One Night Stand Statistics & Facts 2022: How Common Are They?

We went through the hottest studies and grabbed exciting one-night stand statistics: how many people have one-night stands, how they feel about them, and more.

one night stand statistics

Whether it’s a tough breakup, a celebration, or a random spike in hormones, we’ve all been in the mood for a one-night stand. Some of them are okay, some of them are awful, and every now and then, they rock your world.

Casual sex with a stranger is a lot like gambling. It could be an earth-shattering orgasm or an embarrassing trip to the doctor, but you’re coming away with something – that is, if you’re coming at all.

One-night stands are a social oddity, though. Why do we want sexual validation and pleasure from a stranger? Where in our psychological evolution did we develop the need for something that’s not quite a relationship but not quite solitude? Is it wrong to want casual sex, or is it weird not to want it?

Well, it’s neither. Not everyone has one-night stands, and not everyone who does wants to keep having them.

Here are some juicy stats you left in our apartment the other night:

  • On average, American men (7) and women (6) have more one-night stands than European men (6) and women (4).
  • Less than 1 in 5 (18%) of American women say they are very satisfied after a one-night stand. 
  • Americans (both men and women) who have never had a one-night stand are significantly more likely to judge other people harshly for having one. 
  • Whether their friend was male or female, only 2% of men say they would disapprove loudly if that friend had a one-night stand. 
  • One study found that emotional acts were more common than sexual acts in one-night stands.
  • A bar is the most common place for people to meet one-night stand partners. 
  • Iceland is the most hookup-friendly country in the world. 

How Common Are One-Night Stands?

If you’ve never picked someone up at a bar or simply don’t want to, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Of course, numbers differ from study to study, but it’s safe to say that about one-half to two-thirds of American men and almost half of American women have had a one-night stand. 

So who’s the lucky lady that’s tipping national stats in favor of the guys? Or are they just lying about it?

Keep in mind that some studies have a “prefer not to say” option, so some percentages may be even higher.

  • A one-night stand is sex between strangers or individuals who don’t know each other well. They typically meet in social settings like parties or bars, don’t plan to have sex, are often under the influence of substances, and don’t expect to see each other again. (The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 2014)1
  • Of single Americans, 58.1% say they have had a one-night stand. (Statista, 2012)2
  • One study found that 66% of single men and 50% of single women in the U.S. reported having a one-night stand before. (Nautilus, 2015)3
    • This study also found that 27% of respondents had a one-night stand turn into a committed long-term partnership. 
  • A survey of Americans and Europeans found that 66% reporting having a one-night stand at least once. (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Only 14% of the one-night stands in this survey were planned, and 86% were spontaneous. 
  • When U.S. adults were asked, “Have you ever had a one-night stand?” one survey found the following results: (YouGov, 2017)5
    • Male
      • Yes, and I have done so more than once – 32%
      • Yes, but only once – 10%
      • No, I have not – 23%
      • Don’t know – 1%
      • I do not have sex – 13%
      • Prefer not to say – 20%
    • Female
      • Yes, and I have done so more than once – 16%
      • Yes, but only once – 12%
      • No, I have not – 31%
      • Don’t know – 1%
      • I do not have sex – 16%
      • Prefer not to say – 24%
    • Total
      • Yes, and I have done so more than once – 24%
      • Yes, but only once – 11%
      • No, I have not – 27%
      • I do not have sex – 15%
      • Prefer not to say – 22%
  • A study of Canadian adults found that 57% of men and 51% of women claimed to have had a one-night stand. (The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 2014)1
  • A study of Norwegian students on Tinder found that only 20% of them had experienced a one-night stand following Tinder use. (Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2019)6

How Many One-Night Stands Does the Average Person Have?

Don’t let national averages dictate your sexuality – you should have as many or as few safe sexual encounters as you feel appropriate. 

