I have this friend -- Hannah*. Hannah doesn’t like to go to bed alone, at least that’s what she said after kicking out the guy with the Adidas flip-flops we all told her not to hook up with.
Sometimes, depending on where we are and who she’s talking to, she says it’s because she’s lonely. And sometimes, she just calls herself a whore.
Sometimes she says it’s her ex -- that she’s just numbing the pain. And once I heard her say that she just “loved D."
Personally, I don’t care what her reasons are. I don’t judge her. I wouldn’t want to be her. But I definitely don’t judge her.
I get no pleasure out of meaningless sex and empty "goodbyes." I can’t handle the rawness (no pun intended) of the one-night stand, the idea of showing someone so much of me, only to never see him again.
I don’t think Hannah’s that rare, however. I think we all have at least one friend who can’t go out without bringing someone home. The one who will meet someone on the street before giving up. The one with the craziest stories and shameless advice.
Hell, we’ve all been Hannah at one point. We’ve all been so terribly lonely that we've resorted to bringing home the next guy or girl who made us feel just the least bit safe. We’ve all gotten so f*cking drunk that we’d mistaken a little flirting for something more.
While we all may have had moments when we’ve felt like Hannah, we’re not all capable of being Hannah. Because Hannah most likely has a distinct gene responsible for her propensity for one-night stands. A gene that makes her go after sex the same way some of us go after carbs.
According to Justin Garcia's research conducted in 2012, "Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review," there’s a specific gene that can determine if a person is prone to hookups.
First noted as the "adventure gene" by Richard Ebstein, DRD4 has been linked to the motivation of sexual behaviors, specifically promiscuity and infidelity.
In an attempt to locate this gene, Garcia and his team surveyed 181 college students, asking them to fill out questionnaires about their sexual habits, along with other compulsive, high-risk habits, such as partying and gambling.
The 43 of the 181 students who had the gene reported “a greater categorical rate of promiscuous sexual behavior.”
Garcia and his team also collected buccal swab samples and genotyped the DRD4 VNTR, finding that individuals with at least one 7-repeat allele (7R+) reported a greater categorical rate of promiscuous sexual behavior (i.e., having ever had a “one-night stand”) and report a more than 50 percent increase in instances of sexual infidelity.
Basically, if you're having a one-night stand, there's a good chance the person you're getting busy with, or you, yourself, are part of the special gene pool, and there are some specific personality traits that may come with it.
The constant search for the next best thing
Sex, like food, means different things to different people. Some see it only as nourishment, while others eat it until they’re sick.
For some, sex is that delicious piece of chocolate cake they can’t get enough of. If you’re having a one-night stand, there’s a good chance the guy or girl you’re with isn’t going to be satisfied just holding hands and spending the night at first base.
They are trying to satisfy their needs, and you can't help them -- they'll find someone else.
According to Garcia:
We had predicted, from the start, that this gene might be associated with some types of sexual behavior because of its association with the reward pathway. And one of the reasons we engage in sex is because it's pleasurable, it's rewarding.
The avoidance of pain at all costs
Anyone who is continually seeking pleasure is subsequently avoiding pain. The man or woman you're with is most likely out there trying to distract him or herself from someone or something he or she doesn't want to think about.
Pleasure is the reward of pain avoidance, and the best way to forget your troubles while also feeling damn good is a night of hot, blacked-out sex.
Symptoms of ADHD
The thing about the one-night stand is it's all about having something new and having it now. According to the Mayo Clinic, several studies have found associations between the DRD4 7R allele and ADHD.
Those who crave random sexual encounters don't care so much about the present moment, but the next one. If you have friends who are prone to one-night stands, you've probably noticed they get bored easily in bars without a lot of people. They like to make sure they have something to go after, something to distract them.
The ability to do it again and again-- no matter what happened before
It may be your first time, but there’s a large possibility it’s not theirs.
The thing about the guy or gal you’re cuddling up to is this person isn't necessarily as innocent as he or she may have had you believe.
These people, like yourself, may be out there every weekend trying to satisfy that itch they’ll never scratch.
In Garcia’s review, another factor was introduced into the hook-up persona. In a sample of 394 young students, the strongest predictor of hook-up behavior was a strong track record. Those who engaged in penetrative sexual encounters were roughly six times more likely than their counterparts to repeat this over the course of a university semester.
There's obviously a stigma against those who have one-night stands, but once you've already done it, the stigma becomes just another thing that's not worth giving a f*ck about.
*Name has been changed