One night stands have become a major part of college hookup culture. I have definitely had my fair share of enjoyable and odd forays into this sexual genre. Over my years of having casual sex, I’ve learned a lot about what makes them fun (and safe) and what can really kill the mood.
Do: Use protection.
Sounds straightforward, but it can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment, especially when you might be used to a partner who always remembered for you. Even if the sex you’re having can’t get you pregnant, you should still try to use protection or at least talk about your testing history. When I go in for my STI screenings every six months, Cornell Health always tells me that all major STIs are found on campus. The conversation can definitely be awkward, especially when the form of protection for your type of activity (such as dental dams) are somewhat stigmatized. Honestly, the major difference between a one-night stand and longer affair is the level of trust. The virtual stranger you’re choosing to have sex with is much less accountable to you than someone you’re seeing regularly. Be careful how much you trust what they’re telling you.
Don’t: Be afraid to ask.
Sex should be fun for both parties. Obviously, that doesn’t always mean that everyone gets off, but it should be enjoyable if not climactic. Before you take any big steps, ask them if they actually want to move in that direction. If you change positions, ask if it feels good for them. If you need something else to happen so it’ll feel good for you, ask if they can oblige you. Asking is both about how much they’re enjoying it and about making feel great for you. Honestly, nothing is as hot as asking someone “Does this feel good?” and having them respond with a breathy yes.
Do: Think about your mental state.
Did you just get out of a break up? Did you have seven shots and are unlikely to remember this in the morning? Did your dog just die? If you just got out of a long-term relationship, you might not be ready to experience that kind of intimacy with someone new. If you’re going through an emotional period for any reason, and especially if you’ve been drinking, I strongly suggest not hooking up with anyone you’ve just met that night. Obviously it is on the other party to recognize when you’re too drunk to have sex, but you should also be thinking about it if you’re not to the point of blackout. I don’t believe that a drunk hookup is always assault, but it’s definitely easier to take one into unsafe and nonconsensual territory.
Don’t: Assume it will end.
If you had a good time, don’t be afraid to get their number. Two of my longest running relationships at Cornell sprang from slightly awkward, yet enjoyable one night stands. The worst that can happen is they don’t text you back when you hit them up again. Yeah, you feel kind of bad for a day or two, but on the plus side, you don’t have to see them all the time to remind you of the rejection. To all the women reading this: it doesn’t make you clingy to want to see them more if you had a good time. If they’re weird about giving you their number, then you probably don’t want to hang out with them again anyways.
One-night stands are really what you make of them. If you go in with a clear head and straightforward boundaries and assumptions, you’ll have a safe and hopefully satisfying experience. But it’s on you to make sure the person you’re doing it with also feels good and is being heard. I’m not going to say that people can’t hook up when they’re drunk, because I definitely know I have, but when it becomes part of the equation, you have to be even more careful. Look out for your safety first and your possible orgasm second.
I hope with the above tips, and your good, old-fashioned common sense, you too can have fun and fruitful experiences with one-night stands.
The Uptight Tart is a student at Cornell University. Slutty Endeavors appears monthly this semester.