Having sex with an ex is like slipping on that old pair of shoes that you can’t quite get rid of. They’re borderline falling apart, so you know you should donate them. But they’re also amazingly broken in—no blisters or chafing to worry about. Ah, do you just give in and put them on again? Or kick them to the curb?
If you are thinking about slipping back into things with an old flame, there are a few things you should keep in mind first.
“My clients have sex with their exes for a number of reasons,” says sexologist Jessica O’Reilly, PhD, host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast. “Some say it feels good to be wanted by someone who abandoned or rejected them. Others like that it is familiar and convenient. And others are hoping that sex will lead to a rekindling of the relationship.”
Ultimately, how sex with an ex will affect you differs from person to person. For some, they feel satisfied and can easily move on, while others, not so much, O’Reilly says. For this reason, everyone should consider the positives and negatives before getting in bed with a former flame—not to deter you, but so that you’re prepared for every possible outcome.
If you’re thinking about giving this a shot and trying on your old kicks, er, hitting up your ex, here’s everything you should consider first.
The Positive Effects:
1. It can soothe hard feelings.
“If the sex goes well, it may soothe hard feelings that remained from the breakup,” says Joel Block, PhD, relationship psychologist and author of The 15-Minute Relationship Fix. “Rather than feeling harshly toward each other, the post-relationship sexual contact may remind a couple of the warm, sexual attitudes they had toward each other.”
2. It can be a total rush.
“It’s tempting, of course: Humans naturally crave comfort and predictability as well as excitement and novelty—and sex with an ex offers both,” says O’Reilly. “You get the thrill of having sex with someone casually alongside the security of knowing one another intimately.”
3. It can be comforting.
Breakups can leave you feeling extremely lonely, especially if you and your partner were co-habitating. So sex with an ex can bring on a sense of comfort, especially if you’ve been feeling lonely since the split.
Even if you two called it quits over irreconcilable differences outside the bedroom, Block explains, you might be able to put those frustrations and issues aside for the physical stuff that you know will make you feel good.
4. It can change how you view yourself.
“A breakup can create a crash in one’s self regard. In that case, sex with an ex can counter the feeling of failure,” says Block. “The sexual relationship may lend itself to viewing the breakup having more to do with incompatibility than inferiority.”
5. It can be ‘safe’.
Sex with an ex is the ultimate safety move because you share a past and know each other well. Compared to a new relationship, your ex already knows every part of you—your history, your body, and what you like in bed. This isn’t an automatic thing when you’re with someone new.
When you know “the relationship isn’t going anywhere, there may not be any tension, and it is a comfortable and a sexy, safe familiar,” says Block.
6. The Sex Might Be Better Than With A Brand New Partner.
From a practical standpoint, there’s less you need to explain about your wants and needs to a previous partner than a new partner.
Morley agrees that sex with an ex may lead to an overall more pleasurable experience. “I think with clear expectations and communication going into it, it could be a chance to feel connected, to feel cared for, and to have a great time and feel sexually satisfied. And there’s nothing wrong with that,” she says.
She adds that your shared sense of history and the built-in comfort level might lead you to let go of some of your hang ups and even try some new things, too.
If you’re “just looking for an orgasm,” Silva says, then sex with your ex can be a lot of fun and even fulfilling. But if you’re hoping those orgasms will lead to something more, like getting back together, the risks may not outweigh the rewards.
Hope you found this piece very helpful? Noe, Read disadvantages of having sex with an ex effects on you (Part Two)
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