One-night stands have a terrible reputation. They’re treated as a disappointing but necessary part of modern romance—a way for us to test drive potential partners or bide our time waiting for true love to come around.
I had to wonder whether is was possible for good sex and a strong emotional connection to ever exist between two people who don’t intend on spending the rest of their lives together. Maybe the reason one-night stands leave us feeling unfulfilled is because we reserve our best moves and intimate feelings exclusively for serious relationships.
There’s no moment that feels more pathetic than waking up half-naked and full of regret next to a person you don’t feel anything for. That discontent creates an emotional vacuum that somehow amplifies the need to find “The One.”
Instead of piddling around trying to force mediocre relationships to work and waiting for true love, maybe we should be treating every person as though they could be true love.
Connection doesn’t need time, it just needs two willing and open people. Romance isn’t about talking through every detail of your likes and habits, it’s about sharing experiences. There is no reason that we can’t connect and share experiences with someone in the couple of hours we’d normally see a movie and share a half-dozen cocktails.
This type of one-night stand doesn’t happen on accident. It’s intentional and takes serious work, from choosing the right person to allowing yourself the emotional space to let them go when they walk away in the morning.
Intimacy isn’t something you think about or talk about—it’s something you do. Here are a few of the things necessary to making the intimate one-night stand work for you, your partner and your life.
No explanation needed.
Talk about what really matters
Instead of listing the details of your life, concentrate on telling great stories. Talk about your passions, dreams and things that make you laugh so hard you snort just a little. You’ve only got a few hours, and humor is always sexy.
Acknowledge how vulnerable you both are
This is no time to be the “femme fatale.” Vulnerability is not weakness, it’s actually a huge turn-on. When you find someone who can communicate their insecurities and raw feelings—ding ding ding!—you’ve found the perfect match for an intimate one nighter.
Don’t get hung up on their resume
Don’t let logic kill a great vibe. You’re not looking for someone who checks off all your “must-haves” for a relationship, you’re just experimenting. And maybe this is the best way to test some of those preconceived requirements for relationships.
Practice letting go
Good relationships aren’t the ones that make you jaded, it’s holding onto lovers longer than was intended. Letting go when things are still good makes room for more lovers. Love begets love.
If we allowed ourselves to be fully passionate and give ourselves over to intimacy of the moment, even without the promise of future love and commitment, maybe it would help us chill out when it comes to finding “The One.” Instead of spending a year going through a self-inflicted dry spell, consider practicing intimacy, one one-night stand at a time.
Emily Straubel is a writer and ceramic artist living in Portland. She writes about design and technology by day and the unpredictable world of love and dating by night.