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Study: Sex With the Ex Is Completely Fine

According to one university, sexual intercourse with your ex will not stop you from moving on. It seems a bit … collegiate, though.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that every breakup of good fortune is in want of a regretful shag.

We’ve all been there. We’ve cut it off with that person that was our everything, we’ve articulated our disappointment. Maybe we threw crockery, maybe we threw insults. Maybe we said goodbye to the dog, maybe we didn’t. We’ve packed our things and left on the note we wanted to. But all of us, at least once, has found themselves back in their bed, stained in sweat, regret, and confusion, having gone back for a posthumous bonk.

The “backslide” is a well-known societal condition, one that we’ve been warned about. Never go back is the easily digestible truism, but one recent psychological study believes banging the ex is fine, because it doesn’t stop you from moving on. What?

According to data published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, that 3:00 a.m. “you up?” message (and all that follows) isn’t risking a re-connection between the two parties. Questionable behavior, sure. But according to the researchers of one university, it’s apparently cool, because it doesn’t mean anything, babe.

Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, conducted two studies to examine the effects of post-breakup sex, because one study clearly wasn’t enough.

In the first experiment, they examined newly-single individuals by asking them to complete a series of online surveys in which they were asked whether they’d had any physical contact with their former partner, how it made them feel afterwards, and how emotionally attached they felt when the friction stopped.

In the second experiment, participants were asked to report actual sexual encounters with ex-partners and record whether they were still emotionally attached. Because, wow, kick them while they’re down.

The researchers believe that post-breakup coitus doesn’t harm an individual’s emotional recovery.

It sounds borderline questionable, but let’s not front. We’ve all done it, for numerous reasons. Revenge, hope, need, accident, or impulse. Post-coital sex is a murky beast to define. While it is usually spectacular, it also tends to remind each party why they left. Maybe not in performance, but certainly in the minutes afterwards. You know what I’m talking about. Maybe you spoon afterwards, but the arm around the waist is tentative, hollow. You shower afterwards, but separately. The small talk often awkward, the jokes forced. It’s all you can do, as there’s a very narrow field of safe discussion to be had. Not the problems of yesterday, not your plans for tomorrow, and certainly not the merit of the present.

I mean, I’m not saying don’t do it. Just don’t make a thing of it.


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