Men's Health Guide to the Best Sex in the World


Master the Art of the One-Night Stand—And Make Any First Night Together Memorable

If you've ever been in Lisbon on a Friday or Saturday night, you're probably not surprised by our survey finding that Portuguese men have the most one-night stands. The nightlife in the capital and throughout much of the country is legendary. “In Portugal, any time and place is good for sex,” says Mariagrazia Marini, PhD, a clinical psychologist in that country.

“It's much easier to come across a one-night stand if you're going to bars and clubs and staying out all night,” adds Marini, “especially in the summer, when people socialize under the moonlight near the sea. All these things, combined with alcohol, can certainly lower people's inhibitions.”


Percentage of men who've had a one-night stand:



81 percent



76 percent



65 percent



64 percent



63 percent


United States

61 percent


World average  

58 percent

But even if you don't live in Portugal, there's a lot you can do to boost your odds of finding a one-night wonder woman. And whether the magic happens the very first time you meet or later on, you'll find plenty in this chapter to help make your first night together one that neither of you will ever forget.


Average age at which men had sex for the very first time:








United Kingdom



Russia and Mexico (tie) 






United States



World average


It Depends on Your Definition of Eternity...

The Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes is perhaps most famous for writing the poem that inspired the song “The Girl from Ipanema.” But among his countrymen, this famous seducer (married a total of eight times!) is just as famous for summing up his nation's predilection for the one-night stand (Brazil came in second in our survey) with another line of poetry: “May love be eternal—while it lasts.”

What's the attraction of disposable love? We asked some of our international friends.

“I can be much more uninhibited with someone I've just met and don't think I'll see again. The things we know about one another don't get in the way.”—Alicia in Lisbon

“It's sex without all the emotions. Sometimes that's a good thing—no jealousy, no ‘where were you last night,’ no ‘you were supposed to call.’ But it can also feel a little cold, like ‘Why did we do this?’—especially the morning after.”—Felipe from Brazil

“No fuss, no muss. Just two grown-ups getting together for some fun.”—Ian, an Englishman living in Bali

“In my experience, a girl who will go home with you right after meeting you is someone who is comfortable with herself, and who likes sex. My one-night stands have all been awesome in bed!”—Adam from Poland

“Why not? Sex is such a good way to get to know each other!”—Mariebelle in France

Where to Look

We've heard stories about fabulous nights of one-off love blossoming out of the most unlikely venues. Two that stick in our minds? “We had just stayed up all night checking a mutual friend into the hospital after a psychotic break.” And this one: “I'd had a crush on him since we were teenagers; we finally got together at the wake for one of our high school teachers.”

Not even mental hospitals and funeral homes are unsexy enough to dampen a powerful attraction, apparently—and yet, we feel that other venues lend themselves more organically to the crucial increased libido/decreased inhibition combination you're looking for. “In Brazil, we go to bars and clubs to meet women,” says Claudio, an importer who lives in Rio de Janeiro. Hey—we do that too! Everybody's there to have a good time, which lays the foundation. And we hear that this alcohol stuff is a pretty good social lubricant.

Select a Target

If you're in the market for a one-night stand, who should you go after? The obvious answer is someone you're attracted to who seems to return the interest.

To better your odds:

A German study suggested that women in clubs wearing flimsy clothes were most likely to go home with a guy. And we were proud to vote that study the “dumbest of the year.” But now we're not so sure.


Work events can buzz with sexual tension, but few women are willing to taint their professional reputations just for a one-and-done. And that kind of belt-notching doesn't do much for you professionally. If you're going to give the office something to snicker about, at least make sure she's someone you might be interested in seeing again.

Family get-togethers are also generally out of the question. Even when she's not a blood relative, no girl thinks about sex when Uncle Nick's butt cracks a smile every time he reaches for a bocce ball. And you think it's annoying now when the cabal attacks you in the kitchen, demanding to know when you're going to tie the knot and give them a baby to play with? Just wait until they're updating you on the activities of a woman whose face you can no longer even remember.


