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The Updated Basics Of One-Night Stands

Are you a cuddler? Or are you Mr. Wash and Go?
by Karen A. Pangan | Apr 1, 2017
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Going on a one-night stand is similar to ordering that upsized serving of your favorite fast food meal. You know it isn’t good for you, but since you’re so hungry anyway, you’d willingly bite into that greasy, messy goodness because you need something instant, logic be damned.

“A one night stand is a great way to add excitement to your single life," explains sex and relationship expert Chantelle Otten. "It is good in boosting self-esteem, and if you are mentally ready for a no strings attached event, approaching it in a positive and respectful way is the best tactic.”

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Still, this doesn’t make the act any less awkward and confusing at times, especially for people who are new in the playing field. But first, why do men even do it?

Anton, 28, says it is because of its straightforward, uncomplicated nature. “I have needs, but I don’t want a girlfriend. So casual sex is the easy way out.”

Tom, 32, on the other hand, has a different reason. “It helps boost my confidence. If a girl is willing to do it with you then and there, then it means you have something going good for you.”

Dr. Angelo Subida, a clinical psychotherapist, says cultural or social group pressure can play a part in the psychology of one-night stands. “Other than physical urges, men can be driven to engage on it because of the need to keep up with others. There is also the concept of yabang which is culturally and socially conditioned—or sometimes reinforced—among men.”

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When does casual sex turn into compulsive sex behavior?

The need for casual, short-term physical relationships may be considered normal for some, but for others, it can be a behavioral problem. “One-night stands can be an addictive drug-of-choice for men and even women. Because it lets you accomplish something that you strongly desire, it can turn into a compulsive, addicting activity,” Dr. Subida explained.

So when is it considered a problem? According to Dr. Subida, it’s when the act becomes frequent and out of control that aspects of a person’s life—work, family, health, etc.—becomes extremely damaged and dysfunctional.

Still, everything can be done responsibly and in moderation. As casual and impromptu one-night stands are, they actually involve basic rules every adventurous joe should adhere to. Below, we try to answer some of the most common questions about one night stands.  

1) What's the best approach to sealing the deal?

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The hardest hurdle when it comes to casual sex? Asking for it. Without the right approach, women can feel intimidated, even harassed.

Kaila, 23, shares, “Even if I am looking for it, it can be a deal-breaker when a guy would just approach and ask if I want to have sex with him. Sure, I am looking for a hookup, but there’s extra brownie points if somebody is interested in something more than just what’s under your skirt.”

Otten, advises to test the waters first. “When approaching a woman; compliment her, smile and introduce yourself. Follow her lead and respond when she flirts back. Be warm, friendly, and accommodating.”

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An international study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Psychology department says women regret one-night stands while men regret not having more of it. Only one in three women say that they are happy about hookups as compared to 50 percent of men, the researchers added.

The gist? Be subtle but clear about your intentions. California Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Karen Gless suggests the best way to ask without seeming like a creep. “You have to be willing to not have sex with her in order to have sex with her. A woman is generally more into a relationship than they are into sex so he needs to see her as a person of value.”

In terms of finally asking the big Q, Otten suggests you invite the woman to a quieter place. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a hotel, it can be a location where you two can continue flirting, like a bar down the road. “Kissing is a great way to lead to the suggestion of going somewhere private to get intimate.” 

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2) Your place or my place?

Most movies show casual sex partners doing it at either’s homes, but reality has slightly different standards when it comes to where you do the deed.

Otten says it is better to go to the woman’s home or a hotel. “But [if you’re going out with hooking up in mind], make sure your room at home is clean and tidy just in case. The best thing to do would be to ask ‘Would you like me to come to your place?’ If she says no, follow up with other options.”

Mika, 28, prefers the same. “I’m more comfortable renting a room. You never know if the guy has some hidden cameras installed in his room. It’s also safer for women to keep their addresses confidential.”

3) To glove or not to glove?