That being said, here’s the data we have on average numbers of one-night stands:

  • One survey found that, of those who have had one-night stands, American men have an average of 7 one-night stands, and American women have an average of 6. (Zava Med, 2022)4
  • On the other hand, Europeans who’ve had one-night stands had only an average of 6 one-night stands for men and 4 for women. (Zava Med, 2022)4

Where Do People Find One-Night Stand Partners?

If you’re looking for a single night of debauchery, then a bar is your best bet. Clubs and dating apps come in second. 

You’ll notice that virtually no men report success from hitting on their coworkers, so don’t be that guy.

  • A survey of 500 Americans found the following data on where people find one-night stand partners: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Women
      • “A bar” – 42%
      • “A club” – 25%
      • “A mobile app or dating website” – 21%
      • “At college or university” – 7%
      • “At work” – 5%
    • Men
      • “A bar” – 42%
      • “A club” – 20%
      • “A mobile app or dating website” – 26%
      • “At college or university” – 12%
      • “At work” – 0% (Don’t hit on your coworkers.)

Are Americans Happy With Their One-Night Stands?

So, are people actually happy with one-night stands? Surprise, surprise – men often feel more satisfied than women. 

For these numbers, the criteria were “less than completely satisfied” – so for the record, the night might have been okay or even good. It just wasn’t great.

  • Across Europe and the U.S., men are more satisfied than women with one-night stands: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Over 32% of American men said they were very satisfied after a one-night stand. 
    • Only 18% of American women reported being very satisfied after a one-night stand. 

Do Americans Talk About Their One-Night Stands?

Like most things sexual, Americans don’t seem to want to talk about their one-night stands all that much. 

Unless you’re the 1% of men who says they’ll brag about it to anyone who will listen. Don’t be that guy.

  • Most people will at least tell a close friend about their one-night stand. Here’s a breakdown by gender: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Women
      • “No one” – 42%
      • “One or two close friends” – 54%
      • “A family member” – 2%
      • “All their friends” – 2%
      • “Anyone who will listen” – 0%
    • Men
      • “No one” – 34%
      • “One or two close friends” – 58%
      • “A family member” – 1%
      • “All their friends” – 6%
      • “Anyone who will listen” – 1% 

The Morning After: Men vs. Women

Satisfaction is one thing, but how do one-time sexual encounters make people feel afterward? Sadly, lots of people say it makes them feel lonely. 

Women seem to have more negative views about them than men. This is in large part due to how they’re often treated afterward. Still, both women and men continue to engage in one-night stands, and many of them have very positive things to say about them. 

Here’s a look at the data:

