Motels and one-night-stands didn’t always carry a bitter taste.
Originally, a one-night stand was a single theatre performance, usually by a guest performer on tour, as opposed to an ongoing engagement. Today, however, the term is more commonly applied to a single sexual encounter, an example of casual sex, in which neither participant has any intention or expectation of a long-term sexual or romantic relationship.
Participants in a one-night stand typically have not known each other long and have had minimal time to get acquainted before engaging in sexual activity. A one-night sexual encounter is not necessarily always a one-night stand; the defining feature of a one-night stand is the absence of expectation or intention that the relationship will be extended beyond the initial sexual encounter. A one-night stand is differentiated from prostitution, as it takes place without direct payment of money, and from a casual relationship, which may not initially involve sex and may continue long-term.
A one-night stand can be thought of as an irregular and unplanned sexual encounter. The participants will usually have little or no contact with one another aside from sex. However, where the people involved have a regular sexual relationship without romantic involvement, this is generally considered a casual relationship and is generally considered distinct from the one-night stand phenomenon.