One Night Only: How Europeans and Americans Feel About One Night Stands

one night only: how Europeans and Americans feel about one night stands

Grab your shoes, find your trousers, and open the door as quietly as you can to begin the walk that’s become infamous following a one-night stand. It can be isolating, and it definitely feels like everyone’s staring at your hair, but in reality – a lot of people have one-night stands.

We polled 500 Europeans and 500 Americans about their thoughts on this type of sexual encounter. How do men and women feel afterwards? Where do they go in hopes of a one-night stand? And do they judge others for engaging in a single night of pleasure?

Want to see how people really feel about one-night stands? Keep reading.

The Anatomy of a One-Night Stand

patterns of sexual behaviour

More than a quarter of Europeans and Americans had three to five sexual partners over their lifetime (while around 66 percent had somewhere between one and 10 sexual partners). More than 7 percent of people even had over 30 sexual partners, and almost 3 percent said they had not yet had sex.

Of the people surveyed, nearly 66 percent had a one-night stand at least once. That’s well over half of respondents, proving it may be more common than you think. Of these people, an overwhelming amount of these encounters were spontaneous. Only around 14 percent of one-night stands were planned, whereas nearly 86 percent were spontaneous.

Where The Magic Happens

where are the best places to seek out one night stands

In Europe, the majority of women and men went to clubs for one-night stands. Nearly 47 percent of women most often tried to take someone home from a club, while roughly 41 percent of European men looked in the same place. The bar attracted less than 30 percent of European men and women looking for a one-nighter.

However, American men and women preferred the bar scene to find someone to keep them company for a night. Over 40 percent of American men and women considered the bar the best place to go when looking to hook up. But only around 20 percent of men and 25 percent of women would pick up a date from the club.

Men in Europe and America also differed in looking to the workplace for a one-night stand. No American men said they thought about someone at work for a one-night stand, but nearly 4 percent of European men looked for more than just a memo in the workplace.

Different Strokes

the average number of one night stands by gender and nationality

Europeans may seem far less uptight when it comes to sex compared to their friends across the pond, but this chart proves otherwise. American men and women tended to, on average, have more one-night stands than Europeans.

American male respondents had around seven one-nighters on average, while American women had six. However, European men had roughly six one-night stands, and women had four.

Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

how often people were less than completely satisfied with one night stands

No matter the country, men were typically more satisfied with one-night stands than women. Over 38 percent of European men and over 32 percent of American men were very satisfied following a one-night stand, whereas only about 16 percent of European women and 18 percent of American women claimed the same.

Keep It Between Us

who do people tell after a one night stand

Even though more than half of European and American people surveyed had a one-night stand, almost all told two or fewer people about it. People have one-night stands – they’re just not bragging about it.

The numbers were relatively close for European and American men and women. Notably, no American women said they would “tell anyone who will listen,” although around 2 percent of European women stated that they would. American men were less likely to tell anyone who would listen (just under 1 and a half percent), compared to over 4 percent of European men.

However, most people – regardless of gender or country – would tell one or two close friends. Roughly 48 percent of European women and almost 49 percent of European men would tell one or two close friends, while around 54 percent of American women and 58 percent of American men would do the same.

Still, 45 percent of European women and 39 percent of European men would tell no one. In America, 42 percent of women and about 34 percent of men stated they’d keep it to themselves.

An Unfortunate Truth

how people would react if a friend told them they'd had a one night stand split by gender

This chart may show the rationale behind why people are still so hush-hush about their one-night rendezvous. While women and men are both judged for having one-night stands, women seem to be judged much more harshly when it comes to sexual gains.

Only 9 percent of men said they congratulated a female friend on her one-night stand. However, nearly 20 percent of men praised other men. However, almost 8 percent of women toasted their gal pals on a night of pleasure, and over 6 percent of women congratulated a male friend.

Additionally, men were more likely to feel neutral about a friend’s choice. Roughly 41 percent of men wouldn’t feel strongly either way about a friend’s choice – regardless of the friend’s gender.

Interestingly, women were more likely to disapprove quietly when either a male or female friend had a one-night encounter. Eighteen percent of women quietly disapproved when a female friend had a one-night stand, compared to nearly 17 percent who disapproved when a male friend did the same. Men quietly disapproved of other men having a one-night stand half as much as women did.

Tough Critics

how likely are people to judge others harshly for having a one night stand

Though the stigma isn’t what it used to be, people still judge others for having one-night stands, including those who have had one-night stands themselves!

More than 25 percent of European women and 17 percent of men would judge someone who had a one-night stand even if they had one themselves. Further, nearly 21 percent of American women (who had a one-night stand) said they’d judge someone for having a one-night stand, and 14 percent of males agreed.

However, people who haven’t had a one-night stand were the most judgemental of those who had. Nearly 33 percent of European women who abstained from a one-nighter would judge another, while just over 19 percent of European men would do the same.

Americans who haven’t had a one-night stand were even harsher than their European counterparts. Almost 35 percent of American women and 27 percent of American men were harsh critics of those who had.

The Aftermath

after a one night stand, how long do people keep in touch

Americans were more likely than Europeans to completely ghost someone after spending a night with them.

Forty-three percent of Americans didn’t stay in touch after a one-night stand, in comparison to 29 percent of Europeans who responded similarly.

As well, European men and women were more likely to keep in touch more than a few months later (10 percent), compared to only 8 percent of Americans.

Shake the Shame

People are definitely doing it, and most people are reasonably satisfied with it; however, one-night stands are still stigmatised. We found women were most harshly judged than men, and yet men still didn’t get off so easy.

There’s no need to be embarrassed, though – ZAVA is here to help. With over 6 million patients served, we can help you save time and embarrassment by providing complete confidentiality for your sexual health needs. Our licensed doctors prescribe hormonal contraception and emergency contraception for women, and erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation for men. ZAVA also offers STI test kits and treats chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital herpes and more. ZAVA can prescribe suitable treatment without you ever having to leave your home. Visit ZAVA online today to learn more.


We surveyed 500 Americans and 500 Europeans about their experiences with one-night stands.

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