In Defense of the One-Night Stand

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About Justin Cascio

Justin Cascio is a writer, editor, and activist. He has written on food, lifestyle, gender, and sexuality for The Good Men Project, xoJane, and other publications; his work has been selected as Editor's Picks on Open Salon.
Justin is a former managing editor of The Good Men Project Magazine and editor of The Good Life, and a founding editor of You can follow him on Twitter, Google, and Facebook.


  1. In my case, they were definitely a pattern of self-injury. Do it, beat myself up, feel immense shame, beat myself up, repeat….

  2. Thank you Justin. Sometimes we find grace in the strangest situations.

  3. Jen, that sounds so familiar. I wrote the post that Justin mentions above under the alias of my nickname/middle name.
    I watched this woman I loved do this for several years. I don’t believe for a second that she really wanted to do the things she did. I think what she really wanted was love (and God, I loved her) but she didn’t know how to do love. She couldn’t do what she wanted so instead she did what she knew: abuse. She was taught to perform fellatio at the age of 5; her three uncles passed her around like a sex toy. Then both she and her sister were molested by their stepfather. So later in life, she just kept repeating/reliving the abuse over and over. And she was always remorseful and beat her self up for days after. It was a vicious cycle. She wanted love, but got attention from men if they thought they could have sex with her. When she was sober, “no” really meant “no,” but when she was drunk, there was no such thing as “no” when it came to sex. And it was usually the same group of three or four guys; sexual predators. They knew she was vulnerable and had no tolerance for alcohol. For the price of a few drinks, everybody got laid; cheaper than a hooker. But they were raping her, taking advantage of a drunken woman. I know she had her part in it too; she knew what would happen if she got drunk, yet she still did it, but I don’t think she mentally was in control of her actions. Still makes me sad and breaks my heart when I think about it. She is with the angels now; I hope she finally found peace.

    • As I’ve sometimes told people with various kinds of substance and relationship issues. What do you do to fill a hole in your soul. I tried for over twelve years to get her into counciling or psychiatric care but she wouldn’t go. She remarried in the past three years and unless he’s very emotional mature I feel sorry for him.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    “Riotous and liminal.” I like that. Very post-modern. Do I detect a little grad school education? : – )

    • Justin Cascio says:

      LOL. Nope. I have a Bachelors from a state university, and that is the extent of my formal book learnin’.

    • NickMostly says:

      Loved this essay, and also made note of the use of riotous and liminal. Next time I see you around town I might actually stop to say hi, if you don’t mind.

  5. Joe Cardillo says:

    I like this piece Justin. I was divorced last year and in the process of working through my feelings around that I’ve realized that I was trying really hard at only one model, the white, monogamous one that is often mythological. Your anecdote demonstrates that both you and the other person were honest about your intentions. The heart craves clarity, and when that exists in a relationship (with oneself and/or others) real happiness follows and we stop making assumptions about what is right or wrong, or out of bounds.

  6. Great piece!

  7. This piece really speaks to me on several levels. Like Leroy Joseph I have been in a long term relationship with a damaged soul. We had a twelve year marriage but out of bed it was very abusive, so when she got pissed off about some minor things and told me to hit the door it allowed my exit.

    But during that ten years we had a lot of playful sex. I realized that she was having extra-martial relations within a few weeks of marriage. While I didn’t confront her about it for several months I was amused about her trying to be discreate. My job was really close by so I ate lunch at home everyday. She was very clinging so she loved it. But some times she would came sneaking in the back door all mussed up. I didn’t say that I saw her when I got home that afternoon, instead asked where she was at lunch. Oh. I was smoking a joint with one of the neighbors in the appartment complex. I told her not to worry just be honest with me. Several months later she confessed that she had had sex several times with the guy in the next house over. (We had been in the house about three weeks)

    I told her it was OK, that actually it turned me on and to prove it I showed her some magazines with wife sharing stories. After that we were two kids having fun. Several times we had threesomes during our marriage. Several times because she was legally blind and could not drive I took her to “dates” with lovers. Once I even introduced her to a lover. He was a guy in my machine shop class. It was a really funny night because she was sometimes shy around new people and since he was just out of a backwoods High School he was reserved and not agressive. So when her taking a shower and doing a little flashing didn’t get him to make a move. We were in a townhouse apartment with a kitchen on the bottom and the living room in the middle; bedrooms up top.

