Ask Him: The One-Night Stand: Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

Q: How long should you stay at a guy’s place after a one-night stand? How long is considered acceptable? Do you ask him to go to brunch, or to hang out?


A: One-night stands are AWESOME but also tricky, because once you start to hang out beyond the initial trip to Pound Town, it sort of ceases to be a one-night stand. It becomes something more, which can be frightening to one or both parties. My definition of a one-night stand is somebody you go home with, getting it on with, and barely speak to again if you ever communicate again at all. (Of course now that technology makes it easy to effortlessly communicate, the one-night stand paradigm is starting to shift into an area where it’s more common to exchange a few half-hearted messages before allowing things to completely fizzle out.)

First thing we should address here is should you spend the night post-coitus? I feel like people believe deciding to spend the night is an unspoken gesture you’re supposed to make, even if you don’t really want to stay. Sometimes, sleeping in bed with someone and cuddling can seem more intimate than a spur-of-the-moment sexual adventure, especially if you don’t really know the person very well. Plus, there are the pragmatic reasons not to spend the night. If you have to work in the morning, it’s easier to be back at home base. Maybe you’d like to avoid a Walk of Shame (because make no mistake: people like me are sitting on our stoops, watching you, and we will be venomous in our shouts in your general direction, mostly because we are unsexed and jealous).

If you’re back at your place and you want the guy to stay, ask him if he wants to, but make sure you tell him you will not be offended if he doesn’t (and you shouldn’t really be offended). If you’re at his place, start making like you’re going to get dressed and leave. If he wants you to stay, he’ll ask (even if it’s the next night when he’s drunk and texts you something like “I wish you would’ve stayed over last night. BTW, you up?”) He might ask you without really wanting you to stay, but—no pun intended—screw him if he can’t be honest with you. You’re staying. And spooning. THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE HIM FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU.

If you spend the night at his place, you should probably clothe yourself and get ready to leave immediately upon awakening. Your first instinct might be that you want to spend some more time with the guy, to go get some food or something together, but you might want to give it some time. There’s the possibility you may be acting on an impulse to spend more time with him so that you will feel less sleazy about going home and knocking boots with a complete stranger. But don’t allow this to get the better of you. Don’t feel sleazy. Sex is great and (when practiced carefully) healthy. There isn’t anything wrong with nailing a stranger and then not taking things further. You should be out there doing you, so that you don’t have to literally do yourself quite as often.

When you make haste to leave, he may ask you if you want to go snag some brunch or something. If so, go for it if you feel like you want to spend more time with this individual.

But if he doesn’t, don’t take this too personally. Sometimes after a sexual adventure, you need to distance yourself from the other person so that you can engage in a solo debrief and decide if this person was just a means to a sexual-dry-run-ending end, or someone you would like to see again and maybe take on a date.

So in short, don’t stay around too long unless he asks you to, but definitely don’t leave without leaving your contact information. Even if you ultimately decide you want nothing to do with him ever again, you will at least have given him the opportunity to make contact with you so that you can shut him down.

This is also important so that he can get in touch with you if he finds out he has an STD or something.

All-in-all you should go into a one-night stand taking it at face value. That being, you may never see this person’s face again. And that’s OK.

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