A Player’s Handbook: How to Master the One-Night Stand

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REPOST from MEN’S JOURNAL | December 10, 2015

In case you have forgotten, one-night stands aren’t all fun. Awkward exchanges, walks of shame, the sobering morning after — your attempt to have a carefree, fun night can backfire. “While spontaneity can spice up the sexual realm, an eyes-wide-open approach combined with pre-planning can help with decision making,” says sexuality educator and sex therapist Reece Malone. So that you don’t have to overthink it, Malone laid out the groundwork — with 8 tips that will make your next one-night stand that much better.

Don’t be desperate.

Put simply: You shouldn’t plan a one-night stand. “Expecting for it to happen or being determined that it will happen can cloud judgement on whom one leaves with,” says Malone. A great night of sex comes from great chemistry, which is hard to cultivate if a person is more determined to go home with almost anyone than to have the best night possible.

Don’t expect a stranger.

Part of the allure of a one-night stand can be the expectation of sleeping with someone you just met. In many cases, however, people end up in this situation with partners they know quite well. “While one-nighters are often associated with the media-contrived romanticism of the across-the-room eye gazes amongst strangers, one-nighters can happen amongst good acquaintances, workmates, friends, classmates, and even amongst ex-partners,” says Malone.

Trust your gut.

Because one-night stands can involve unknown partners or mysterious places, you should pay attention to any sinking feelings you get along the way. “If there is an iota of doubt, a gut feeling, or if someone you know suspects some sketchiness about the potential hook-up, chances are that this isn’t a safe match,” says Malone.

Be picky.

One-night stands shouldn’t involve a lowering of standards. Treat them like any potential partner: “Listen closely whether the potential partner indulges in gossip, brags about past experiences, talks at you rather than with you, barely responds to your questions, isn’t well-thought-out with their boundaries, or pressures you for any reason,” says Malone. “These may all be red flags to either slow things down or even walk away.”

Be safe.

It’s a bit of a mood killer but sex and strangers can be a dangerous combination. “Throwing caution to the wind and being caught up in the moment can make for some potentially unwieldy decisions,” said Malone. To avoid any major issues, talk with every sexual partner about STDs and use protection. As weird as it may seem, it’s also a good idea to exchange information in case something, such as an infection or pregnancy, comes up later. Other less talked about safety considerations include letting a friend know where you are and how you can get home.

Discuss boundaries.

Great sex requires communication, whether with a partner of years or hours. “Ask what their sexual boundaries are, whether they feel comfortable, what feels good and not so good, what they want less or more of, and if there is anything they’d like to know about you,” says Malone.

Use it to experiment.

Many people use one-night stands as an opportunity to spice up their sex life and push their boundaries. “For some people, the one-night stand with someone trustful is an opportunity to try something erotically different, practice some sexual skills,” says Malone.

Be a gentleman.

You may never see this person again but you are permanently linked to them in a pretty intimate way. One of the best ways to leave this experience with smiles all around is to give credit where credit is due. “Acknowledging their sexual talents, that you had a great time, or that you hoped they had a positive experience too can be a meaningful gesture for the other or others involved,” says Malone.

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