Sex with your ex: Yeah or nah?

Weighing the pros and cons

It goes almost without saying that breakups can suck. There’s so much drama you go through on your journey from “taken” back to available. You delete your ex’s phone number from your cell and wipe your Facebook albums clean of pictures of you two as a couple. Then you have to break it to all your friends—one at a time—that you and your dream lover are no longer a thing. Never mind reminding your heart.

If that’s not bad enough, not only do you have to deal with healing emotionally from your split, your libido also might not get the message that your relationship is kaput. You still get horny. And sometimes the most logical person to scratch that itch seems like the last person who scratched it for you. But is that always a good idea?

It depends! Here are two arguments for and against jumping back into the sheets with an ex after you’ve already put your relationship to bed.

Yeah, go for it!

You’re familiar with ex-bae and their body and (hopefully) they know yours just as well. Especially if your breakup wasn’t bitter, one, two, or a few more rounds in the sack for old time’s sake could be harmless. As long as it’s consensual, you both could be doing the other a favor by filling in the awkward gap from ex to next.

Still, it’s important to know for yourself what sex with an ex means—or what it doesn’t. Just because you’re no longer in a relationship doesn’t make communication any less essential. Be as clear about your expectations as you can. The decision to trade your girlfriend or boyfriend title for a “friends with benefits” status doesn’t have to end in a worse (second) breakup. Play it smart and have some fun!

Nah, don’t do it.

Sometimes it’s best to leave the past…in the past. If your sexual relationship with your former partner wasn’t all that great to begin with, you may not want to go back down that bumpy road. Also, messy breakups (especially from toxic exes) can require a clean break. Sleeping with the enemy possibly gives them an opportunity to continue to hurt you emotionally. Sexual healing with a person who wounded you might not be the best tactic.

It’s also totally okay to decide not to have sex—horny or not—because you don’t feel comfortable with your ex anymore. There’s a lot you can do during your dry spell to take care of yourself, in more ways than one.


P.S. Whether you decide that getting naked with an old lover is or isn’t something that’s right for you, don’t forget to stay on top of your birth control! And if an ex tries to pressure you to ditch your condom or preferred birth control method, ditch them and run the other way! Protecting yourself from both pregnancy and STIs is a vital part of self-care as you transition back to single life.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.