You've Heard Of A One-Night Stand, But What About A Half-Night Stand?

The concept of the one-night stand is straightforward: You meet someone you like, decide you want to hook up, and proceed to spend a single night together before cutting your ties and moving on with your separate lives. But here's the thing: One-night stands aren't just limited to nighttime. Usually, they carry over into the a.m., where you find yourself waking up with unbrushed teeth, lying next to someone you barely know, and wondering if you should wake them for breakfast or quietly slip out the door.


To put an end to the morning-after awkwardness, without sacrificing fun and ethical sex-ploration, you might want to swap your standard one-night stand with a quicker half-night stand. The half-night stand trend has been around for at least a decade, starting right around the same time people began filling their phones with dating apps, though the term hasn't entered our everyday lexicon the way "one-night stand" has. Still, it's a concept you're likely familiar with, even if you never knew what to call it. To carry out a half-night stand, you simply go home with your casual fling, and once you're done hooking up, you promptly part ways — no sleepovers involved.

If half-night stands sound impersonal, that's because, well, they kind of are. And sometimes, cutting right to the chase and ending a hookup early is just what you need — as long as you do it tactfully.


The benefits of half-night stands

Spending the night after a casual encounter might be the norm, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to old one-night-stand traditions. In fact, wrapping things up early solidifies your intentions and allows you to carry on with your regular routine. "If you don't want anything more than sex, what's the point of staying overnight with a stranger?" sex therapist Celeste Hirschman told HuffPost. "It's just easier to go home so you can sleep in your own comfortable bed, wake up, and start your day fresh." No more forced pleasantries in the morning or "walk of shame" to deal with.


The half-night stand is also ideal if, honestly, you just don't want to catch feelings. That's because, while sex itself can spark intimacy, sharing a bed and cuddling throughout the night can bring you even closer. "Although oxytocin [the hormone that promotes bonding] levels fall after orgasm, cuddling and other contact behaviors help sustain the level of oxytocin in the system," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and the author of "Joy From Fear," explained to Well+Good. Put another way, post-coital cuddles are great in committed relationships but not so great during no-strings-attached dating.

How to have a half-night stand

Finding a consensual hookup partner is just half the battle when you want to have a half-night stand. The other challenge: ending the night early without seeming aloof or hurting anyone's feelings.

If you get invited to a casual partner's home, be honest and upfront about your exit plan. "Be sure to tell the person you're going home with that you can't spend the night before you actually get to their home," Seth Meyers, a psychologist and relationship expert, revealed to HuffPost. "Or that you have an early morning so you'd prefer they not stay over." Talking ahead of time will make your goodbyes much less awkward, Meyers added. The same rule applies to hookups at your house. "Bring it up before the sex happens," marriage and sex therapist Dr. Jane Greer told Women's Health. "Explain that you need a good night of sleep and wanted to let him know ahead of time."


If your partner pushes back or criticizes your decision, consider it a red flag and a sign that they might not be a safe person to have sex with anyway. And if you notice your own doubts or second thoughts creeping up, listen to your gut. As Dr. Sadie Allison, a pleasure coach and the founder of sexual goods shop TickleKitty, shared with Women's Health, "If you find yourself feeling insecure or like you're about to get used, you probably shouldn't be doing it."