One night stands: ego affirming or soul destroying?

A little bit of casual hanky panky – can it be a fabulous ego-affirming experience or is it a hollow, soul-destroying experience? PerfectlyRandom and TheRationalOptimist debate it out.


Yes, I’m known as PerfectlyRandom. That, however, does not mean I encourage random sex with random strangers. Although…I don’t exactly discourage it either.

Alain de Botton says it best: “Having sex with someone makes us feel wanted, alive and potent. It repairs our self-esteem and leaves us ready to greet the world beyond the bedroom with greater confidence and courage. Good sex is more than a mere luxury – more than self indulgence – it’s a route to a certain kind of mental health.”

Why should that kind of mental health be denied to those of us who (a) aren’t in a relationship, and (b) don’t want to ruin any existing friendships or acquaintances by muddying the waters with a little hanky-panky?

Between two consenting adults, there is no reason why having a one night stand can’t be a fabulous ego affirming experience. You get to be as wild as you like, safe in the knowledge that there will be no repercussions of having to see your chosen bed partner again, and you get to spend a night being worshiped like a god or goddess. You don’t risk changing the fundamental workings of any of your existing relationships, and you don’t have to have those awkward chats that start along the lines of “so…um…what exactly are we?” when all you really want to be is enjoying your footloose and fancy free life without complications.

You don’t have to deal with your partner’s inevitable disappointment that you actually don’t always dress up, do your hair and head out for amazingly fun nights out on the town – instead you get to remain perched high on your pedestal, suspended forever in a rose tinted memory of passion. You’ll be showered with compliments as the other party works hard to get in your pants, and if you’re lucky you’ll also score a few free drinks along the way (sorry guys, maybe not so much in your case, but hey – there have to be some perks for wearing killer heels that make us look this good).

As long as you can appreciate a one night stand for what it is – a temporary good time with someone you will likely never see again, much like sharing a chuckle with a fellow pedestrian when you see a little kid fall on its face – you can revel in having some fun and feeling wanted and alive.

But one last thing – if you are having random sex with random strangers – please use protection! For your sake and theirs.

Sex sign: do not disturb


From reading PerfectlyRandom’s viewpoint, you would think that one night stands are hot, passionate affairs straight out of a movie scene with lots of sexy hair, taut and glistening muscles, and moans of ecstasy.  The reality is that one night stands are inevitably borne out of a drunken hookup at 3am with a less-than-desirable companion that managed to slur out some semblance of seduction (usually along the lines of “oh baby, you are hawt!”) before launching into a sloppy and awkward saliva exchange.  There is nothing ego affirming about this!

The next morning when you’ve woken up, half-sober, and feeling a hangover coming on is even worse.  You open one eye and peer over to your snoring companion and think, “holy mother of god, what was I thinking??” before having to stumble around trying to find all your pieces of clothing and sneaking out of the house in a seedy state, trying to work out where the hell you are and how you are going to get home.  And if you’re actually in your own home, how the hell do you get this comatose person (who, as an aside, doesn’t look anywhere near as attractive as you remember from when you were both gyrating together on the dance floor last night) out of your house so that you can go hunt down a greasy bacon and egg roll?

The truth is that one night stands are almost guaranteed to never live up to the hype.  You have never met this person before in your life so they don’t know that you like your ear lobes licked, or that you really don’t like your nipples pinched that hard, or that you like to take it slow at first before hitting a frantic pace.  And to be honest, they probably don’t really care anyway because pleasuring you is just not a priority at all.

The experience only ends up leaving you feeling dirty and used, emotionally hollow, and deeply unsatisfied.  It makes you think how much you would have preferred being intimate with someone that actually cares about you and respects you, rather than giving a small piece of yourself away in what is really a meaningless and soul-destroying experience.

* Photo courtesy stock.xchng


4 thoughts on “One night stands: ego affirming or soul destroying?

  1. Tricky…both perspectives raise very good points but in the end it has to come down to the individual. Some of us are naturally more promiscuous than others relishing the variety that is only offered from casual sex or a VERY adventurous partner willing to indulge in dress ups, role play etc etc…sometimes this itself can be more difficult to undertake with a loving partner for various reasons, feeling silly or just feeling unable to fully let go and embrace the opportunity to have fun. The excitement from chasing another and finally getting what you’ve both be imagining from the initial hello to the walk/ taxi ride home isn’t always the way it goes down but when it does, isn’t it worth it!?

    It comes down to this, sex is about having fun (and procreation obviously) and this is not mutually exclusive to either sides of this debate. As long as you’re keeping yourself relatively safe, who are we to judge what gives you kicks.

  2. Pingback: The One Night Stand. YAY or NAY? | Harriet Kempton

  3. Pingback: Exciting changes are afoot | Laugh Lots, Travel Often

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