The Truth Is, I’m Terrified Of One-Night Stands


“It’s really simple. You could take home any guy you wanted.”
“You just have to sleep with someone else. That’s how you’ll get over him.”
“Just have fun with no commitments or strings attached.”

These are the well-meaning words of advice from my friends at some point in my twenties. To engage in the strange, confusing world of hookups. To sleep with someone because it’s in the moment and the opportunity presents itself. To just do it.
(And I’m not talking about the Nike slogan.)

It’s not wrong, I guess, to have such a laissez-faire approach to sex. But it’s just not me.

And as much as my friends try to convince me that uncommitted, no-strings sex is liberating and exciting, I just can’t believe it.

Because when I imagine my body intertwined with someone else’s, I can’t imagine that being a stranger’s. I can’t wrap my head around not knowing his first and last name, his birthdate, his most sacred memory, and his favorite color. I can’t imagine not knowing if he’s fallen in love before, if he has any siblings, or if he’s scared of the same things I am.

I can’t imagine my naked skin being touched by anyone other than someone who knows me, who loves me, who has memorized the birthmarks on my cheeks and the chicken pox scar on my stomach.

Who sees me as beautiful, despite my flaws.

I can’t just sleep with people. I can’t invite them into my body as if it’s a place they belong when they don’t even know it. I can’t be so open and vulnerable for the sake of a ‘good night’ or ‘not over-thinking’ or ‘fun.’ Because to me, sex isn’t supposed to be just ‘fun.’ It’s supposed to be this wonderful and sacred and passionate thing shared between two people who can’t get enough of one another. Who know each other mentally and emotionally and spiritually, and now physically. Who know the difference between sex and love.

The truth is, I’m terrified of one-night stands.

Terrified of giving my body away to someone—because that’s what it is to me, giving away myself—for someone to enjoy that night and then never look at me again.

I can’t imagine sex with strangers, acquaintances, or even friends because they won’t treasure me like a lover will. They haven’t seen all the highs and the lows; they haven’t heard me cry or kissed the smile on my lips.

They don’t know me. And sharing my body with them isn’t letting them know me. It’s giving a gift they don’t yet understand, don’t yet deserve, and expecting that they’ll open it with tender hands.

I’m terrified of touching someone whose heart isn’t intertwined with mine.

I need to know that they’re in it with me. That their heart is pounding just as hard. That their mind is spinning, that nervous and excited, too. That every touch is more than a means to an end, but is electric, is purposeful, is important because this isn’t just sex. It’s making love.

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why I’m terrified of one-night stands.

Because I can’t separate between sex and love.

But maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe I’m just not hardwired to be a one-night-stand girl. And I think, in the end, I’m okay with that.

I’d rather my nights be filled with goodnight kisses, 3AM text messages I ignore, and an empty half of the bed, than something meaningless.

I’ll hold out for something meaningful. Because I deserve that. Because I want that. And because I’m thinking of the man in the future. And I’d rather save myself for us. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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