Blondes have more fun, the saying goes. But when Hamburg sex researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl looked at women's sex lives to see if there was a correlation with their hair color, the conventional wisdom was not borne out. In fact, fiery, passionate redheads had sex more often than the average—and with more partners.

He added that women who dyed their hair red from another color were signaling they were looking for a partner: “Even women in a fixed relationship are letting their partners know they are unhappy if they dye their hair red. They are saying that they are looking for something better.”

So look for a carrot top. But hurry! A recent study by the Oxford Hair Foundation predicts that redheads will be extinct by 2100; just 4 percent of the population carries the recessive gene for red hair, which means it's becoming less common with every generation.

“A woman who's dressed to thrill is less likely to go home with you,” says Emily Dubberley, a British expert and author of Brief Encounters: The Woman's Guide to Casual Sex. “You don't want to be the third of 25 guys to approach her that evening.” Instead, go for the woman in the background. “She's with a friend or two, both of whom are brighter, brasher, and louder than she is,” explains Dubberley.

On the other hand, a girl with naked Twister on her mind is usually trying to be noticed. Look for the women who are clearly out to have fun, who are laughing their butts off, who are dancing on the dirty side, and who keep glancing around the room to see who glances back. There's no guarantee that they're out to get laid, but there's no harm in introducing yourself and finding out.

Zeroing In for the Kill

Once you've selected a target, it's time to approach. Dr. Marini says that “the first few minutes are crucial for a successful seduction.” Traditionally, the journey from “Hi, we're complete strangers” to “Have you seen my underwear?” takes place over a period of time, in which there are dinners, long walks, witty e-mail exchanges, and innuendo-filled phone conversations. In a one-night-only scenario, you have to go from zero to 60 in no time flat, which means creating a sexual mood right away. Here's how to do that.

Say hello. Stow your witty pickup line; you're better off with something straightforward, like “Hi, I'm Jeff.”

Be the quarry. Though women generally like to be pursued, in the land of one-night stands, many like to play seductress—it's a way of turning the stereotypical one-nighter paradigm on its head. Let her have her fun, and show her what it feels like to “take advantage” of the man for a change. Linger in her vicinity, respond when she flirts. But, for the first few stages, let her take the lead.

Get up close and personal. “As you flirt, stand or sit within 6 inches of her. If she seems unruffled, move closer,” says the Men's Health's Girl Next Door, Nicole Beland. “Eventually you want your thigh to be pressed against hers, whether you're standing or sitting.” If she squirms, back off.

Show her what it feels like to “take advantage” of the man for a change.

Double the entendre. Drop a sexually loaded comment or question and see how she reacts, says Clint Paddison, CEO of in Australia. “If it's done in the right way—and the right way is with a huge grin, and without being too intense or creepy—you can get away with almost anything.” If she seems comfortable with the innuendo, laughing and joining in, then it's a signal to push it even further. “The more she plays along, the more likely she is to go home with you.”

Move to a more intimate location. The game is on when she suggests—or agrees with your suggestion—that you go to another bar (that quieter one down the road). What if she's got a posse she won't separate from? Paddison advises you to take along the baggage. “We're all going back to our place to open up this amazing bottle of wine—come on, and we'll all have a drink.” Pay for the cab ride, and continue to act as if everyone's one big happy family. Never ignore the pack, agrees Japanese–German sex educator Midori. “Men don't realize how much power the girlfriend veto has. Be friendly and open and charming to all of them.”

Engage in PDA. Once you've reached the new, preferably dark and loungey locale, the first kiss is only a drink away. A make-out session is a prerequisite to a sexual proposition, says Beland. Pay attention to how intensely she's kissing back. You want the “I want to eat you alive, starting with your head” kind of kiss, not the sweet little “I'm not really a dirty girl” kind of kiss.

