Ancient wisdom says that it is inadvisable to have sex with your ex. There are dozens of articles in (women’s) magazines with titles like ‘11 reasons why sex with your ex is a bad idea (Dutch)‘. You will not get your ex back, and it will be harder to move on with your life. It may also give you an inferiority complex when you have sex with someone who considers you to be second choice. However, a recent study now shows that sex with your ex might even be beneficial.
One quarter of separated people has had sex with their ex
There have been a number of studies to the frequency in which separated people still had sexual encounters with their exes.One study among separated couples shows that one quarter of them had sex with their ex at one time. Another study talks about a number of one fifth. This last study also showed that there was no correlation between having sex with ones ex and a possible negative impact. In fact, people who had troubles accepting the breakup, seemed to have less distress after having sex with their ex.
There is new series of studies that show that sex with your ex does not have to be traumatizing. In one of these studies, 113 persons that were in a relationship were followed with a weekly survey. If they separated during the fieldwork of the study, they were asked questions about their experiences and sexual activities with their ex and their emotional status after the breakup, how attached they still where and how distressed they felt about the separation.
About one quarter (24.8%) said they had sex with their ex. Especially those that had an emotional connection even after the breakup did so. But there was no link between the distress they had. This study even shows that the group who had sex with their ex, had less negative emotions then the group that didn’t. Sex with their ex had no negative effect on the detachment of their ex.
Another research among 372 respondents shows that the initiative to have sex with ones ex, was successful in 9 out of 10 situations.
Why would you have sex with your ex?
These studies unfortunately don’t show why these people wanted to have sex with their exes. There could be a number of reasons behind this. Maybe they just felt like having sex, they felt comfortable and safe with heir ex, they wanted to have some kind of emotional closure, or they might believed that it was a way to win their ex back.
Still, the results of these studies are important. People might not always breakup in a clean way. It may be that there is a period where there is still a lot of (emotional) contact. And it is not uncommon that people have sex during this period. These researches show that it is not necessary to avoid sexual contact with your ex. There was no negative emotional consequence with these respondents. It is more likely that sex with your ex contributes to a better closure.
Still, you cannot go as far a to conclude that sex with your ex is always a goo idea. It will differ from relationship to relationship and will be depending on the personalities and the history of the partners.