When you’re unattached, it’s exciting to imagine the hookup potential around every corner.

The fantasy makes sense: “Sex is hotter when it’s a little transgressive,” says Stephen Snyder, M.D., a sex and relationship therapist in New York City. “There’s something about the surprise of taking off the wrapper for the first time.”

For most people, though, the one-night stand is a rarity.

So we asked five women to share the details of their most sizzling flings—and what it was that made those hookups so hot.

Use their tales as inspiration to fire up your sex life—starting tonight.

Kristen, 29 / The Guitar Hero
“It was New Year’s Eve, and I went to a house party where I met Kyle. He was cute with a hippie vibe and said he was a guitar teacher.

We began talking and hit it off, and it soon became clear that we’d be each other’s date for the rest of the night.

At midnight we kissed—in a joking way at first, but then things heated up. We were making out on the dance floor when he asked me to go home with him.

He carried my shoes because my feet were sore.

The sex was wonderful, but the best part was the morning after. When we emerged from Kyle’s bedroom, his roommates were already up. Kyle grabbed his guitar and started playing Tom Petty’s ‘Wild-flowers.’ I sang along.

He seemed to be signaling that he wanted me to stick around. We continued to hang out until the afternoon. Neither of us felt any rush to make it end.

Eventually he walked me to the door and kissed me goodbye.”

Do It: Take responsibility, says Jenn Gunsaullus, Ph.D., a sociologist and relationship coach based in San Diego.

“You just had the most intimate experience you can have with a person. Now offer your respect.”

You don’t have to serenade her, but make her feel like it wasn’t a mistake. Ask if she wants to have breakfast. Show thoughtfulness and creativity, says Gunsaullus—prepare a delicious omelet, or pack up bagels and coffee to take on a hangover-clearing walk in the park.

Kelly, 32 / The Soft Sell
“I was at a marina bar in Key West trying to enjoy an evening cocktail and cigar. But the men around me were as annoying as squawking seagulls fighting over french fries. They kept sidling up, saying ‘Hey, beautiful’ or ‘What are you doing tonight?’ Just gross. One guy kept asking me to come out on his boat the next day. Please.

But then this guy appeared. Gorgeous red hair, broad shoulders, muscular arms, strong hands-and really chill. ‘My day,’ he said casually, ‘was really long.’ Now that was a nice, inviting line.

We got into a conversation about my day. He asked questions; he listened.

Later he asked if I wanted to hit another bar and meet his friends. I was happy to go-it was a public place, and seeing his friends showed he was a regular, emotionally competent guy.

At the end of the night, we went home together.”

Do It: Compliments on her physical appearance can seem cheap and off-putting. Instead, aim to reveal something about your character-and learn about hers-by finding common ground, says Robert Burriss, Ph.D., a psychologist at North-umbria University.

Comment on a song that’s playing in the bar, and then ask what she listens to at home or what bands she’s seen lately.

The simpler you keep things, the better, adds Gary Lewandowski, Ph.D., chair of the psychology department at Monmouth University.

Lisa, 28 / The Full House
“My girlfriend and I had come to New York for the weekend and met two guys at a bar. After a few rounds I was feeling good, so I turned to one and kissed him.

Eventually we invited them back to the apartment we were crashing in; it belonged to my friend’s cousin. But soon my friend was fast asleep on the couch.

The cousin didn’t seem to mind—she and the other guy disappeared, while my guy and I made out in the living room.

I wasn’t too keen on having sex beside my sleeping friend, so we went to the bedroom. My friend’s cousin and the other guy were there, naked on the bed.

And then the strangest thing happened. She looked straight at me and gave me a huge grin. It was an unspoken agreement: We were all going to have sex in that bed.

I never would have done this in front of a friend, but I knew I wasn’t going to see these people again, so I figured, ‘Hey—no rules.’

Do It: Having sex in the presence of another couple is taboo—and that’s exactly why it was exciting.

A milder option: Pitch something that’s a bit on the wild side, like sex on your apartment building’s roof.

“When we perceive sexual acts as forbidden, they gain instant appeal,” Lewandowski says.

And hanky-panky in public, whether you’re making out at a bar or fooling around at work, can offer a similar thrill, Lewandowski says.

Rachel, 34 / The New Guy
“For the first time in eight years I was single, and I wondered if there’d be any cute men attending my friend’s upcoming wedding.

Sure enough, when the big day came, a single guy was at my table. We smiled at each other, but he was on the opposite side, talking to another woman.

I saw it as a challenge: He was mine. I asked him to dance and we ended up hanging out for the rest of the party.

Later—much later—we went to his place.

After sleeping with the same person for so long, it felt strange and thrilling to be in bed with someone else.

I didn’t climax, but it didn’t matter. I’d achieved my goal: I’d picked up a man, which I’d never done before, and went home with him.

It was the first one-night stand of my life, and it gave me exactly the confidence I needed.”

Do It: Stoke a rivalry. “Female competition is hugely underrated,” says Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of psychology at Cal State. “We want to date the man with the highest status in the room.”

In this situation, competition drove up the man’s appeal, says Gunsaullus. She suggests going out for drinks with your women friends—especially if they think you’re funny.

Other women who see your gal pals laughing at your jokes will be intrigued. Just don’t send your girlfriends over to hit on women for you, she warns—it rarely works. “You should always do that yourself.”

Emma, 38 / A Stranger at the Opera
“I had a pair of tickets to Puccini’s Tosca but no one to go with. This was about six years ago-before Craigslist was so sketchy-so I tried my luck with a stranger. The man who replied provided a close-up photo, which highlighted his eyes.

We made plans to meet at the theater. I’d been on opera dates before, and they didn’t lead to anything. But he and I were immediately attracted to each other.

We were flirting, kidding around, getting close. Part of what made the night so incredible was the sense of power I felt.

I had the tickets-this was my show, so to speak. I was wearing a sexy outfit, right down to the lingerie. Back at his place, he undressed me.

I remember how excited he seemed as he removed my clothing. He’d look at me with intensity, as if thinking, ‘Yes! Yes!’ That felt really empowering.”

Do It: Let her lead. While power and authority are attractive qualities, so is self-confidence.

And a man who’s secure enough to let a woman take the reins can be very sexy, Gunsaullus says.

You should still pick up tabs and hold doors. But if your date has been to the restaurant where you two are dining, for example, ask her to order for you.

“Just giving up that small piece of control can be alluring,” says Gunsaullus.

It also subtly provides her with a sense of safety and security that she’ll probably need if she’s going to sleep with you.”