Showing Her Your Etchings

If all goes well, one of you will ask whether you should go someplace private. Maybe this happens the first time you meet, maybe not until the third date—or the third month. Whenever it happens, tread lightly, since big transitions beg many questions—specifically, “What the hell am I doing going home with you?”

“Coffee at my place?” is too stark a transition because it suggests the fun is ending. The time-honored solution is to have something, anything—a novelty cocktail recipe! a CD she absolutely has to hear! a new puppy!—that you absolutely must show her tonight.

Your approach can be either funny (“So, what do you say we go back to my place for milkshakes and Jenga?”); hesitant and humble (“I don't even know how to ask you this, but I would really love to be alone with you”); or straightforward and sweet (“Please, God, tell me that we can go home together”). Dial back the sleaze factor and, “chances are, if she's been shoving her tongue down your throat, any one of them could probably end up working,” says Beland.

British psychologist and sex advisor Dr. Pam Spurr, author of Naughty Tricks and Sexy Tips, likes the idea of a drink back at your place: “I've got a great bottle of wine in the fridge at home—could we carry on this conversation back there?” This suggests a continuation of the fun. “It's honest, exciting, and the notion of a man with wine in the fridge is encouraging,” says Spurr. “It conjures up an image of someone who might also have fresh towels in the bathroom and clean sheets on his bed.”

The ladies do care about this domestic stuff. So much so that we've collected tips on making your nest “bird-ready,” as the Brits would say. Check out “Making Your Apartment Nookie-Ready” on page 10.

Or suggest going to her place. She might be more comfortable, and you'll have the option of splitting before dawn.

Once you get there, play it smooth. Small talk is a buzz-kill; compliments are okay. Tell her that she's beautiful and incredibly sexy, then let the kissing and undressing begin. You're both in this for the sex, so make it adventurous.


A woman is far less likely to reach orgasm during a one-night stand than with a long-term partner. See Chapter 8 for tips on helping her defy the odds.

How can you make sure you don't get stuck at second base? One sure-fire strategy is to assume it's going to happen—and to communicate that by taking off all your clothes. Getting and being naked is an appealing show of vulnerability, and it's not quite as aggressive as taking off all of her clothes for her. Of course, this has uncomfortable backfire potential, but the payoff is generally worth the risk.

Or get her to do it. “In the middle of making out, whisper, ‘Will you take my shirt off?’” say New York magazine sex columnists Em and Lo, authors of Rec Sex. “If she demurs, chances are she doesn't want you taking off hers yet, either.” Green light? Spend at least 10 minutes focused on her upper half before grazing the button of her jeans. Give her the opportunity to move your hand, and even if she accelerates the undressing, keep things even in terms of how much skin is exposed. It should be “I'll show you mine if you show me yours” until you're both down to your skivvies.

And, gentlemen, you really need to know how to remove a bra. If you didn't practice with the one you found in the hamper in high school, buy a cheap one now and practice until you get it right. By “right,” we mean one-handed.

The Main Event

Just do it. Use a condom, of course (see Chapter 2 for much more on this non-negotiable element), and no spanking, backdoor entry, kinky toys, or uncomfortable positions (unless she makes a specific request). Go with the standard stuff, plus plenty of enthusiastic squeezing, licking, sucking, stroking, rubbing, and moaning.

Let her be on top. Women who endorse casual sex are more likely to fantasize about dominating a man, reports a study in the Journal of Sex Research. Study participants completed a survey on sexual attitudes, then wrote out two fantasies. Researchers then checked the stories for themes of power. “Examples of dominance fantasies included pinning men to the bed, ordering them to perform a specific sex act, and initiating a younger man into sex,” says study coauthor Megan Yost, PhD.

But don't break out the handcuffs just yet—you still have to read her signals and talk, Yost advises. If a woman takes over the conversation and is willing to share her sexual fantasies with you, chances are you can safely broach the subject, she says. If she whispers something shocking in your ear, ask her if she'd like to take control—at least part of the time. Just sit back and enjoy the show.


