They reigned supreme at Uni and probably made up a far greater proportion of our earliest sexual encounters than we'd care to admit, but here goes: one-night-stands account for the vast majority of the notches on my bedpost. And even though the furthest reaches of my sexual identity has been explored from the safety of loving, trusting relationships, it would be a lie to pretend that the murky encounters with strangers, blurred from too much booze and most definitely not the pinnacle of orgasmic fulfilment, have been entirely regrettable.
Sure, there's definitely been some post-coitus cringing over hangover coffee with my friends the next day. But one of the strongest forces against us embracing our spontaneity is surely the deep rooted conditioning that tells us that frivolous sexual decision making is the result of loose morals and BAD UPBRINGING. But this is 2017. The sexual encounters you indulge in with strangers, often in wildly inappropriate places wearing wildly inappropriate footwear, are just as important to your health (as long as it's safe and consensual) as the romantic-rose-petals-and-candles kind.
So having stuck two fingers up at the outdated idea that our sexualities are not our own to enjoy and explore, here's some basic rules to follow to ensure you win at no strings, one night only casual sex.
Aim for lubricated not annihilated
I mean of the social kind: whilst casual sex often goes hand in hand with abandoned nights on the lash, there is a line, and crossing it is likely to result in a not-so-triumphant morning after the night before and some less than sexy bedroom manoeuvres. We know that a little booze can help us relax, put a spring in our steps or the 'damn' in our dance moves, and take our flirting prowess from 5 to a solid 10 (well, we like to think so). But waking up in an unfamiliar post code with little to no recollection of the evenings events and having to abandon a chicken fillet in your stealthy 7am getaway? That's not hot.
You don't always have to orgasm
Let's be under no illusions here an authentic orgasm with someone you've just met is the holy grail of one night stands, and we can't expect a new partner to know our bodies when they barely know our first names. In any sexcapade, it's about the journey, not the destination, and never is this truer than one we've embarked on out of curiosity and the thrill of the chase. So enjoy the process. An orgasm might not necessarily be on the cards, but no-strings-sex is an opportunity to try something new and push boundaries in a way you might not have been able to with previous partners.
Courtesy is cute
Just because it's casual, doesn't mean we should abandon our manners. If you like someone at the club, and you like them in the cab home, and you like them enough to take all your clothes off and exchange bodily fluids, then a certain precedent has been set and post-coitus interaction should be friendly and easy. There doesn't need to be any awkwardness after a one night stand (unless your conquest is Gary from accounts at the office party, but that's a different blog post) and there's certainly no need to be rude the next morning. If you haven't had your bed thoroughly rocked, and would rather keep it one-night-only, a polite 'thanks for having me, see you around' always works for me.
You can say 'no' at ANY point
This one is really important: a kiss, a cheeky grope by the bar, even inviting someone back to yours or accepting their offer of a nightcap, doesn't mean you're under any obligation to go through with sex if you're not feeling it. Let's not forget this important tea metaphor, which rocked the internet with how utterly simple it made consent.
Don't be afraid to laugh
The beauty of a spontaneous one night stand is that it's unplanned and unbridled. So you may not have shaved your legs or made your bed before you left the house that night. You may fall asleep after sex and wake up with drool smeared across your face. You may fanny fart, regular fart or fall out of bed. Unlike some other types of sex, this isn't about performance â€“ it's purely about having fun and mutual satisfaction. As long as you're both getting what you want out of the exchange (and as we've already established, that doesn't have to mean an orgasm) then laughing through your mishaps is the perfect antidote for embarrassment.
Take ownership of your choices
Sex is one of the greatest pleasures in life, whether we enjoy it with a loving partner, a new acquaintance or by ourselves (or even Gary from accounts.) Feeling empowered by our sexuality is something we all benefit from, and feeling confident in the decision to indulge in a good old-fashioned one night stand will mean you feel exhilarated for days afterward. Even if the sex itself was less than mind-blowing, it will always make a great story (feel free to embellish as you see fit), and exploring our bodies outside of relationships means that we can always take responsibility for our own pleasure.