  • A British study found that women viewed one-night stands more negatively than men. Even if they had no expectations for a long-term relationship, they felt more regret about having been “used.” (Human Nature, 2008)7
  • The aforementioned study asked participants questions about how they felt, using numbers to record answers (0 = Definitely not; 1 = Not really; 2 = Somewhat; 3 = Definitely). These were the results: (Human Nature, 2008)7
    • Positive items
      • Secretly hoping that your friends will hear about it
        • Men – 1.27 (Not really)
        • Women – 0.89 (Definitely not)
      • Successful because your partner was desirable to other people
        • Men – 1.61 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.40 (Not really)
      • Sexually satisfied and content
        • Men – 1.96 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.58 (Not really)
      • Fully alive, an enhanced sense of wellbeing
        • Men – 1.73 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.35 (Not really)
      • More confident about yourself
        • Men – 1.83 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.44 (Not really)
      • Flattered that this person found you desirable
        • Men – 1.99 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.88 (Not really)
      • Total Positive (Out of 18)
        • Men – 10.40
        • Women – 8.54
    • Negative Items
      • Sorry because you feel that you used another person
        • Men – 0.94 (Definitely not)
        • Women – 0.69 (Definitely not)
      • Regret because you feel used
        • Men – 0.54 (Definitely not)
        • Women – 1.18 (Not really)
      • Disappointed that the relationship did not come to anything more
        • Men – 0.99 (Definitely not)
        • Women – 1.13 (Not really)
      • Regret that you had let yourself down
        • Men – 1.00 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.45 (Not really)
      • Worried about the loss of your reputation if other people find out
        • Men – 1.06 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.44 (Not really)
      • Scared about a possible pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease
        • Men – 1.36 (Not really)
        • Women – 1.45 (Not really)
      • Total Negative (Out of 18)
        • Men – 5.89
        • Women – 7.34
    • The “total” negative or positive numbers indicate participants’ average negative or positive feelings about their experience. On average, men had more positive feelings, and women had more negative feelings. 
  • 59% of men and 28% of women remembered the experience positively. (Human Nature, 2008)7
  • 23% of men and 58% of women had at least some regret and said they would not repeat the experience. (Human Nature, 2008)7
  • Many women exhibited distress about their partner’s behavior after the one-night stand, which made them feel a sense of rejection, regret, and being used. (Human Nature, 2008)7
  • Men who regretted their experience made the following comments about how they felt: (Human Nature, 2008)7
    • “Utter emptiness”
    • “As for emotions, there was usually little or no connection with the girl. Probably a reflection on the shallowness of it and the lack of any long-term satisfaction.”
    • “The next day, you can’t wait to tell your friends about it, but then, after that, the emptiness comes.”
    • “A deep-seated sense of self-loathing”
    • “After a one-night stand, you can feel lonely, and being lonely is part of wanting a one-night stand in the first place.”
  • Women who regretted their experience made the following comments about how they felt: (Human Nature, 2008)7
    • “Upset because he hasn’t talked to me after it happened.”
      Regret due to Rejection
    • “Disappointment when not receiving a phone call the next day just to say ‘Thank you.’ The call came eventually, but by then, it was not the same.”
    • “I felt degraded. Made myself look cheap and easy. Total regret”
    • “I just wanted to feel a bit fancied and desirable. Didn’t work, though—felt cheap and dirty after.”
    • “Thought it would be one of life’s experiences, but it was nothing like the sex found in movies.”
    • “It wasn’t worth it, and it wasn’t even good.”

Do Americans Keep in Touch After a One-Night Stand?

  • One survey asked participants how long they stayed in touch after a one-off sexual encounter: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • “I don’t stay in touch with my one-night stands” – 43%
    • “A few days” – 20%
    • “A few weeks” – 18%
    • “A few months” – 11%
    • “Long term” – 8%

Why Do People Have One-Night Stands?

The real question here is this: why would anyone meet a hot stranger at a bar, have sex with them, but then not want to commit months or years of their life dedicating themselves to that one person and compromising all of their dreams and aspirations into a shared future?

It’s weird, we know, but people do it. It’s mostly about excitement and ego-boosting. These data points paint a clearer picture:

  • One-night stands can be ego-boosters for both men and women. Men see it as a reward for their achievements or successes. Middle-aged women can find that it reaffirms their attractiveness. (Deccan Chronicle, 2014)8
  • One study listed these as positive reasons for men and women to engage in one-night stands: (Human Nature, 2008)7
    • Increase in self-esteem
    • Physical pleasure
    • Improved state of well-being
    • Social reputation
    • The feeling of success
  • Men and women in one study made these comments – and others like them – when describing the positive aspects of one-night stands. (Human Nature, 2008)7
    • Men
      • “Euphoric”
      • “Excitement and lust”
      • “The erotic excitement of getting to know someone else’s body for the first time”
      • “I believe that one-night stands are a good way of blowing off sexual steam”
    • Women
      • “Exhilarated, sexy, wanted. Overall, one-night stands are just fun”
      • “Fun, release of restrictions, excitement”
      • “It can be a thrilling experience and an adventure at that”
      • “It felt good to do something for me for once”

Jealous, Much? How Men and Women View One-Night Stands

While having one-night stands isn’t for everyone, it is for some people, and we shouldn’t be judging our friends’ personal choices whether they want to have casual sex or not. 

In spite of this, many people do. Older generations are more likely to look down on one-night stands, while people in their twenties are somewhat more open-minded about it. 

