Sometimes, a casual, no-strings-attached hookup can be appealing. Other times, we regret it the morning after. However you feel about it, you have to make sure it’s on your terms and in (or close to) your comfort zone. Before you head out for a one-night adventure, consider these points.
A one-night stand doesn’t always mean you found a random stranger and hopped into bed with them. It can be someone you know and trust, and that feels the same way about you. The ideal partner for a one night stand is not someone that you see a future with, but someone that you feel comfortable with and can trust.
With the right person, a one-night stand can be a freeing, feel-good experience. It can help you get back in touch with yourself after a bad breakup, relieve stress, or fulfill certain needs when you’re single and uninterested in a relationship.
When intentions and expectations are clear and you walk away without problems, the idea of a one-night stand makes it sound like not such a bad thing.
That being said, there are of course downsides to one-night stands, and they are plentiful. First and foremost, if you choose the wrong partner, things can be uncomfortable, awkward, and even upsetting. Conversely, you could develop unreciprocated feelings (or vice versa) afterward. Even if you choose a person you’re comfortable with, it’s impossible to know for sure whether things will go well or end badly, so it’s a risk either way.
Additionally, STDs, pregnancy, and all the typical worries associated with sex are still prevalent and important issues, and even more so with a one-night stand. Always, always use protection. Initiate that conversation and hold your partner to it.
Finally, there’s almost always the awkwardness of “the after.” Don’t take advantage of someone for your own, one-time enjoyment. Be clear about your intentions, and give yourself permission to leave at any point, because there’s always the potential, when you invite a stranger in, that you don’t have as much control over the situation as you imagined.
When it comes to one-night stands, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Unfortunately for you planners out there, this really isn’t the type of situation that you can map out to ensure it’s absolutely perfect, which leaves a lot of gray areas that can tip the scales either way.
If you do want to move forward, make sure you are positive it’s what you want. If you are, put your fail-safes in place. Don’t give in on the topic of protection, give yourself an out, and the basic dating rules still apply, even if it is just one night (i.e. always let a friend know where you are going to be and you can walk away at any point – no will always mean no).
If you don’t want to move forward, there is nothing wrong with that decision, either! One-night stands are not for faint hearted, and that’s not a slight. It can’t be stressed enough that everyone experiences sex differently, and while there are generalizations that are made based on gender, that’s not to say there are hard and defined rules on what you should and shouldn’t do. Listen to yourself and trust your ability to make the right decision for you.
In all, your sexual decisions are your own to make. Regardless of what your body might be telling you, always listen to your head and your gut, even (and especially) if they aren’t in line with your desires.