Sex With My Ex – Good Idea Or Bad?

Sex With My Ex – Good Idea Or Bad?

Oooh, now this is a tricky one! It’s a potential relationship minefield, even if you have split up. Because, let’s face it, if you’ve split with someone then there was a probably a good reason for doing so. Maybe you aren’t sexually compatible, maybe you have different visions of life, maybe you don’t want to live how the other partner is, maybe there’s something else causing conflict in the relationship – whatever it is, if it’s ended things between you and your partner then it’s likely to be something that you just can’t get past. So why would you go there again? Even if it is just for sex? Popular theory has it that all sex with exes is a bad idea and no-one should ever go there for fear of developing (more) self-loathing and jealousy about what your ex might have moved onto without you, or even just the realisation that he doesn’t want to be with you. But that can’t apply all of the time, surely, so how do we work it out?

Sexual compatibility. Did you spend multiple nights focusing on self-pleasure under the sheets next to your partner with all the stealth of a stalking lion? Had your sex life dried up completely? If either of these sound familiar, then why would you even want to go there? Your motivations for seeking this sex are of paramount importance, you have to be truly honest with yourself before you bound back into bed with them. So, what are they? BE HONEST.

  • Was it an amicable break-up, you both parted happily and ready to go your separate ways? Do you see sex as a fun way to reconnect? If things have worked out great between you, then you probably don’t want rock the boat. One step forward, two steps back sort of thing.
  • Are you finding yourself lonely and stuck and you want to drag your ex down with you?
  • Are you secretly trying to get back with them?

If any of these are ringing bells for you, then you probably don’t want to go there. Sex means different things to different people and just because you have your intentions it really doesn’t follow that your ex-partner feels the same. You have to look out for your own emotions.

Wanting to show him what he’s missing is often a big motivating factor. Showing off a new haircut, a gym-honed body, a better paid job – all of these can all give you an irrestible urge to flaunt yourself in front of your ex and make him jealous and/or regretful at what he’s lost. It’s a bit savage, but don’t let that stop you. As long as you’re not deliberately trying to cause him emotional pain (because that’s not cool) then showing him what he could have had is a massive ego boost, and who doesn’t like those? Get dressed up, wear the sexy lingerie that’s been lurking at the back of your underwear drawer for weeks/months, blow dry your hair, put on some make-up – whatever makes you feel good – and go for it. If you’re both single, missing sex and are happily separated, then sleeping with your ex doesn’t seem like such a bad call. You can mix your new skills with an old flame.

But if you decide that this is definitely a good idea and the path that you want to go down, then putting strategies in place to protect yourself is pretty much a given. You don’t want to come out of this feeling as bad as you did – or worse – than when you broke up. Here are some tips to keep yourself emotionally safe:

  • -Don’t leap into bed with your ex either immediately, or after a short time. You’ll probably still have the old feelings there and having sex with your ex could jeopardise your emotional recovery. Leave it a decent length of time so the situation is a totally new one for you, a year or so is a good idea.
  • -Set boundaries for yourself, both sexual and emotionally. Know before you start this what you want out of this and how far you’re prepared to go. If you find yourself slipping, then that’s the time to call a halt to the whole thing.
  • -Look out for, and recognise, the signs that your partner wants more out of this then you do. If this happens, it’s time to extricate yourself PDQ.
  • -Insist on using condoms, even if you ex protests. You don’t know where they’ve been, or who they’ve been with since you were last together.

In the right circumstances having sex with an ex can work. They know your body, they know what you like and they have a deeper understanding of you than a whole new person would. So keep it fun, flirty and only every so often, becoming dependant on your ex for your whole sex life isn’t a good idea. Play it right and it can give you the closure that you need to sign off the former relationship. 

Stuart Brown
Doctor of Sexual Health at the NHS Royal London Hospital & Relationship Expert. Columnist at An advocate of safe sex. Avid Arsenal fan.

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