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4 Reasons to Have Sex With Your Ex (or Not)

You might be surprised how common it is.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash
What needs will be met by your decision to sleep with your ex--or not?
Source: Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Some surveys say that as many as 44 percent of people have slept with their ex.

There are many reasons why sleeping with your ex is not such a good idea. And there are many people who feel that sleeping with an ex is just fine.

It isn’t a moral issue nor is it a black and white issue. You should take the time to weigh the pros and cons for you and how you are doing post-breakup. It isn’t right or wrong, but is it right or wrong for you?

If you are thinking about sleeping with your ex, ask yourself what needs will be met by doing so. Look deep at what might be driving you back to your ex when the relationship has ended. Ask yourself what the sex will give you: an orgasm with no other expectations or a desire for an emotional reconnection?

Then ask yourself what the consequences will be. Will you be glad or regret your decision? How will you feel about this afterward? Will this have helped you in your recovery from the breakup or made it more confusing or complicated? Is this an impulsive decision or is it a well-thought-through decision?

Here are some factors to think about when considering sleeping with your ex.

1. It is normal to want to avoid the grief and pain of the divorce. Sleeping with your ex distracts you from the pain of the loss of your relationship or marriage. At the same time, sleeping with your ex postpones the closure that you need to be able to recover, adjust, and move on.

a. Maybe you are afraid to start dating or have new sexual partners. The familiarity of the “devil you know” feels safer than the risks of new relationships.

b. You may get a boost of confidence when you sleep with your ex. That might make it easier to date others.

c. Maybe one last time “for old time’s sake.” Some people say that sex with their ex gives them closure.

2. Maybe the sex was the best part of your marriage. Everything else was awful but the sex was always great, even when you were not getting along. It is hard to give up the one thing that worked well in your relationship.

a. Maybe you feel sorry for your ex. Charity sex might make you feel less guilty, especially if you are the one who decided on the separation or divorce.

b. Maybe you want to show your ex what they will be missing by divorcing you.

c. Or maybe if you are really seductive you think it will pull them back into the relationship.

d. Idealizing your ex or nostalgia about how things used to be can be a powerful enticement.

3. You think you can do it without getting confused or caught up in your emotions.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
You think the thrill of a secret sexual encounter will make you feel less depressed about the break-up.
Source: Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

a. The thrill of the naughty, clandestine hook-up—what an adventure! You think the taboo and excitement of a secret sexual encounter will be fun or will make you feel less depressed about the breakup.

b. You are lonely and your ex is comforting.

c. Even though you might get emotionally tangled up, you can’t resist their invitation. You don’t know how to say no.

d. You’re not thinking about how you will feel tomorrow after sex with your ex.

e. You may be setting yourself up for another loss when your ex gets into a new relationship.

4. Maybe you think you will get a better settlement in your divorce.

a. Consciously or not, you may feel that “being nice” and “cooperative” will make your spouse more generous in the resolution of your divorce. (This might be the worst reason to have sex with your ex.)

b. You might be kidding yourself that if you sleep together you will be better co-parents.

c. You might be hoping for a reconciliation before the divorce is final.

Did any of these factors resonate with you? If so, pause and think carefully about your decision to sleep with your ex. Do other factors come to mind when you think about sex with your ex? If so, please share them in the comments below.

© Ann Buscho, Ph.D. 2020

References (2015). Asks: Have You Ever Had Sex With An Ex? PR Newswire.