The Unspoken Rules of a One Night Stand

It’s always good to be on the same page.

Before Tinder, one night stands were a lot more difficult. You had to show up to a bar, be the most charming version of yourself and hope that someone was brave enough to go home with someone they’ve spoken to for 5 minutes. But the wonderful world of online dating changed all of that. One night stands are way more accessible and way more common than they used to be.

You still have to be charming enough to write a swipe-rightable profile and string a few sentences together in chat, but if you can bypass that very low barrier of entry, you’ll be on the train to one-night-stand town. But, once you arrive, there are a few unspoken rules that any decent human being should abide by. Make your expectations clear

While we may not always know that we’re headed for a one night stand before it happens, you can be upfront about your intentions from the get-go. If you know you’re only looking for something casual, just say so. That way you can avoid hurt feelings or expectations of things going further.

Message them before you even meet up, or if you happen to meet in person (but what are the chances of that? What year is this?) mention something before things go too far. They should be able to decide if it’s worth their time and energy to pursue something casual with you. If they’re looking for something more serious and all you want is a quick fling, they may leave the interaction feeling used. It’s important to be honest.

Say something like:

You seem like a really cool person, plus you’re super cute (which is a bonus). I’d love to meet you irl/ continue to get to know you, if you’re up for it. But I want to be upfront and let you know that I’m not currently looking for anything serious. If you’re still interested in going further, that’s awesome. If not, I totally understand!

Bring the necessary tools.

Make like the Boy Scouts and “always be prepared.” You don’t have to bring a survival kit, but there are a few things you should always have on hand when prepping for a one night stand.

1. Protection

Don’t expect that your hookup will have protection, always bring your own. You don’t want to be caught in the heat of the moment and need to stop because neither of you came prepared.

Pop a few condoms/dental dams/contraceptive sponges/whatever floats your boat, into your wallet before you head out. But, if you happen to forget, remember that most bar bathrooms are equipped with machines, or you can stop by your local corner store for emergency supplies. Make it part of the adventure!

2. Money

Don’t be caught without enough money to get home after the fun is done.
You may find yourself on the other side of town. You need to make sure you have cab or bus fare to make your way back home. Budget it into your evening expenses so you’re not stuck and frantically texting friends to come find you.

It’s not fun to feel like you’re trapped or reliant on someone (especially your date) to get you home. Practice premeditated independence and be financially prepared to get home.

Post-Sex Tips

Once everything is said and done, be sure to follow the proper etiquette so everyone feels comfortable.

1. Be prepared to leave.

If the one night stand is at their place, you should be prepared to gtfo, unless you’re specifically invited to stay the night (and that means without any prompting or hinting from you). There’s nothing wrong with staying the night and waking up together the next day. Maybe you could even grab some brunch. But it has to be what everyone involved wants.

Some people may not be comfortable having you sleep over. They may need to process the experience by themselves, or maybe they just prefer to sleep alone. No matter the reason, you need to give them their space.

Which isn’t to say that you need to run out the door as soon as the sexual activity is over, but you should stay aware of body language and verbal cues that it’s time to leave. Then collect your things (all of them) and don’t forget to thank them for hosting on the way out

2. To Ghost or Not To Ghost

I’m not going to lie. Being ghosted sucks. If you had a good time on your one night stand, but don’t feel the need to see them again, send them a polite text the next day saying just that.

“It was nice meeting you yesterday. I had a great time and loved learning more about you. That being said, I do want to leave this at a first date and wish you nothing but the best! Good luck with [add personal details about goal they were working on]. Take care!”

I know that the whole idea of a one night stand means that you don’t see each other again, but it’s still super classy to send a follow-up text thanking them for their time. And maybe something you thought would be a one night stand turns out to be something more long term. If you want to see them again, there’s no harm in asking.

One night stands can be an absolute blast. As long as you play safe and respect the boundaries of your short term partner, it can be a great experience. Even the ones that don’t go entirely to plan give you more insight into what you’re looking for in the future. So get messy, awkward & weird and enjoy each other in however short the time may be.


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4 thoughts on “The Unspoken Rules of a One Night Stand”

    1. Thanks for your comment! For safer sex and to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), dental dams are sometimes suggested for use as a physical barrier against the exchange of body fluids during cunnilingus and anilingus, especially for women who have sex with women.[28] However, they are rarely used for this purpose, and there is no good evidence that their use reduces the risk of STI transmission, including the risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus.

      After lubrication with a water-based lubricant, an unpunctured dental dam may be held over the vulva or anus, allowing oral stimulation of these areas without transmission of bodily fluids or direct physical contact. Plastic cling wrap, condoms (repurposed by cutting off the tip and ring and cutting them lengthwise) or latex gloves (cut open longitudinally) can be used for STI protection in a similar manner as a dental dam, by providing a physical barrier to cover the vaginal or anal areas during oral sex, these alternative barrier methods are more affordable and readily available than dental dams.


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