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One-night stands

The idea of ripping your kit off and jumping into bed with a stranger could set anyone’s pulse racing – either with desire or fear. So should you have a one-night stand? What if you regret it? And what could go wrong? TheSite.org talks to relationship psychologist Beverley Stone to get the answers.

Bed with foot, dress and phone chucked on it

The morning after a one night stand could be a little awkward...

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Reasons you might want to have a one night stand:

  • You think it’ll be exciting
  • You like the idea of doing what you want, maybe experimenting a bit, without worrying whether you’ll see them again
  • They’re amazingly good-looking and irresistible
  • They think you’re amazingly good-looking and irresistible
  • It’ll be a great story to tell all your friends in the morning
  • You’re gagging to have sex, with anyone
  • You’re sort of half-hoping it will lead to a relationship
  • You’re drunk. Reason doesn’t even come into it

So, should I have a one-night stand?

The most important thing to ask yourself is ‘are you in control of this situation?’ Is this your choice? Or are you getting pressure from elsewhere to do it?

One-night stands can be really positive things (and a lot of fun), as long as you’re feeling empowered and totally happy with what’s going on. However, if you feel out of control in any way, or you’re feeling used, empty, or just weird in your head, then maybe it’s not the best idea to take them home.

“Make sure it’s what you really want, think about how you’ll feel in the morning and your reasons for doing it,” says Beverley Stone, a relationship psychologist.

Reasons not to have one usually look like this:

  • You’re lonely
  • You have low self-esteem and think it will make you feel better
  • You feel pressured into it, either by your mates or the person you’ve met

And never do it just because you think everyone else is. Firstly, that simply isn’t true, and secondly you should only have sex for yourself.

Top tips for one-night stands:

  • Make sure you’re on the same page before you’re in the same bed (or toilet cubicle). One of you may want it to lead to something more serious, but the other person may not.
  • Don’t do it if either of you are far too drunk to be in control.
  • Tell someone where you’re going. Remember, even if they’re unbelievably gorgeous they’re still a stranger. So protect yourself by letting your mates know your whereabouts.
  • Use a condom. Genital warts aren’t sexy.

I regret having a one-night stand

You slept with someone and it wasn’t great, or even if it was, now you’re feeling rubbish. The fact is, having one-night stands aren’t for everyone, but you can’t beat yourself up about it.

Beverley says use it as a learning experience. “Think to yourself: I now know that one-night stands aren’t for me and I can move on,” she says. Having a one-night stand doesn’t have to shape who you are, it’s just something you did, so let it go.

If you’re worried that you’ve had unprotected sex, go to your local GUM clinic to talk about getting tested for STI’s or get a hold of the morning after pill.

I’m worried I sleep around too much

So you didn’t regret it the first time, but now you’ve had quite a few flings and it’s starting to worry you. You could be concerned for a couple of reasons:

I’m worried about what people are saying. The fact is, people (girls in particular) can be judged and called names. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you’re happy in yourself, and you’re safe, remember your sex life is no one else’s business. “I find the double standards really annoying,” says Lilly, a 22-year-old student. “I really like casual sex, and I hate that, as a girl, it’s not seen as OK.”

I’m worried I’m sleeping around for the wrong reasons. The: “They think I’m fit – go me!” feeling you get after your first one-night stand won’t necessarily last. If you’re shagging about to validate your attractiveness, or to get that same initial high, it may be worth taking some downtime and thinking about why you’re doing this. If you’re worried about your self-esteem, read our tips, or talk to someone about it.

Next Steps

  • Visit Madly in Love to discuss mental health and relationships, share stories and get support and advice.
  • Got a worry about relationships? Whatever the question, get free anonymous advice from one of our relationship experts.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 07-Aug-2014

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