How to have a one night stand

Man putting his pants on to leave whilst a woman in black lingerie continues to sleep

In many ways, the one night stand is the classic option when it comes to casual sex. It’s the ‘martini’ of hook-ups; the scenario we often imagine when we think about getting laid. But how do you ensure a great one night stand?

Although modern dating has given us a wider choice of ways to connect with playmates – friends with benefits, sex parties, booty calls – many of us still fantasise about a night of passion with a stranger. But often, we simply don’t know how to make this happen and we’re terrified of getting it wrong. 

I’ve found that an enjoyable one-nighter is possible…if you do it right.

I’ve been doing one-nighters since way before they were cool; in my twenties, I’d often hang out in Sydney clubs and pick up interesting people. I had a strict ‘no relationships’ rule, so the morning after our encounter I’d refuse their offer of another date and kick them out.

To be honest, it wasn’t the best way. I still feel ashamed when I think about how I treated my playmates. Some of them were hurt because they assumed we’d be seeing each other again. And because I wasn’t being honest about what I wanted, I felt mean and manipulative. 

This is the problem with one-night stands: Although they’re fun, they can also be awkward. Sometimes we’re afraid we won’t know how to satisfy our hook-up partners, because we barely know them. Or we feel obligated to see them again. Occasionally, we’re treated badly, or treat other people badly, because we don’t know there’s a better way.

Luckily, I’ve since discovered that a one night stand can be fun if you do it right. Here are my top tips for an enjoyable encounter.

Before you hook up, deal with your sex-negativity

Some folks want casual sex, but don’t feel good about it. Outdated cultural norms such as, ‘women who sleep around are sluts’ or ‘guys who try to pick up are sleazy’ can get into our heads, ruin the vibe, and crush our enjoyment.

If this is you, you’re not alone. We all struggle with this kind of sex-negativity. But sex is fun and natural - as long as you treat your partners with respect, you’re not doing anything wrong. 

Before you hook up, get your head in the right place. Remind yourself that sexy fun is okay! If your guilt and anxiety around sex really bothers you, a good sex-positive therapist can be helpful. Deal with this stuff first, and your one-nighters are going to feel much more pleasurable.

Find the right person for your one-night fling

Worried about convincing someone to join you for a one-night stand? Everything becomes easier when you find other people who want what you do.

We sometimes assume that the only way to get casual sex is to trick others. Some people invite a friend round ‘just to hang out’ when they want more. Or they might meet someone hot at a bar or club and lie about wanting a relationship (or say nothing, and let their date assume). This is VERY bad karma … and it makes for bad sex too. Nobody likes being surprised. And if you’ve manipulated your date into spending time with you, you’ll never know for sure if they really like you.

Instead, search for people who are upfront about wanting a one-night stand. Sites such as Adult Match Maker allow you to find playmates who are up-front about wanting casual sex. In fact it's one of the "Looking for" options when you edit your profile and you can use Advanced Search to find like-minded members. When you’re both keen for a hook up, you don’t need to worry about convincing anyone. 

Treat your date like a person first, and a sex partner second

Just because it’s casual doesn’t mean your playmate is a sex object. You still need to make friends with them.

I often have this problem when I try to hook up. As soon as guys find out I’m looking for a one-nighter, they stop speaking to me like a human being and start pushing for sex. They assume they can get straight to the touchy-feely stage without the friendly conversation. But why would I want to have sex with someone before I’ve gotten to know them a little?

The best encounters happen when we connect as people. That means taking the time to get to know someone, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. When I meet someone new, I have a few drinks with them and ask them about themselves. Once we’re both sure we like each other, we take things to the bedroom.

If you can’t stand to spend a few hours together with your clothes on, it’s probably not going to be that great when you get naked. And when you do put in the time, things feel much more comfortable (which makes the sex better too.)

Talk about your expectations beforehand

Having an honest conversation about expectations can be a fun way to get to know someone better, and it’s the only way to make sure they’re right for you.

This might sound terrifying. Talking about sex can feel confronting! But if you want to avoid the angst that so often occurs during or after a one night stand, agreeing on the details is essential.

Here’s how I do it: I wait until an hour or two into our first meeting. We might be having a coffee or a cocktail, or simply taking a walk together. When the vibe feels right, I’ll say ‘So, what are you into? What would you like to get up to if we decide to go home together?’ We might talk about kink activities, how we like to be touched, what kind of safer sex we’ll be doing, or whether they’ll be staying the night. It’s a chance for both of us to have a say about what turns us on and what we need.

Done right, it’s not awkward. It’s just another way to flirt – with the added advantage of knowing exactly what they want once you get sexy.

Be a safe person for your one night stand partner

Safety matters – not just safer sex, but also mental safety. Good sex means being able to relax and go with the flow, and that kind of vibe is only possible if everyone feels comfortable and confident.

Being a safe person means showing your date that you respect their needs. If they they’re not into something, say, “Thanks for letting me know!” If they look nervous, slow down and check in: “How are you feeling right now?” And always ask before you make any big moves in the bedroom. It’s not just about, “Can we have sex?” It’s also “I’d love to go down on you right now,” or, “Would you be up for a bit of spanking?” or, “How do you feel about dirty talk?”

The more you can help your date trust you, the more they’re going to enjoy themselves. It’s the key to satisfying them and feeling good about your sexual performance.

Say, ‘Thanks, bye!’ when you’re done

Often, the most difficult part of a one night stand is the morning afterwards. The standard ‘relationship escalator’ that we’re taught means we sometimes feel pressure to commit to a longer relationship, even when we don’t want one. We feel guilty walking away and resort to all sorts of bad behaviour, such as sneaking out or ghosting

A good one night stand means knowing how to disengage respectfully. You don’t have to feel ashamed about the sex. You don’t have to date the person. And it’s kind to thank them, offer compliments, and be honest about not wanting to see them again.

My favourite line is, “Thanks for this, it’s been amazing. See you round!” If you’ve been up-front about wanting a one night stand, leaving won’t be a surprise. It should feel as easy as saying goodbye to a new friend.

The perfect one-nighter is one of life’s greatest pleasures – a thrilling encounter with someone new that leaves you feeling on top of the world. It doesn’t have to be awkward or leave you feeling guilty. If you find the right person, treat them with respect, share your expectations and create a safe space for them to enjoy themselves, you’ll be able to walk away with your head held high.


  • Utetopia2020


    More than a month ago

    How to have a one night stand:
    Step 1: Be attractive
    Step 2: Don't be unattractive.

  • Ifuwannadome


    More than a month ago

    Ooops i just used them and left.........sorry guys lol guys are the sluts, not us lol, didnt know i was meant to have manners, they only brag to make themselves look big,

  • BBWmature


    More than a month ago

    AMEN!! Thanks for a great article IF ONLY the guys will read it! The part about being a person first is gold, get tired of the ‘slut’ referencing just because you’re on a hookup site!

    • Mindfood2


      More than a month ago

      Agree, there must be a spark and connection..the rest will just flow along the way whether it's a onenight stand or FWB hookup site can have its own standard.. depends on the individuals..

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