Sexually engaging with your ex might not be as bad as you think
While your peers might advise you against jumping into bed with ex-partner after a breakup, a recent study shows that it might not be as bad you think.
According to the finding of the study in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, having sex with an ex doesn't seem to hinder moving on after the breakup. According to Stephanie Spielmann, lead author of the study, this is true even for those who continue to pine after their ex.
For Spielmann, studying the potential costs of sleeping with an ex is of broad interest because sexual experiences with ex-partners are quite common across all age groups and relationship types. Read | The power of 'we' As part of the project, the team of researchers devised two studies. In one, the researchers analysed the daily experiences of 113 participants who had recently experienced a breakup. Two months later these participants completed a further online survey. The survey questions asked whether participants had tried to have any physical contact with their former partners, how emotionally attached they still were, and how they felt after each day.
In a second study, 372 participants reported their actual and attempted sexualengagement with their ex-partner, as well as whether they were still emotionally tied to them.
The researchers found that pursuing sex with an ex, did not seem to stand in the way of people's subsequent recovery from a breakup on a daily basis or over the course of two months. Read | Hugs can make it all better! "This research suggests that societal handwringing regarding trying to have sex with an ex may not be warranted," says Spielmann, who believes that the findings challenge common beliefs. "The fact that sex with an ex is found to be most eagerly pursued by those having difficulty moving on, suggests that we should perhaps instead of more critically evaluate people's motivations behind pursuing sex with an ex."
Most participants did end up in bed with their ex, but this did not influence how someone managed to get over the end of their relationship.
Those pining after their ex-partner more often sought out sexual activity, potentially as a way of fostering closeness and connection. However, doing this did not leave them distressed or feeling depressed. In fact, it left them feeling more positive in everyday life.