The term one-night stand was originally used to describe a one-off stage performance – for example, a play or a musical event. Today, a one-night stand refers to a situation in which someone sleeps with another person only once – for one night. Since when the term has also been used for one-time sexual intercourse cannot be said exactly. However, since one-night stands were already common in the English-speaking world as a description for fleeting sexual encounters, this Anglicism was adopted in German. In online portals and personal ads, one-night stands are often abbreviated to ONS. The person with whom one has had such a sexual encounter is also called a one-night stand.

Even though the term refers to sexual activity at night, one-night stands can, of course, take place at any time of day. It also doesn't matter whether you already know your sexual partner or only met them shortly before the act. Although in some quarters, the term tends to be used only for one-off acts with unfamiliar sexual partners. Another characteristic of one-night stands is that both participants are only interested in sexual intercourse and not in a relationship. Of course, one-time sex can also develop into a partnership, but then it is no longer a classic one-night stand.

There are many reasons why people have a one-night stand – regardless of whether it happens only once in a lifetime or more often:

  • It is a way to connect with another person at a time when you don't want to make an emotional connection. The reasons for not wanting to emotionally connect vary. It could perhaps be too painful, risky or time-consuming.
  • For some, ONS offer a way to find out for themselves if they really are as irresistible, attractive and special as they assume. However, this can also have a negative effect if someone ties their worth as a person to their success in a one-night stand.
  • Some people also try to prove to others that they are attractive and desirable by conquering a one-night stand.
  • With ONS, you get an opportunity to be the person you would like to be all the time for one night. For example, more spontaneous, open, sexually oriented, carefree, less anxious, more adventurous, etc.
  • It can be an escape from everyday life because sex relieves stress, worry, anxiety and aggression.
  • A one-night stand is a carefree, pleasurable and superficial connection that satisfies one of our primal urges, namely the desire for (frequent) sexual intercourse.
  • The likelihood of being rejected is much lower when it is sex with no strings attached.
  • It can be a form of compulsive avoidance behaviour or repression. If someone is very preoccupied with always living for the moment and wanting to savour it permanently, this is of course problematic: ONS is simply to avoid facing the deeper problems that cause this behaviour.
  • Some people fundamentally do not want to make a commitment in the form of a permanent partnership. They therefore consciously decide to satisfy their sexual needs exclusively through one-night stands.

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