When you ask a couple how they met, chances are the story won’t begin at a bar and end with a one night stand.
Even if that may be the correct version of events, it’s not something most people want to admit. Meeting in a bookstore on a warm summer’s afternoon is much more romantic.
And according to relationship expert Dan Savage, who appeared on a recent episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Radio show, “that’s a real shame”.
Savage revealed that people who engage in one night stands end up in long-term relationships a lot more than we realise. In fact, in the 60 per cent of Australians who have admitted to having a one night stand, over 30 per cent actually ended up in a long-term relationship with that person.
The problem is no one wants to admit it in the fear of being known as “that couple”.
“People who have sleazy meetings, they don’t tell their kids about it,” Savage said. “So we have this distorted view of how a decent loving relationship must start.”
Savage explains that dishonesty about how couples meet is creating a view of love and romance we want to be true, but not one that accurately reflects the reality of dating.
“So then if anyone is different from that [view], you get ostracised,” says Savage.
He goes on to explain that the negative way people view one night stands also impacts the way we look at our partners after one.
“[Some people may think] this might have been someone I would date but look at what they did,” Savage said. “Like, I couldn’t date this person. We had a one night stand and no decent relationship can grow from a one night stand.”
However, in reality, this is completely unfounded and downright incorrect. According to Savage, decent relationships grow out of one night stands all the time. And Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist who also appeared on Tyson’s show, says there’s a good reason for that.
She says that no matter the circumstances, one night stands are almost never strictly a casual encounter.
“Casual sex is not casual unless you’re so drunk you don’t remember it,” said Fisher. “Any stimulation of the genitals drives up the dopamine system and that can push you over the threshold into falling in love,” Fisher said.
“And then with orgasm there’s a real flood of oxytocin giving you feelings of deep attachment.”
The main thing to take out of this is that since not everybody enjoys reading, not everyone is going to have the perfect, romantic meeting in a bookstore on a summer afternoon, and that’s ok. Last time we checked, there was no rulebook on how you have to meet your partner.