Should You Have Sex With an Ex? Here’s What Happened When Real Women Did It
No big deal? Or a recipe for disaster?
. That said, there are still risks to consider before you go for it. Even if you both have the best intentions, having sex could open up old wounds or surprise you when you feel more attached to them than you thought you would, especially if you cuddle up together afterward (you can blame the hormone oxytocin for that).
So, should you take the plunge? Read on for five common reasons people go back to their ex and what could happen after a hookup, with insight from relationship psychologists and real women who did it.1. The sex was awesome.“If you’re missing the best sex you ever had, that can be difficult to give up, and you don’t need to have common interests or goals in life for a hookup to be pleasurable,” says
Teresa Johnson, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist based in Portsmouth, NH.Before you dive in, though, ask yourself: Would you and your ex be satisfied with no-strings-attached-sex at this point, or would one of you have to compromise too much to give the other person what they want? Are the reasons for your breakup going to bubble up again, or are you down to get together as consenting adults without digging up old conflicts?
The bad side of great sex with an ex is that it may be easier to get sucked back into a relationship that isn’t healthy, won’t work, or both, says Rachel Needle, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in West Palm Beach, FL and co-director of, a continuing education company that trains sex therapists around the world. In this case, remember: You
willsex toys.“My ex and I always had amazing chemistry, even after we were divorced. When we started having sex again, I thought maybe this meant we would get back together. I even told him that I was falling in love with him all over again. For a while, he did all of the ‘good things’ he did when we were married. Eventually, though, he went back to his old ways, and I realized there was no going back. Recently, I finally started saying ‘no’ to sex with him.”
—Cornelia G., 572. You’re drunk and looking for a hookup.That’s a no-no, relationship experts agree. “Adding drugs or alcohol into the mix will likely only make things messier. It may impair your judgment or make a much-needed quick exit that much harder,” says Coto.
If you tend to reach out to your ex when you’ve hada little too much to drink, check in with a trusted friend. They can remind you to keep your distance until you’re clear-headed again or help you come up with a smart exit strategy if you go for it and then decide you want out, advises Johnson.
“My high school boyfriend and I dated for a year and a half. After we broke up, we ended up going to the same college and becoming friends. I got drunk one night and hooked up with him. It was awful! I woke up to him gone and never saw him again. My takeaway: Don’t drink or sleep with an ex.” —
Lindsay M., 253. Your ex is familiar, and you’re in need of some comfort.In uncertain times, it makes sense that you might reach out to an ex if you’re feeling lonely, says Johnson. If you’re still emotionally attached to them and tired of the whole process of looking for someone new, your ex could serve as a welcome dose of familiarity and a break from
dating app frustrations.Keep in mind, though, if sex with your ex means more than “just sex with an ex” on an emotional level, you may be setting yourself up to feel worse when it’s over, warnsJared Grant, Psy.D., an L.A.-based licensed psychologist. Think of your ex like an old smoking habit: You quit, have one cigarette in a weak moment, and then have to quit all over again—and it may be even harder now, he says.
“My high school boyfriend and first love called me up one night to tell me he and his wife had split up and he’d been thinking about me. I’d just ended a long-term relationship, and I was tired of bad first and second dates. My ex and I first learned to have sex with each other so we knew everything we liked and didn’t. It was easy to jump straight back into that. Over the next month or so, we hooked up a few times. I knew it wouldn’t last, but I wanted it to. Then one night, he never showed and I never heard from him again. When it was over again, I felt weirdly glad to have had those moments again, but equally sad to have lost him all over again, too.”
—Katie B., age 304. You want to feel in control.If you find yourself trying to reel your ex back in to prove you’re “still what they want” or to “show them what they’re missing,” you might want to stop right now. “I would not recommend sleeping with an ex to feel desirable or regain control because doing so is allowing the situation and your ex to define your self-worth,” says Coto.Read more: Prevention Magazine »
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