A one-night stand is a single sexual encounter in which there is an expectation that there shall be no further relations between the sexual participants. The practice can be described as "sexual activity without emotional commitment or future involvement".
See also: Fornication
The one-night stand is the most common form of infidelity and is often used in research, polls and surveys to define the level of promiscuity in a society at any given time. It has also been suggested that such an act can be as threatening to a relationship as a long-term affair:
A one-night stand can be more dangerous than finding a lover with mutual considerations. This scenario is good for the business traveler who has the odds in his or her favor; however, it is very important to know with whom you are getting into bed, even for just one night. No one should be exempt from causing you a problem, no matter the distance or circumstance. A one-night stand is still a form of infidelity and can be just as damaging for you and your partner if discovered.
Some women have suggested that women who feel sexually insecure or unfulfilled should seek out one-night stands for personal growth and fulfillment. One writes, "[a] one-night stand is the erotic manifestation of carpe diem— only we are seizing the night instead of the day". Another source advises women seeking empowerment to "jumpstart your heyday by having a one-night stand", and clarifies that the one-night stand should be a conscious decision.
The prevalence of one-night stands has been abetted by the advent of online dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr, which allow people to connect for purposes including sexual encounters, although these tools can also be used to seek longer-term relationship partners.
Relationship therapist Laura Berman suggests that the circumstances that lead to such an encounter do not necessarily preclude a later relationship:
Certainly, having sex on a first date can be a death knell if your partner decides that a one-night stand is all he is after. On the other hand, many happy couples broke that rule of no sex on the first date and have been together for years.
In contrast to a one-night stand, when the individuals involved have recurrent sexual contact without romantic involvement, this is considered a casual sexual relationship.
A one-night stand may also be included in a sexual fantasy.