30 Things To Know About One-Night Stands From People Who Love Them

Photographed by Megan Madden
At their best, one-night stands can be exciting, liberating, and intimate, all in one go. But, like anything that involves sex with another person, they can also be awkward, regrettable, and/or forgettable. And if you've never had one, they can seem daunting. After all, there's really no handbook for one-night trysts.

But while there aren't official guidelines on how to have a great one-night stand, there are certain things you may want to keep in mind. (For starters: Always practice safe sex.)

So, to get you going, we asked 30 Refinery29 employees and readers (who are all self-proclaimed one-night stand enthusiasts) for their tips on how to successfully navigate a one-night stand. From what to pack to how to handle the morning after, we've covered it all. Take a look at what they had to say, and feel free to comment with some of your own tips.

And remember: Sex isn't one-size-fits-all, so these tips aren't gospel — these are just 30 people's opinions based on their personal experiences, so you do you.
The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.
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1 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Do not overstay your welcome."

"Do not overstay your welcome. I have been a victim of this several times. My apartment is not an Airbnb. There is no complimentary breakfast, and checkout is way before noon."
2 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
ALWAYS wake up before [your partner] does to make your exit. I find that the smoothest way to avoid the awkward morning after discussion is to be gone before it comes up. Get it done and get the hell out.”
3 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Always pack sunglasses to shield you from the world if you wake up somewhere real random."
4 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"LEAVE as soon as [your partner] is asleep."
5 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Always go out on weekends with an extra pair of underwear, a condom, a contact-lens case, a hair tie, and sunglasses. Drink tons of water once you’re at the one-night stand's house so that you wake up with (hopefully) better morning breath that isn't all dry and alcohol-y."
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6 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"Save yourself the embarrassment of seeing your one-night stand in the daylight. Your ego will thank you."
7 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"I am a terrible sleeper, so I always bring one of my sleeping pills with me when I go out in case I want to sleep there without acting like an insomniac."

Ed note: This isn't necessarily health advice we'd recommend, but like we said, you do you.
8 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"Only have a one-night stand with someone you trust and who you know won't judge you based on your sexual performance. The guy I had sex with was pretty gentle and sweet, but I know friends who have had really crappy experiences. Just be careful out there!"
9 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Always have it at your place to feel safe, comfortable, and in control."
10 of 30
Photographed by Megan Madden.
"[Have] total understanding of what both people want. Gotta communicate!"
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11 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Communicate your intentions with the other person."
12 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"Set the tone at the beginning! Be clear about your intentions and desires. If your potential partner isn't on the same page, politely decline or get reoriented. Nothing ruins a one-night stand more than having high expectations unmet."
13 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Don't think too much about insecurities that you may have. Your partner doesn't really care that you have cellulite, or any other 'flaws.' Just let go of everything and have a fun time. Sex will be awkward if you think about how your body looks from your partner's eyes. So don't think too much and just have fun (and don't forget condoms)."
14 of 30
Photographed by Isa Wipfli.
"Be open to new things!"
15 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Be honest with yourself. Is this really what you want? If so, have fun! There's a big chance you won't see this person again, so just enjoy your time together."
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16 of 30
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
"Always keep makeup wipes in your bag."
17 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Summon all your sexual fantasies and be creative — make your mind go wild, and don't think too much about who you're fucking, because that'll fuck everything up."
18 of 30
Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
"Don't overthink it. When entering into any sexual relationship, I have a tendency to overthink what I want. Do I try being overly flirty, really blunt, or just pretend like I do this all the time and it's nothing?

"Just relax, do what you're comfortable with, and when it's over, you can be happy with your decision, instead of wondering 'what if?' all night long."
19 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Always bring mints or a mini toothbrush for morning breath, if the person you slept with is lucky enough to have you stay for breakfast."
20 of 30
Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
"NO SLEEPOVERS — that's the most important. In my experience, when you wake up next to someone, you can start to think the interaction was more meaningful than it was. But also, be completely upfront and stick to your guns, and just have a ton of fun."
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21 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Treat the other person with respect and dignity. Having someone stay the night and getting a casual breakfast the next morning doesn't equal an instant relationship. It's just decent."
22 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"There needs to be an understanding that you're not [entering into] a relationship, and that the two of you are consenting adults who just want a night to enjoy each others bodies and your own. I've never regretted a single one-night stand I've participated in."
23 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Be firm with your boundaries. Do not have a one-night stand if you are not comfortable with the idea. Make sure to use a condom to prevent STIs! If you want to stay the night, stay the night. Don't rush out in the morning without saying goodbye. If you don't want to keep in contact, be clear. Have fun, but be safe as well."
24 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"[Do it with] someone you know you will never run into again."
25 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Be instinctual; go with what you feel, both before and after. If the person's weird, play it safe. If you want to try spicing things up, bring it up! Just have a good time and make sure you're safe, always."
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26 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"If you're uncomfortable, say so. If you want to leave, leave. If you're having fun and it feels good, communicate!"
27 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"If you have even the slightest doubt about going through with it, back out. Never put yourself in a situation that makes you uneasy."
28 of 30
Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
"Have confidence, just do you, and go for the moment instead of dancing around it."
29 of 30
Illustrated by: Tristan Offit.
"Be confident and don't save their number. Just enjoy the evening and take it for what it is: A weekly pick-me-up."
30 of 30
Photographed by Dan McCoy.
"Don't drink or do drugs. Having sex while drunk or high can actually be amazing — with someone you know and trust. Don't do it with strangers. Things can get out of control too easily."
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