was doing, choosing to do so and so I felt in charge, not ashamed at all.
The other one turned out to be a fwb relationship without me even realizing it- I did not want a relationship but the sex was soooooo good. So that was definitely the one night stand that got worse, in my opinion it happened exactly because it did not stay a ONE night stand. Surprisingly, I fell in love and he was not there. That’s when it gets complicated, that’s when you feel ashamed for that very first night together.
One night stands are fine, if they stay one.
Thank you so much for sharing and for bringing this up Elena 🙂 I didn’t think of that. You bring up very good/interesting points. I agree with you about when the shame sets in.
Thank you for being here and for being you.
All my love. XO
THIS ???????? thank you for writing about and shedding light on this Natasha. You saved me from myself 2 years ago and I will forever be a loyal reader riding my white horse.
I love you and this tribe. Are you doing any more speaking engagements anytime soon? When does Unf*ckwithable come out?? ? #patientlywaiting
You have been with me for a long time 🙂 Thank YOU, Nora – for being a part of this tribe and for your love, connection, and support. It means everything to me.
Love you too! Stay tuned for updates via the PMS and natashaadamo.com email subscription 🙂
Applause!!??? Thank you for your support and speaking to us in a way that seems so personalized! I, of course, relate to everything you’ve written and am finally headed in the right direction. ? Please let us know about any speaking engagements on the east coast!!! ? Karen
YESSS! So proud of you Karen – you got this. I definitely will 🙂 The moment I complete this book I will have dates and all information will be on the emails (make sure you are subscribed to PMS & natashaadamo.com), and on social media.
Can’t wait to give you a big hug in person 🙂 XOX
Oh Natasha! This post is EXACTLY what I needed in this exact moment. I’ve been missing the sex/intamacy with my ex fucktard quite a bit lately, yet at the same time, I am really enjoying my healing process and getting to know myself again, now I’m removed from such toxicity.
Just today, I was wondering if a ONS might be something I’d consider….I have only had a few in my 43 years, and hold no judgement.
My mind isn’t made up, but your post is perfect timing and will provide me with SO much food for thought!
Thank you gorgeous lady xxx
Wow! It’s like it was perfectly set up for your exact situation. This makes me so happy <3 We are all behind you 100% and like you said, no judgment. Ever. Always so happy and honored to help.
Thank YOU, soul sister. xx
Thank YOU Catherine 🙂 I can’t wait to share it with you! (& I love your blog!) xox
Thank you for always sharing your personal experiences, it lets us all know we are not alone and we all are human. You hit the nail on the head with this post. I personally have never had a one night stand but many of the “dont’s” that you wrote about have been the case for some of my close girlfriends. I shared your post with them out of love and they are now addicted to the blog! You just write in a way that makes everything “click” without being judgmental, preachy, or rehashing old ideas. Thank you for everything you’ve already done for my life, you’re amazing. You are loved by so many and we all can’t wait for you book! xoxo
I have to admit I did have a few but it was not intended to be a ons. Sometimes “relationship” changes after sex and if I sense anything different I just run for the hills because I have been hurt before. I’d rather it be one mistake than two or lifelong. I can’t say I pursued ons before not because of my morals but because I crave intimacy and connection after so I know it doesn’t work for me I’m old fashioned ?
I have been following PMS for the last year and a half. Being a guy, I never wanted to comment but I have seen some guys comment on other posts and decided to today. Thank you for writing this. I am a straight 31 year old man and have had one night stands before. I had one a few days ago and for the first time, have the worst emotional hangover. This post helped ground me. I look forward to your event in New York and following your career as it continues to grow. You have helped me more than therapy ever did. Never question or doubt the impact you have Natasha. Even for us guys
Loved reading your words. I think when men comment it’s awesome, we know there are guys out there, but we don’t hear often from them. PMS is definitely a place to heal, fill up our emotional tanks and as you wrote – ground ourselves.
Natasha will love your words also. Please comment more often. Male insight is soothing too. 🙂
YASSS! Great post, N!
I’ve been drowning in my undergraduate dissertation/coursework over the past few months so have been catching up on all your latest articles! Natasha, your insights and advice are a breath of fresh air and invaluable to young women. I love how you have made PMS a judgement-free zone; so much ‘relationship advice’ you see in the media is disheartening because it perpetuates these damaging notions of shame when it comes to thinks like ONSs. Beautifully written, as ever. X
That means everything to me <3 Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Good luck on your dissertation and coursework! You got this 🙂 xx
I’ll never stop loving how your non-judgmental, loving wisdom. I laughed out loud at, “I guess that was much easier for people to say than “just make sure you don’t have zero self-esteem and an inability to deal with your loneliness, your insecurities, your life, and yourself.” So well unpacked and so true. You get to the root of it all. I can’t wait for your book!
Hahahah I was laughing too as I was writing it ??? Thanks sister. I can’t wait for your next few posts on here! Love you. xx
This really covers all the bases Natasha. You affirm that there is nothing inherently wrong with a ONS, and I think approaching this topic without prejudging the situation is best.
It occurred to me that ONS might even be considered an acid test for self-love. If you’re emotionally anchored and treating yourself well there’s nothing wrong with having them, just as there’s nothing wrong with eating dessert occasionally when you’re eating well and exercising regularly. ONS are empty emotional calories, not nourishment. There’s nothing wrong with having empty calories, but if you’re having a ton of them and then complaining about why you can’t maintain your weight, then perhaps it’s time to look at what you’re eating.
It may be that a penchant for ONS arises from a preference for people who are emotionally unavailable; there is nothing wrong with connecting with such people provided that one is realistic about what they can deliver. There is (unfortunately) nothing I can do to give a chocolate chip cookie the nourishment that broccoli provides just as there is nothing one can do to make a ONS deliver the emotional nourishment of a deeper relationship with someone.
If my post covers the bases, your comment is a grand slam ??!
Your comments heal, connect, and help so many. They take my work to a deeper level of understanding and inclusion. I love you with all of my heart Brandon. Everyday, I am thankful for you being here and for the nourishment that because you gave yourself, you are able to provide for us all ??
When are you going to write a post? You always write amazing comments. Your insight is sharp and thoughtful. And there are men out there reading these posts too. It’s great to have a male perspective and women value the voice of a man in touch with his feelings. You should write a post. I know many would second this.
Just do it. ?
I second, third, forth, and fifth this ?
I was feeling so ashamed for the ons I had this weekend that I thought of ending my life. I never would do that but that’s how ashamed I felt. This post and your post a few posts down on shame & guilt literally saved my life Natasha. I know we have never met but I love you. Thank you for helping so many people in this world.
Love from Las Vegas, NV ??