What greets a woman when you open your door may determine whether or not she has sex with you. A report done by the Kinsey Institute found that the two biggest turn-offs for women were poor hygiene and a messy house. (This is true whether you're trying to score with her the first time or the 5,000th, by the way, so even you old married guys should keep reading.)

It's one thing for a buddy to block your game, but your house? It's time to get on top of this situation before you're looking at her retreating back. Don't panic—this isn't Queer Eye, and you don't have to ditch the foosball table. But you don't want her worried that there are human body parts in the freezer.

Tidy up. It might feel a little counterintuitive to clean just as you're on your way out, but it's a good habit to get into. You don't have to scrub like your mom is coming over. Take 5 minutes: Put dirty dishes into the sink, laundry into the hamper, magazines into a pile, and trash into the trash. You'll be surprised how much of a difference it makes. And even if you strike out, it'll be much less depressing to come home to a clean apartment.

If you have some disposable income, a housecleaner is a very good investment. You don't even need to hire one on a regular basis; many of the bigger services will do a cleaning one-night-stand every couple of months. Hiring someone who really knows what they're doing not only leads to a much cleaner house (for a week, anyway) but also makes it much easier to stay on top of things in the interim.

Crack the windows. You might not notice the sweatsock funk, but she will. And a little chill in the air when you get back might just drive her into your warm arms.

Make your bed. This whole thing is about your bed, right? So what are you doing with those filthy Snoopy sheets?

Invest in new ones. And we do mean invest. We're talking 100 percent cotton, with a thread count of about 300. Martha Stewart makes nice, tasteful ones that are available at Kmart; catalogs like Lands’ End and L.L. Bean have simple, inexpensive choices as well. If it's winter and you live in a cold climate, flannel or those jersey ones made out of T-shirt material are cozy. Neutral colors are best.

No satin or anything novelty, although you may want to reserve a special set for playing with food or oil.

This is a situation where there can be absolutely no double-dipping. If you've had sex on your sheets, they need to be changed. Do this before she comes over. “If a guy is going out and getting laid a lot, he needs between 5 and 10 sets of sheets,” says Japanese–German sex educator Midori.

The same thing goes for towels. We've all wondered how towels get dirty; after all, you only use them when you're clean! But they do, and when they do, they smell bad. Launder them once a week, at a minimum—and always have a fresh set that you can whip out at a moment's notice.

Hide stuff. Hide anything you don't want her to see. Your porn collection, old love letters, your trusty old teddy bear (actually, leave him on the bed). Trust us: She's looking for it, and she'll find it. And when she does, she's not going to believe it belongs to your roommate.

And it's time to accept that it's a fundamental aspect of human nature to investigate other people's medicine cabinets. If you don't want her sending your dog's antifungal cream out to the lab, then stash it someplace where she won't find it. And don't just stop at the disgusting, incriminating, or embarrassing, either. There's nothing wrong with using Rogaine, and your bald spot probably needs no formal introduction. It's just that it's sort of sad to see a can of the stuff in someone's bathroom.

Turn off the phone. It's not just polite, it's prudent. Let's review some possible scenarios.

Your mother leaves a long message about running into Bertie Hermanson (he's a doctor now) in the produce aisle at the grocery store.

Your ex-girlfriend calls in hysterics, wanting you back.

Your current girlfriend calls, furiously demanding to know where you are.

Your wingman calls to find out whether you ended up going home with the bangin’ blonde.

Which of these do you want to intrude on your evening? If the answer is none of them, turn off the ringer and turn down the answering machine. For the same reasons, hold off on listening to your messages until she's gone.

Get the lighting right. Nothing dumps cold water on an evening like blinding her with overhead wattage. Dimmers are available at every hardware store, are easy to install (turn off the power at the box, please), and can make a world of difference.

Candles are also a nice touch; the ones contained in glass containers not only look good but are also less likely to set your house on fire while you're getting frisky. For overachievers: The world of scented candles has come a long way from the ones in your grandmother's house. You can now find them in more masculine scents such as hay, leather, tobacco, and wood smoke. Be prepared to drop some cash; the good ones are expensive.

