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.

1. Communicate

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.