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One-Night Stands Are SO Empowering, and I Refuse to Be Ashamed

One-Night Stands Are SO Empowering, and I Refuse to Be Ashamed

One-Night Stands Are SO Empowering, and I Refuse to Be Ashamed

Sorry, but I'm proud to have random hookups.

RachelCharleneL

Photo: Quin Stevenson

I’ve had a number of one-night stands. The specific number of people I’ve hooked up with matters way less to me than the main way I felt as a result of those encounters: empowered.

Though some people hate hookup culture and one-night stands, I for one am a major fan. People who are against one-night stands think they’re degrading, or that there’s no way to disconnect love from sex, or, on some extremes, it’s sinful. On the other hand, some people think that there’s just no way to have good sex with someone the first time. But I disagree, with all of this.

As a queer woman of color, hooking up is a way of learning about my body in new contexts. It’s a way of refusing to limit myself, but instead to continue my own education about who I like, and what other bodies I like to interact with. I’ve had really good one night stands, and I’ve had mediocre ones. I’ve had one night stands turn into regular hookups, or turn into nothing.

But there was never any expectation beyond that the hookup would be 100% consensual, and 100% centered on everyone involved finding pleasure.

By sleeping with people who I didn’t know well at all, I also learned a lot about being confident in my sexuality. Because these weren’t people who’d been sleeping with me at length and, as a result, couldn’t anticipate my desires, I learned to voice those desires. I had to be comfortable enough in my own sexuality to say what I needed, and what I did and didn’t like.

Something I wish that more people knew is that just because it’s a one-night stand doesn’t mean that there’s zero heart involved. While I wasn’t necessarily falling in love with or creating lasting relationships with the people I was hooking up with, I was still connecting with someone, bodily and mentally, and, yeah, emotionally.

Some of the people I hooked up with became friends. Others became girlfriends, and partners. Others became strangers I never talked to again. And I was okay with all of that. I didn’t hook up with people to find myself, or to find love. I had one night stands to experience pleasure, plain and simple.

For me as a queer woman, one-night stands feel revolutionary in a world where I’m expected to find a man and sleep with him, this one dude, for the rest of my life. That linear, monogamous lifestyle just doesn’t appeal to me at all. If anything, for me personally, it seems suffocating.

There’s nothing wrong with never having a one-night stand. But there’s nothing wrong with loving them, either. For some of us, having an experience that is solely focused on pleasure in a judgment- and pressure-free space is nothing short of empowering. And I refuse to be ashamed of that.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Rachel Charlene Lewis

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer, editor, and queer woman of color based in North Carolina. Her writing has most recently appeared in Ravishly, Hello Giggles, and elsewhere.

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer, editor, and queer woman of color based in North Carolina. Her writing has most recently appeared in Ravishly, Hello Giggles, and elsewhere.