  • A British survey found that 26% of men and 15% of women say that one-night stands are either rarely wrong or not wrong at all. (National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, 2013)9
    • 62% of women and 47% of men say that one-night stands are either always or mostly wrong. 
  • Here’s what the aforementioned study found on attitudes toward one-night stands by age group: (National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, 2013)9
    • Men: (always/mostly wrong and rarely wrong/not wrong at all numbers are combinations of the two percentages)
      • 16-24 years old:
        • Always wrong – 16%
        • Mostly wrong – 15%
        • Sometimes wrong – 35%
        • Rarely wrong – 15%
        • Not wrong at all – 19%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 31%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 34%
      • 25-34 years old:
        • Always wrong – 21%
        • Mostly wrong – 14%
        • Sometimes wrong – 31%
        • Rarely wrong – 12%
        • Not wrong at all – 22%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 35%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 34%
      • 35-44 years old:
        • Always wrong – 28%
        • Mostly wrong – 16%
        • Sometimes wrong – 29%
        • Rarely wrong – 7%
        • Not wrong at all – 20%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 44%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 26%
      • 45-54 years old:
        • Always wrong – 30%
        • Mostly wrong – 23%
        • Sometimes wrong – 25%
        • Rarely wrong – 6%
        • Not wrong at all – 17%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 52%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 22%
      • 55-64 years old:
        • Always wrong – 36%
        • Mostly wrong – 24%
        • Sometimes wrong – 21%
        • Rarely wrong – 4%
        • Not wrong at all – 14%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 60%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 19%
      • 65-74 years old:
        • Always wrong – 49%
        • Mostly wrong – 23%
        • Sometimes wrong – 13%
        • Rarely wrong – 5%
        • Not wrong at all – 10%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 71%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 15%
      • Total aged 16-74:
        • Always wrong – 28%
        • Mostly wrong – 19%
        • Sometimes wrong – 27%
        • Rarely wrong – 8%
        • Not wrong at all – 17%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 47%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 26%
    • Women: (always/mostly wrong and rarely wrong/not wrong at all numbers are combinations of the two percentages)
      • 16-24 years old:
        • Always wrong – 28%
        • Mostly wrong – 23%
        • Sometimes wrong – 31%
        • Rarely wrong – 8%
        • Not wrong at all – 9%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 52%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 17%
      • 25-34 years old:
        • Always wrong – 28%
        • Mostly wrong – 16%
        • Sometimes wrong – 32%
        • Rarely wrong – 9%
        • Not wrong at all – 15%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 45%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 24%
      • 35-44 years old:
        • Always wrong – 33%
        • Mostly wrong – 20%
        • Sometimes wrong – 26%
        • Rarely wrong – 6%
        • Not wrong at all – 15%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 53%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 21%
      • 45-54 years old:
        • Always wrong – 41%
        • Mostly wrong – 25%
        • Sometimes wrong – 22%
        • Rarely wrong – 4%
        • Not wrong at all – 8%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 66%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 12%
      • 55-64 years old:
        • Always wrong – 52%
        • Mostly wrong – 27%
        • Sometimes wrong – 15%
        • Rarely wrong – 2%
        • Not wrong at all – 4%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 79%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 6%
      • 65-74 years old:
        • Always wrong – 66%
        • Mostly wrong – 23%
        • Sometimes wrong – 6%
        • Rarely wrong – 1%
        • Not wrong at all – 3%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 89%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 4%
      • Total aged 16-74:
        • Always wrong – 40%
        • Mostly wrong – 22%
        • Sometimes wrong – 23%
        • Rarely wrong – 5%
        • Not wrong at all – 9%
        • Always/mostly wrong – 62%
        • Rarely wrong/not wrong at all – 15%
  • One survey found this data on how likely Americans are to judge each other for one-night stands: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Men:
      • 14% of American men who had a one-night stand judged others harshly for doing so. 
      • 27% of American men who never had a one-night stand judge others harshly for doing so. 
    • Women:
      • 21% of American women who had a one-night stand judged others harshly for doing so. 
      • 35% of American women who never had a one-night stand judge others harshly for doing so. 
  • Women and men react differently when their friends have had a one-night stand; this also depends on whether the friend is male or female: (Zava Med, 2022)4
    • Almost 20% of men say they praise a male friend for a one-night stand, while only 8% of women say they praise a female friend for it. 
    • 41% of men feel neutral about a male or female friend having a one-night stand. 32% of women feel neutral about a female friend having one, and 35% feel neutral about a male friend. 
    • Women are more likely to quietly disapprove of one-night stands overall. 18% quietly disapproved of their female friends’ one-night stands, and 17% quietly disapproved of their male friends’ one-night stands. 
  • Here are the percentages of men and women who’d react a certain way if a male or female friend had a one-night stand:
      • If a female friend had a one-night stand…
        • Women
          • Congratulate her – 8%
          • Respect her choice – 40%
          • Feel neutral about her choice – 32%
          • Disapprove quietly – 18%
          • Disapprove loudly – 3%
        • Men
          • Congratulate her – 9%
          • Respect her choice – 34%
          • Feel neutral about her choice – 41%
          • Disapprove quietly – 15%
          • Disapprove loudly – 2%
      • If a male friend had a one-night stand…
        • Women
          • Congratulate him – 6%
          • Respect his choice – 38%
          • Feel neutral about his choice – 35%
          • Disapprove quietly – 17%
          • Disapprove loudly – 4%
        • Men
          • Congratulate him – 20%
          • Respect his choice – 29%
          • Feel neutral about his choice – 41%
          • Disapprove quietly – 9%
          • Disapprove loudly – 2%

