How to Host a Successful One-Night Stand
The persistence of the ancient, dreary miasma of American sexual repression is a wonder to behold. It's taken us some 400 years after the heyday of the Puritans to get to a point where you don't have to be married to have sex anymore.
But still, the one-night stand remains trapped in a shadowy limbo: Is it ever going to be okay to get off on a one-off basis?
Whether we want it or not, the hookup is here. An 18-month study of 1,000 college women reported 91 percent said hookup culture defines their campus. Additionally, 40 percent had hooked up—or had a sexual encounter without expecting anything further—and 10 percent said they'd hooked up more than six times.
According to sex therapists, if you take a healthy, open approach, a one-night stand can be a valuable stepping stone in your growth as a sexual being, as well as a bit of cheeky fun.
Here's how to safely have a great time even if you'll never see each other again.
As with all things sexual, most problems occur when people don't talk to each other. It's crucial to a successful one-night stand to make sure you're both on the same page.
"With somebody brand-new, there's often a lack of communication," said Rhoda Lipscomb, a Denver-based licensed sex therapist with 30 years in practice. "They jump in too quickly without an understanding of what each of them wants out of it."
It's crucial to a successful one-night stand to make sure you're both on the same page.
Taking the time to be clear about your sexual expectations upfront—as well as your emotional ones—can go a long way to preventing hurt feelings.
"My first foray into Tinder, quite a few years ago, I met a girl who was a bit younger than me," said Donny, an Irish entrepreneur and travel buff. "I always thought there was an etiquette with Tinder that it was just, 'hit it and quit it.' We hooked up, and after, I was like, 'Oh, yeah, I've got an early morning tomorrow,' and she was like, 'Can we get another blanket on the bed? I'm a bit cold.' And I was like, 'Oh...you're staying?'' To be fair, she never called me again."
If ever there was a perfect opportunity to try something new, the one-night stand is it. You can reinvent your persona from the ground up. You wanna play the role of the bossy dirty-talker? Go for it. Do you want to be the spanker instead of the spankee? Here's your chance.
But how do you break the ice on things like that with a new sexual partner you might never see again?
"I would probably just start to see what their general attitude was toward kink, or alternative sexual expression in general, and see how they respond to that before you get into specifics," Lipscomb said.
Which leads us to...
3. Say what you want...and what you don't want
Having sex with someone on a one-time basis is a fun novelty, but sometimes it can turn uncomfortable.
"One time I was dancing with this hot-looking guy and we left the club and went to his hostel," said Nikita, a 25-year-old nonbinary tattoo artist. "And everything was cool. But from that point on, it was like, porn-star treatment: Slapping me without asking, choking me without asking, stuff like that. I was young, so I don't remember saying much. I like aggressiveness in bed, but under different circumstances."
It's crucial you make it clear when something isn't working for you—and ask permission before introducing anything surprising.
4. Manage expectations
Keep your expectations on an even keel. Trying to change a single outing into something more long-term during a moment of "post-nut clarity" is an easy way to ruin a good night.
On the other end of the spectrum, don't let horniness cloud your vision. Make sure you're very clear about what the night is and isn't, and be sure to watch for warning signs.
"If you're considering a potential partner and they seem a little too needy, this might not be the best person to have a one-night stand with," Lipscomb said. "You have some people with certain emotional issues that, to them, a one-night stand might mean they're picking out dates for the wedding."
5. Do it for the right reasons
If you've ever suffered a bad breakup and immediately gone out and had sex with a stranger, you're not alone. And you're also not alone if you felt a little icky afterward.
This kind of emotionally charged wilding-out can feel tremendously cathartic, but it's not always the right decision.
"If you've just broken up and you're heartbroken, maybe that's not the best time," Lipscomb said. "As much as you might want to rush out and grab hold of somebody, anybody, when we're heartbroken, it's kind of like being inebriated: We're inebriated on emotions, and we don't make the best decisions when we're inebriated."
6. Safety first
It's important to have fun and enjoy sex in whatever way you like with consenting adults, and to do it without shame. At the same time, you need to be conscious of keeping yourself safe, even as you let your inhibitions down and cut loose.
"There are things to be concerned about safety with regard to one-night stands," Lipscomb said. "I think for them to work best, you want to be as sober as possible, and you want to think about safety. You want to make sure you have some conversations about safer sex practices, as well as about what kinds of sexual behavior are okay and what are just off-limits."
The Puritans might not have approved of one-night stands, but for modern sex-positive adventurers, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a little fun without pledging your undying love—or even a second date.
Play safe, and be sensible about with whom and under what circumstances you hook up, and do everything you can to make sure everyone has a great time.