    Well, she comes down all upset because he wasn’t taking her bait. She was still in her bathrobe from the shower. I told her to head back up and entertain him while I finished the dishes. As she started up the steps to the living room I grabbed the robe and pulled it off. So she went up to him totally naked and freshly shaved. Yeah, they had wild monkey sex about twenty minutes later.

    After we separated I found out about the poly-movement, also if things go OK I’ll start ETSU for a MSW in August.

  8. Valter Viglietti says:

    “these morsels feed us, too, and in times of trouble, can be all we have.”

    Oh, the raw honesty, the humbleness of truth, the nakedness of reality.
    Love it, thank you.

  9. Specialk says:

    This was a great piece, very touching. My father brought me up to love people as they are, not as I wished they would be. I’m not sure I am totally there yet but you certainly are.

    On another note, I would love an article much along the lines of ‘defense of the one-night stand’ only with a different theme. I wasn’t abused growing up, I’ve never been abused as an adult. I am happy in my life, with myself and I love one night stands. On this website it seems that women who are open to one night stands are dismissed as being little more than whores.

    Personally I wish I had had more one night stands when I was younger. I only had a few and though they were fun now that I find myself older and wiser (mid 30′s) I crave a different type of one night stand to the ones I knew. As a youngster even if I knew it was a hook up I would still worry a little too much about things that only served as a distraction from what was going on. Did he think I was a slut? Would he think I was too into him if I kissed him like it was the last kiss I would have! (the only way to kiss mind you…)

    By my late 20′s I had hit my stride. I had a few one night stands totally on my terms, I approached the man, I took charge, I left when I wanted. If anything I went too into myself during the act, forgot about my partner at times, just enjoying the moment. I didn’t get any complaints of course, most men like to see a woman in pleasure.

    These days at the ripe old age of 35 I find myself fantasizing about more meaningful one-night stands. Ones where two people come together fully cognizant of what is happening but totally surrendering to each other, not holding anything back. One night stands generally lack intimacy yet connection and intimacy is what I like the most about sex. I don’t think it could get any better than giving yourself fully to someone for an evening and them doing the same all the while knowing you have nothing to lose as you will never see them again. But how to know when the person eyeing you from across the cafe or bar or supermarket isle is of a like mind. I guess you could say I’m a romantic one night stander….

    Anyway, I am sure there are more women out there who are willing to admit they love a good one night stand and I’d love to hear from them.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      Thank you Specialk, your comment on this topic is really refreshing and empowering. :)
      (and lacking in cliches and stereotypes – thank God!)

      @Specialk: “I find myself fantasizing about more meaningful one-night stands. Ones where two people come together fully cognizant of what is happening but totally surrendering to each other, not holding anything back.”
      That’s the kind of one-night-stands (ONS) I think about (and I try to live).
      Where the people involved are not using each other, but enjoying each other.

      Many people, when talking about ONS, believe they are always about using the partner. And, sure, that’s not good.
      But the problem isn’t the ONS per se, it’s the partners’ attitude; you can be in a long-term relationship, and still using the other. It has little to do with the ONS.

      I cared for my partner in most of my ONS, and I still remember most of them with gratitude.
      Besides, when you have a ONS, you cannot know if that will be just that, or it will evolve into something else…

      • Specialk says:

        Yes Valter, I agree, most people equate ONS with using others when frankly if they are consenting adults what is the problem? People get something out of a ONS even if they also feel remorse afterwards. I’m sure most remorse comes from society telling us ONSs are bad, particularly to women who ‘must be’ harlots or deeply insecure to give their body that way to someone unknown. It’s your body, it’s not your soul, we need to all relax a little more about the whole sex thing.

        I also agree that being in a relationship does not guarantee you will not be used by your partner or vice versa. When I look back on all my relationships and all of my ONSs I feel dirtiest (yes really that is saying something for someone like me) thinking about a relationship I had with someone for 6 months. The whole time I kidded myself we were compatible, I almost challenged myself to fall in love, he was from a different part of town shall we say and in the end he ended up kicking me to the curb. We were not compatible from day one, we both used each other and in the end I was left feeling like an idiot, stupid. I’d choose to erase that relationship over any ONS I’ve had!


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