Sex and Emotion in One-Off Encounters

There’s a lot of debate about the relationship between sex and emotion. Can they exist without each other, or are they concretely intertwined?

This data analyzes people’s emotional and sexual behaviors in one-night stands, booty calls, and long-term relationships. It may imply that people use one-night stands to meet their emotional needs just as much – if not more than – their sexual needs. 

Here’s a look at the data:

  • On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = not at all; 2 = a little; 3 = moderately; 4 = much; 5 = very much), respondents in one study rated the frequency of the following sexual acts in one-night stands: (The Journal of Sex Research, 2011)10
    • Kissed my partner on the lips – 3.88 (moderately)
    • Penile-vaginal sex with my partner – 3.54 (moderately)
    • Kissed my partner on the neck – 3.03 (moderately)
    • Hugged my partner – 3.39 (moderately)
    • Kissed my partner on some other body part – 2.88 (a little)
    • Talked with my partner after we had sex – 3.16 (moderately)
    • Fondled my partner’s breast or chest – 2.60 (a little)
    • Kissed my partner on the breasts or chest – 2.59 (a little)
    • Manual-genital sex with my partner – 2.62 (a little)
    • Oral-genital sex with my partner – 2.73 (a little)
    • Fondled my partner’s butt – 2.52 (a little)
    • Kissed my partner on the face (but not the lips) – 2.70 (a little)
    • Held hands with my partner – 2.99 (a little)
    • Left immediately after I had sex with my partner – 2.03 (a little)
    • Penile-anal sex with my partner – 1.28 (a little)
    • Kissed my partner on the hand – 1.91 (a little)
    • Vaginal-vaginal sex with my partner – 1.33 (a little)
  • After averaging emotional and sexual acts, the aforementioned study found that emotional acts were more common than sexual acts in one-night stands. (The Journal of Sex Research, 2011)10
    • Both emotional and sexual acts are more common in “booty call” relationships and serious relationships than in one-night stands. 
  • Here are the average levels of emotional and sexual acts committed in the three types of relationships studied: (The Journal of Sex Research, 2011)10
    • One-night stand
      • Emotional – 2.93
      • Sexual – 2.57
    • Booty-call relationship
      • Emotional – 3.01
      • Sexual – 2.94
    • Serious relationship
      • Emotional – 3.68
      • Sexual – 2.84

What Are the World’s Best Countries for One-Night Stands?