We’ll say it again. Always. Keep. It. Wrapped. Condom is an absolute necessity both for you and your partner’s safety, casual sex or not.

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“Yes to condom, of course. It just feels more secure for us women. It’s sort of a turn off too when a man approaches you for a hookup without a condom ready,” Rika, 30, says.

“Bring protection and use it,” advises Otten. “Not only are you protected from unwanted pregnancy, but sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) that spread through oral and penetrative intercourse as well.”

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The numbers definitely support this. A 2013 study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) shows that 7.3 percent of 6.2 million Filipinos aged 15 to 24 engage in casual sex. From this, only 40 percent are aware of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.

Otten explains that even skin to skin contact can pass along STIs like genital warts and herpes. But what should you do if you have the condition and suddenly find yourself in a one-night stand situation?

“It is best to gently tell your partner for the night before your pants are off. A line such as, ‘I like you, but I need to talk to you about something before we go any further’ is a good approach to use.” It may be a one time thing, but respect and honesty goes a long way still.

4) How do we anticipate the moves women like?

One-night stands can be tricky to navigate if you think about the actual sex. You and your partner are there for your mutual need for a no strings attached type of pleasure, but since this is hard, raw, sex anyway, affection can pretty much be thrown into the mix as well.

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For example, some women do not feel comfortable about men going down on them, thinking that it is something that is far too affectionate and personal for casual hook-ups. Others are as extreme as drawing a line on kissing.

Erika, 28, is an example. “I don’t like men kissing me on the lips. It just feels too intimate and I feel like that is something I should reserve for serious lovemaking.”

So the question is, are there sexual acts and gestures that are off limits when it comes to casual hookups?

“Cuddling, kissing, and romanticising are completely acceptable. It really depends on the wants of your partner,” says Otten. She also highlighted the importance of a very important keyword: Communication.

“If the gesture is safe and both parties consent, it is acceptable. The most important thing is to communicate and share what turns you on. Make sure your partner’s desires and your own are understood clearly. This can be a good opportunity to try new sexual activity that you have never tried before, but just make sure you are both in control and alcohol is not driving your communication.”

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What about post-sex affection then? Carrie, 32, shares that it depends on her mood. “To be honest, it depends on the performance of the guy. If I enjoyed it, then I’m good with some cuddling. If it was bad sex, then ‘off you go, honey’.”

5) What's the proper way to end the night?

When all’s over and done with, how you cross the finish line should be just as good as how you started the race. When asked whether men should leave immediately, Dr. Gless says to gauge it according to the woman.

“It depends on your partner. Since generally, women are more into relationships, majority of them feel cared for when men stay overnight.”

Again, this is a case-to-case basis. You can play it well by asking directly. Or, if the two of you ended up at your place, you can tell her beforehand if you prefer her to pack up immediately—in a respectful manner, of course.

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“I really don’t have a problem about men wanting me to leave immediately,” Diana, 24, says. “But at least walk me out the door or help me hail a cab.”

In terms of saying goodbyes, Otten suggests to stick to the truth and skip overpromising just for the sake of being nice. “Thank her for her company, but do not make promises such as ‘I’ll call you’ or ‘Let’s see each other again’ if you don’t mean it.”

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Last, always remember to leave with all of your belongings. If there is something worse about bad sex, it’s realizing you left your underwear where it isn’t wanted.

Dr. Angelo Subida is a clinical psychotherapist and writer. He can be reached at his website, For consultation, you can email him at

Chantelle Otten is an internationally educated Sexologist, Sex and Relationship Expert from Melbourne, Australia. Chantelle specializes in online therapy and has clients from across Australia and overseas. For inquiries and other sex-related problems, visit her website or Facebook page.

Karen Gless, PhD, LMFT, RN, is a Licensed marriage and Family Therapist. She is also a therapeutic innovator, author, and a registered nurse with over 20 years in a successful psychotherapy practice. In her career she is now emphasizing sharing the latest amazing discoveries about what works in relationships. You can reach her through

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