They say people tend to want what they can’t have. There may be some truth to that. However, sometimes, the things we want are the things we already had — in this case, it’s a person, our exes! But not all of them or the relationship we had with them. In some cases, ex sex is what people seek from their former flame — and it’s quite a common occurrence.

Does ex sex help someone move on or does it do the opposite?

In a study published by Archives of Sexual Behavior, they found out that it’s common for people to hook up with their former lover — while they’re still moving on from the *same* said partner! The researchers conducted two surveys. One was for the participants to provide a daily report about how they feel they’re moving on from their exes — from day 1 to 2 months post-breakup; the second survey was for participants to answer questions regarding their attempts to initiate rebound ex sex — and how it ultimately turned out for them. 

Most participants reported that ex sex did occur between them and their ex-lovers. As for how it prevented them from moving on from them, surprisingly, many said that it didn’t — not a lot of them reported that it rekindled the flame, and a lot of them said that it somehow made it easier for them to recover from the breakup.

Why is ex sex so…sexy?

Relationships and marriages take a lot of effort for it to work. Unfortunately, sometimes, it just doesn’t. Though moving on from an ex varies per person, what’s now — evidently — common is that plenty of people get back in touch with their former lover, even if it’s just an ex sex.

Here are a few possible reasons why.

Emotional attachment

Sex can sometimes be purely a physical need. However, with an ex, more often than not, there’s an emotional attachment to it. That’s why ex sex can be tempting — they’re someone we shared an intimate bond with, and sex is just one act that can help us receive that emotional longing we need from someone.

“Weaning” as opposed to cold turkey

Oftentimes, breakups can be heartbreaking. We have to redo almost everything we’ve known to do when we were with our exes. No more routine walks in the park, no more weekend dates, and none of the hot, passionate sex anymore! Unless, of course, they “help” us gradually rebuild our lives — by slowly slipping out of our lives instead of the 180-degree, complete radio silence.

The need to feel special

Sometimes, our exes know us better than other people in our lives — that’s why most of the time, they know exactly how to make us happy. Thus, when they leave, we often feel devastated about it. In some situations, ex sex can make us feel that they’re still there for us — as they’re one of the few people whom we shared closeness, happiness, and memories with.

Possible mental health problems

Other times, however, call for professional assistance — especially when a person’s need for ex sex becomes unhealthy. Such as when a person becomes unjustifiably needy, or when their own psychological and physical health is jeopardized. In some instances, a person might have Dependent Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder, and many more.

Should I get back with my ex after a risqué rendezvous with them?

To many, the temptation to get back with their ex is always present — and ex sex seems to be a quick solution to it, even if it’s just their ex-lover’s physical presence or temporary — and extremely familiar — affection. However, several relationship experts advise against ex sex.

In an Oprah Daily article, relationship expert Rhonda Richards-Smith stated, “This isn’t the sexiest way to go about it, but you put your heart, or someone’s else’s, at risk when you impulsively give into your physical needs,”

“One of the issues of having sex with an ex is that every former partner sort of has a placeholder in your life. So if you’re engaging in sex with that person, it delays the ability to gain any semblance of resolve, as well as exploring partners who could satisfy you in all areas.” Richards-Smith added. “You may think that you’re open and actively searching, but depending upon the situation, you could be tricking yourself and stirring up feelings that you badly need to process and release,”

Moreover, in a Washington Post interview with Allison Moon, a sex educator, she said that “When you’re breaking up with someone, you’re essentially going through detox. You need to level out your blood chemistry and keep from getting your ‘fix.’ Cold turkey is better. Sex isn’t methadone or a nicotine patch. It’s a full fix, and you can’t get ‘clean’ if you keep visiting your dealer,”

To Recap

It’s common to “crave” ex sex because of the fulfillment it can provide to one or both parties participating in it. It can be because of the emotional or physical longing for each other. However, a lot of relationship and sex experts don’t advise that it be acted upon. To them, it’s still best that you healthily move on from your partner *without* them — definitely not on your bed, and without you on theirs. 

Furthermore, if ex sex goes beyond your need to gradually move on from them, and it’s resulting in clinginess (especially at an unhealthy level), you can seek a therapist to help you get over your ex — even if you don’t think you have an underlying mental health condition, it’s always great to ask for help from a professional.

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