For other uses see One-night stand (disambiguation).
Originally, a one-night stand referred to a single night theatre performance, usually by a guest group on tour. Today, however, the term is more commonly understood as a single sexual encounter between individuals, where neither individual has any immediate intention or expectation of establishing a long-term sexual or romantic relationship.
Individuals participating in a one-night stand typically have not known each other long and have had minimal time to get to know each other before engaging in sexual activity. A one-night sexual encounter is not necessarily always a one-night stand; the crucial distinction is the expectation or intention that the relationship will not necessarily be extended beyond the initial sexual encounter. A one-night stand is differentiated from prostitution, as it takes place without direct payment of money and from a casual relationship, which may not initially involve sex and may continue long-term.
A one-night stand can be thought of as an irregular and unplanned sexual encounter between individuals. The participants will usually have little or no contact with one another aside from sex. Thus it is possible to have multiple one-night stands with the same person, provided that there is no regularity to the encounters or planning involved in the encounters. However, where the people involved have a regular sexual relationship without romantic involvement, this is generally considered a casual relationship (also referred to using terms such as "no strings attached" or "friends with benefits" or a "fuck buddy" ), and is generally considered distinct from the one-night stand phenomenon.
The risks of participating in one-night stands can include the risks of having unprotected sex, such as unwanted pregnancy or contraction of STDs. Effective use of contraceptive devices can help combat unwanted pregnancies, but condoms are the only effective way of preventing STDs.
Researchers have found that women's feelings after one night stands are much more negative than men's. Feeling 'used' was the predominant negative emotion they felt the next morning and they also worried about their reputations and felt as if they had let themselves down. Professor Anne Campbell from Durham University said "What the women seemed to object to was not the briefness of the encounter but the fact that the man did not seem to appreciate her. The women thought this lack of gratitude implied that she did this with anybody."