As if you needed another reason to take a trip to Iceland, it’s the world’s number one hookup spot. 

Take a look at the world’s most hookup-friendly countries:

  • Here are the top 15 countries in the world for having a one-night stand: (Insider Monkey, 2018)11
    • 1. Iceland
    • 2. Finland
    • 3. Canada
    • 4. New Zealand
    • 5. Ireland
    • 6. Norway
    • 7. Portugal
    • 8. The Netherlands
    • 9. Switzerland
    • 10. Australia
    • 11. Sweden
    • 12. Belgium
    • 13. Slovenia
    • 14. The United Kingdom
    • 15. Denmark

Conclusion

Hookups, one-night stands, raunchy rendezvous – whatever you call them-are an integral part of modern society and aren’t going away anytime soon. Fewer and fewer people are marrying, those who are are doing so at older ages, and open marriages/relationships are becoming more popular. 

While the numbers can vary, at least half of all single men and women in the U.S. have had a one-night stand once. Many of these studies don’t include people cheating on their spouses or polyamorous couples. 

One-night stands come in all qualities and varieties, just like the people they happen with. Unfortunately, like most things related to our sexuality, we don’t talk about them enough. The fact that many of us judge our friends or disapprove of their one-night stands doesn’t help make the conversation more open. 

Sexuality fluctuates from person to person throughout every phase of their lives. Whether they don’t want sex or they want it a lot, it’s not something that affects their quality as a person. However, even people who engage in one-night stands often forget this. 

One of the primary negative feelings for men after a one-night stand is loneliness; for women, it’s feeling used. This is largely due to how women can be ignored, spurned, or rushed out the door after a hookup. 

We’re not going to stop hooking up, so we may as well get better at it. The person you have sex with is still a person, and communicating with each other about sexual preferences and desires can increase the quality of sex for both of you. 

Thank your partner. Be nice. Acknowledge them in public if they’re okay with that. You’re not going to have to marry someone just because you let them stay the night and cuddle a bit. Evidently, we use one-night stands to meet emotional needs as much as sexual needs. 

So if you treat your partner like crap, you’ll probably feel like crap too. But if we recognize the trends that create bad one-night stand experiences and talk about them, we can start improving sexual experiences for everyone.

Footnotes

  1. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 2014. An article on the different types of casual sexual relationships in modern society and how they are defined.
  2. Statista, 2012. A statistical report of a 2012 sexual activity survey in the U.S. that aimed to determine the percentage of people who experienced one-night stands.
  3. Nautilus, 2015. An article on the prevalence of one-night stands and their potential outcomes that uses data from a study of over 25,000 American adults and other sources.
  4. Zava Med, 2022. An article on one-night stands using data from a poll of 500 Americans and 500 Europeans.
  5. YouGov, 2017. The results of a survey on the sexual behaviors of 2,171 American adults.
  6. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2019. A study on the ratio of Tinder matches to actual meetups and hookups, as well as the personality types associated with avid Tinder users that uses data from 269 Norwegian students. 
  7. Human Nature, 2008. An article on the sentiments of coupled or un-coupled men and women following a one-night stand with a stranger using data from a study of 1,743 British heterosexuals.
  8. Deccan Chronicle, 2014. An article exploring the reasons why men and women engage in one-night stands.
  9. National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, 2013. A survey on sexual trends in the British population using data from 15,162 respondents.
  10. The Journal of Sex Research, 2011. A study of the presence – or lack thereof – of emotional connection in one-night stands that uses data from 289 online respondents.
  11. Insider Monkey, 2018. An article on the best countries in the world to have a one-night stand in, utilizing data from a variety of sources.
Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

Over last 4 years Dainis have helped millions of people through his advice on this site (200+ guides and 1M+ visits/monthly). His work & advice has appeared on sites like: Healthline, Vice, Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, WomensHealthMag, MindBodyGreen & more. Read More

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