Defluff. Lint rollers are useful for cleaning up pet hair. Speaking of pets, if you have one, let her know before she's having an asthma attack in the back of the ambulance. Seriously, here's Midori's cautionary tale: “I'm allergic to cats, but I can usually cope. One night, I meet a new lover and go home with him. I pet his cat, and then pet my own pussy—which swells to five times its normal size. Needless to say, sex was off.”

The story has a happy ending—largely because Midori's lover was a gentleman who bathed her swollen bits and went to the drugstore for an antihistamine. But it's not a good idea to ambush an asthmatic with your Newfoundland.

Cue soundtrack. Keep a seduction-worthy CD in the stereo by your bed, or create an appropriate playlist on your MP3 player so that you're ready to go when she is (see “Sexy World Music Mix” on page 146 for our suggestions). You don't want to have to search through your Weird Al collection to find the good stuff.

Music can help to make your room moan-proof—an important consideration, especially if there's a roommate involved. “There's nothing quite like running into his roommate the morning after to make you feel like a whore,” laughs Allie, a bartender in Edinburgh. “It's like, ‘Pass the orange juice—and which part in particular did you enjoy? The blowjob or the spanking?’” Allie laughs about it, because that's the kind of gal she is. Other girls will stop doing what they're doing, and that's not at all what you want.

Be the concierge. “I keep a basket of new, sealed products—including a toothbrush, razor, and a small bottle of contact lens solution—in the guest room; I tell the women I bring home to help themselves to the bathrobe and basket of amenities in the spare room. It really gets their attention and makes them feel relaxed,” says James, a British banker.

If you've been out with the woman a few times already and seen the inside of her place, Midori suggests that you take note of what types of shampoos/conditioners/lotions she has in her own bathroom, and stock yours with the same. It's a very nice way to tell her that you've noticed—and a good way to make sure she feels comfortable sleeping over as much as you'd like her to.

Throw pillows. You know how you're always making fun of the women in your life for having small pillows on every horizontal surface? Well, we're about to shut you up. Imagine cushioning your one-night-stand's head with one as you start to get busy on the floor. Now imagine placing one under her hips. Time to stop laughing and go shopping? We thought so. Also, they look nice on the couch.

Consider your exit strategy. Don't let this be uncomfortable. If you're at her place, ask her straight out whether she wants you to stay for the night or make yourself scarce.

If you're at your house, make it very clear that you want her to stay. “Are you staying over?” is not an invite. “Will you spend the night? I can't wait to wake up with you” is.

The Morning After

The way you behave the next morning shouldn't depend on whether you think you've just met Ms. Right or need to flee the state. No matter what, you're going to want to behave like a gentleman, for no other reason than it's good karma. “I was a total man-whore and have no regrets about anything, except that I wish I'd been a little more chivalrous the morning after,” says Estevão, a music producer in Portugal.

The best policy? Tell the truth. Tell her you had a great time. If you know you want to see her again, tell her so, ask for her number, and tell her you'll call. “Call within 3 days of shagging someone to arrange to see them again—otherwise she'll think you're not interested,” says Dubberley. The lovely Ms. Dubberley may be more low-maintenance than the woman you've brought home, so to be safe, we recommend calling within 24 hours.


Percentage of men who claim to have slept with more women than they can count:



22 percent



21 percent


El Salvador

21 percent



19 percent



18 percent


United States   

13 percent

Don't say, “I'll call you,” or, “Maybe we can see each other again,” if it isn't true. If you harp on the expiration date—“Just so you know, this isn't anything serious”—your message will backfire. “No woman wants to be reminded that you're not in it to win it,” says Logan Levkoff, PhD, a sex educator in New York City.

If you want to earn a spot on her booty-call list—or be the type of one-night-only entertainment she might recommend to a friend—send her a single e-mail the next day saying that last night was amazing and that she should feel free to contact you if she ever wants to “do it” again.