Relationship Sex VS. One Night Stands — Is One Better Than the Other?

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It’s that classic saying, the grass is always greener. When we’re in a committed relationship and having sex within monogamy, we miss the excitement and unpredictability of one night stands. When we’re single, we miss the comfort and fulfilment of sex with someone we know and love.

But is one type of sex better than the other?

I think it depends on our own individual definition of good sex. It’s true, that we often classify relationship sex as “boring” or “routine”, compared to one night stand sex as more experimental and exciting, because it’s with a new person, in an unfamiliar environment. But does that make one night stand sex better?

Not necessarily, says Normal Co‘s in-house sexologist, Georgia Grace.

“We need to dispel this myth that relationship sex is boring — it doesn’t have to be!” she tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“During a long term relationship, many of my clients identify that they switch into autopilot mode. They’ve learnt how to make each other feel good, they know how their partner likes to be touched or how to make them cum, and whilst these are all really wonderful things that come with long term relationships, it’s also pretty common to miss the spontaneity.” 

But surely, while we might go through phases of missing the spontaneity of one night stands or the sex that happens at the start of a relationship, having a routine and feeling comfortable knowing what each other likes is certainly not a bad thing.

In my current relationship — my boyfriend and I have been together almost three years — our sex can sometimes feel routine, but I still really enjoy it. He knows what I like, I know what he likes, and although we’re comfortable playing around and trying new things, the intimate moments we have that come naturally and feel comfortable are some of my favourites.

“There are so many benefits to long term sexual relationships: feeling comfortable naked or asking for what you want, knowing/learning how to give and receive pleasure together, feeling comfortable to try new things together, opportunities to experience an evolving or growing sexual relationship, taking time for equal access to pleasure (not everyone always cums on a one night stand — particularly if you’re only having penetrative sex — access to small moments of intimacy and touch, experiencing love, care and attraction through sex.

“I love hearing from people in their 70’s who still have an active sex life with their long term partner — we can learn so much from them!”

This got me thinking, how many incredible one night stand sex sexual experiences have I actually had? I mean, I personally love a good one night stand, and spent the better part of my early twenties having them. What I love most about them is that they’re an opportunity for me to experience different types of intimacy with people, while also strengthening my own sexual confidence. I found that one night stands made me feel sexually empowered, and gave me an understanding for what I like and don’t like, when it comes to sex. However, the sex itself isn’t always the stand out part of the experience.

“It depends who you’re asking, but the benefits and reasons for one night stands are endless; for some, it’s the no strings attached experience, it’s fun, sexy, an opportunity to let go of inhibitions, it’s exciting, empowering, or it could just be that they want to experience pleasure,” says Grace.

“Another benefit is that they get to experience intimacy, pleasure and touch — a lot of my clients who are single identify that they miss this and don’t get as much as they’d like — a one night stand can be the remedy to this.”

So basically, it seems that we can’t really say if relationship sex is better than one night stand sex, or vice versa, because it’s totally dependent on who you are and where you’re at in your love life and sexual journey. Both are great for different reasons.

However, if you’re in a relationship and missing the spontaneous excitement of one night stands, that’s totally understandable. It can be tough to experiment in the same way that you would with a stranger, with your partner.

“My clients often identify it can feel awkward, nerve wracking or uncomfortable trying new things with a long term partner. They don’t want to offend their partner by asking for something new, they don’t know how to communicate it, or it feels too awkward.

“And with a stranger they feel like they can let go of their inhibitions, they can be whoever they want in that moment, they don’t know them that well, and may not plan on seeing them again, as a result they feel like they can let loose.”

But regardless of how much easier it may be to experiment in a random environment, there are definitely things you can do to enhance your long-term sex life with your partner. Georgia Grace has all the answers, and we love her for it.

“You can always learn how to be a better lover. I developed a free online course with NORMAL, the modern guide to sex. It covers everything from mindfulness, sexual communication, body confidence, how to explore something new — we even have a guide on trying this with a partner. There are inquiries, lessons and practices — all people, regardless of your relationship choices and styles will benefit from working through this, there’s something for everyone.”

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