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How to Have a One Night Stand Without Being an Asshole

According to experts.
'Knocked Up'
Screengrab of 'Knocked Up'

Casual sex isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re going to get it on with someone you’re not in a committed relationship with, it’s best to prepare yourself for what’s about to go down. Securing enthusiastic consent, making sure neither of you are blotto, using protection, and keeping your friends aware of your whereabouts are just some of the ways you can ensure a fun, safe (and hopefully hot) sexual encounter.


We talked to sexologists, therapists, and sex experts about what to keep in mind when having a one-night stand. Here’s what they recommend to get your rocks off without waking up with a ton of regret. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Tell a Friend, and Put Down the Booze

If you are having a one night stand and you know nothing about the person you are about to go home with please, for all the love of sex, send your location to a friend. And if you’re real smart, take a playful selfie of the person you’re with and send it to a friend with the location. It might be your saving grace if she or he becomes a crazy person.

If you are planning to drink, don’t drink too much or too fast looking to let down your guard. If you need a ton of alcohol to hook up with someone you might not really want to sleep with them in the first place. If you are out with friends or alone on the prowl and you find you’re in a hot and heavy exchange with someone that it might go down with, slow down. Drunk sex is not sexy or safe sex. If you are stumbling or slurring your words you don’t need sex. No one wants to wake up in the morning like, “WTF, did I do last night?” - Michelle Hope, sexologist

Be Vocal About Your Needs

A one-night stand means you're agreeing to be intimate for one night, not that you're agreeing to be in a relationship, date each other, or even get each other's phone numbers!

Ask for what you want. Give feedback, make specific requests. People in relationships tend to have a harder time asking for what they want in the bedroom because they're worried about the impact their requests might have on their partner or on the relationship. If you know this is just a casual thing, allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for what you really want! - Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and online sex therapy course creator


Consent Is Essential, Don’t Forget Protection!

Consent is key. Consent isn't the absence of "no," it's an enthusiastic "yes!" So make sure you're communicating and ensuring consent all throughout the night. Check in with what turns the other person on. Don't just assume that they're enjoying it. And, no, you can't always tell if someone is faking it.

Always carry and use protection. Safe sex is good sex. You're looking to make this a one night stand so don't make it a lifelong thing by getting (someone) pregnant or contractingan STI. - Theresa Herring, a licensed marriage and family therapist

Experiment, and Make Sure Your Motives Are Pure

If you're with a person that you feel comfortable with, you're going to find it a lot easier to orgasm and enjoy yourself. One night stands are also a great place to try out new things and build your "repertoire" without worrying much about how it will affect your relationship; it's only one night long, after all.

Do it for the right reasons. One night stands can be so much fun when you're single or in an open relationship and you find the right person. But if you're doing it as an act of revenge or to get a little extra on the side, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. - Sean Jameson, Founder of the Bad Girls Bible sex advice site and podcast

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