Can a one-night stand turn into something serious?

Posted on 22 May 2024 by Natalia
Can a one-night stand turn into something serious?
One-night stands are often seen as fleeting encounters, brief trysts that leave nothing but a pleasant memory. But sometimes, these nights can mark the beginning of a deeper, more meaningful relationship. How can a simple night of pleasure turn into a lasting romance?

In this article, the LOVE Team investigates the various factors that can lead a one-night stand to evolve into a serious relationship, as well as the challenges to overcome in order to make this transition a reality.

What is a one-night stand?

A one-night stand refers to a casual sexual encounter between two people who do not know each other intimately and who do not intend to pursue a relationship beyond this single hookup session. These encounters are often characterised by a lack of emotional commitment, spontaneity, and strong physical attraction.

According to a recent study, approximately 60% of adults have had at least one experience of this type in their lives. The statistics show that these encounters are more common among young adults, particularly those aged 18 to 35. The popularity of dating apps has made it easier to have these experiences, by providing platforms on which individuals can meet and connect easily.

Why do people have one-night stands?

The reasons for having a one-night stand are varied and reflect personal needs and desires.

  • Desire for pleasure without commitment: Many people seek immediate satisfaction without the responsibilities and complications of a long-term relationship.
  • Sexual exploration: Some see one-night stands as an opportunity to explore their sexuality and experience new things. It's a way to discover their preferences and limits in a relaxed and pressure-free setting.
  • Escape and adventure: For others, a one-night stand represents a form of escape from the daily routine and a chance to have an exciting adventure. It can also be a way to boost their self-confidence and feel desired.
  • Spontaneity and freedom: The spontaneity of these encounters offers a sense of freedom and improvisation that can be very attractive. Individuals can give in to their impulses and desires of the moment without thinking about the long-term consequences.

Some common myths about one-night stands

There are many stereotypes and preconceived notions about one-night stands that can influence people's perceptions of these encounters. Among the most common are the notions that these hookups are motivated solely by physical desire and have no emotional depth. People also say that one-night stands are superficial and never lead to serious relationships. There is also a perception that only certain types of people, often negatively judged, engage in these encounters.

Other stereotypes suggest that one-night stands are more common among men than women, and that women who participate in these encounters are stigmatised or judged more harshly. It is generally believed that men seek one-night stands for reasons of conquest or ego, while women do so out of desperation or lack of self-confidence.

Why these myths can be misleading

These stereotypes do not always reflect reality and can be misleading for several reasons. Firstly, the motivations behind a one-night stand are diverse and not limited to superficial desires. Many people are seeking human connections, even if they are brief, and may experience a certain emotional depth in these encounters. The idea that these relationships are devoid of any meaning is therefore reductive.

Plus, the gendered perception of one-night stands does not take into account the diversity of experiences and motivations of individuals. Women, like men, may seek one-night stands for pleasure, sexual exploration, or simply the desire for novelty, without this being linked to issues of confidence or despair. Stigmatising women for their sexual choices reinforces restrictive and unjust social norms.
The belief that one-night stands can never evolve into serious relationships ignores the many stories of couples who began with a spontaneous encounter. Human relationships are complex and unpredictable, and a one-night stand can very well turn into a lasting relationship if the circumstances and emotional connections allow it.

The ingredients for turning a successful one-night stand into a serious relationship


Open and honest communication is key to transforming a one-night stand into a serious relationship. To start, be transparent from the beginning. Discussing expectations and desires ensures that both parties are on the same page. It can be helpful to ask direct questions about what each person is looking for: is it just a casual fling or is there potential for something deeper?

Taking the time to get to know each other

To get to know each other better, it is beneficial to share moments outside of the bedroom. Participating in common activities allows you to discover shared interests and create memories together. Going out for a coffee, taking a walk, attending a concert or cooking together are all opportunities to strengthen the bond.

Laying a solid foundation

It is important to show the other person that they can count on you, whether for small daily gestures or for deeper conversations. Approaching sensitive subjects with kindness and understanding is essential. This can include discussions about past relationships, fears, and future aspirations. By creating a safe space where each person can express themselves freely, you lay the foundations for a strong and fulfilling relationship.

Some challenges and obstacles to turning your hookup into a relationship

Doubts and uncertainties

It is normal to have questions about the viability of the relationship: "Is this person really compatible with me in the long term?" or "Is our connection strong enough to survive the challenges?" To manage these personal doubts, it is useful to take a step back and objectively consider the positive and negative aspects of the relationship.

To overcome fears and uncertainties, it is also beneficial to have open discussions with your partner. Sharing your concerns and listening to theirs can strengthen mutual trust and show that you are willing to work together to overcome obstacles. Committing to be patient and to give the relationship time to develop naturally can reduce anxiety related to uncertainty.

Social judgements and stigmatisation

Negative opinions from those around you about one-night stands can put additional pressure on the relationship. To deal with these judgements, remember that every relationship is unique and that what matters most is what you and your partner feel.

Managing external criticism requires self-confidence and confidence in the relationship. It can be helpful to calmly explain your point of view to those who criticise, by sharing what this relationship means to you. Choose not to let external opinions influence your judgement. Surrounding yourself with positive and understanding people can provide valuable emotional support.

One-night stands have the potential to turn into serious and fulfilling relationships. Through honest communication, time spent getting to know each other, and the building of solid foundations of trust and respect, these meetings can exceed initial expectations. Despite the challenges related to personal doubts and social judgements, it is possible to navigate these obstacles with confidence and open-mindedness.
Whether your adventure begins with a night of pleasure or an unexpected encounter, the important thing is to savour the journey and to believe in the magic of new connections. Who knows? Your one-night stand could well be the start of something wonderful and unexpected.