So you’ve decided you’re up for a one-night stand. Good for you. We’re not going to spoon-feed you the how-to guide - that’s for another time - but before you get out there for your tryst with whatever partner you’ve chosen, it’s important to remember that you might be putting yourself in a new and unfamiliar position.
While it’s not necessarily unsafe to choose a one-night stand, by taking our advice and staying mindful of a few small things, you can create an atmosphere in which you can safely have fun and avoid any unnecessary risks.
In the same way that you might avoid walking a certain route or a certain bar because you know it’s full of creeps, you should give the same level of thought to where you search for your one-night stand partner. Different websites, apps and services have different reputations, different appeals, and attract different users. Think about what you’re looking for - is it discreet dating? Swinging? Parties? Then use the right site to find it. Google around for recommendations - ‘best websites to find silver foxes’, ‘app for married swingers’, and so on. If you trust the method you use to select and meet your one-night stands, the more likely you are to have a good experience.
- Meet them in a public place beforehand. One simple way to get a feel for the encounter early on is to ask to meet in a bar before you go to your flat or hotel room to get down. You can try and get a feel for your date as a person, through conversation. Read their body language. Do they hold eye contact? If you’re going to be comfortable with this person, you should be able to have a conversation with them. Also, meeting your one-night stand for a coffee in the daytime lets you spend the rest of the afternoon thinking about what you’re going to do to them later. You could even text them some of your thoughts to get started with!
- If you exchanged pictures, think: do they match their photograph? We’re all guilty of it, of course - sharing an especially flattering picture, or one taken a few months (and a few pounds) ago. But if the picture is clearly a different person, that’s a big red flag, and you should think about getting the hell out of there.
- On that topic: make sure to have an exit plan. See if the place has an ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme - it's often displayed on posters in the bathrooms, but you could also arrive early and ask the bar staff. If you feel unsure or just too nervous while you're casing your one-night stand over drinks, you can go to the bar and ask for a certain person by name. This is a codeword that lets the bar staff know you want to be 'rescued', and they will then do certain pre-arranged things - from calling you a taxi to pretending you have an urgent phone call. However, if you're comfortable and confident, it is your right to tell your date that actually you don't feel like it tonight, and excusing yourself politely and firmly.
- Don’t be embarrassed to tell a friend where you’re going beforehand. You could say it’s a blind date, if you’re too nervous to tell them you’re meeting someone with the sole intention of hooking up for one night only. If someone knows roughly where you'll be, and even if they're ready to come and pick you up if you need it, that's a bonus. You could also arrange to send them a text with where you’re going, if the situation moves from the bar to another address.
- Trust your instincts. Remember: you’re meeting a stranger. Bail if you get bad vibes. Your gut feeling is usually right! There are millions of people out there for you to screw, and thanks to the internet, they are all more available than ever for no-strings fun. Don't force something that feels wrong because you're horny - it's not worth it.
- Communicate. Discuss your needs, wants and hard stops. Tell them what you want and don’t want. Start early and keep the dialogue open. This establishes a space in which you can share open and honest talk and feel more connected, more trusting, and less inhibited with your one-night stand.
- You may be nervous, especially if it's your first one-night stand - but know your limits. Don’t drink too much, and don’t mix alcohol and drugs. You don’t know if you can trust your date to take care of you - and if they're a stranger, it's polite, as well as prudent, not to put this kind of pressure on them. Keep it sexy and don't be a drag. Also, if your date seems to be consuming too much, you might think about whether or not they can consent - if they’re trashed, you’re better off sending them home in a taxi and looking for a one-night stand who wants to get down to it and not just get hammered.
- Ask them if they’ve done this before. Maybe they have a certain 'way' of doing things - meeting at a certain bar, renting a certain hotel, even using certain toys and products. If you’re not comfortable or confident asking for what you want right away, you could let them take the lead - of course, if they’re shy too, maybe you’re going to need a couple of drinks!
- Don't do anything you feel uncomfortable with. It is your right to say ‘no’. If you don't say 'no' much, why not practice? 'No, I won't go on the coffee run.' 'No, I can't pick you up from the airport.' 'No, my diary is full that day'. See how easy it can be? Get comfortable saying 'no', and then enjoy the fullness of saying 'yes'!
- Use protection. Really, this list could be this one over and over again. You MUST use protection.
- Have fun, be safe, and - as my mammy always said - don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.