HOT SEX y— with our ex
Should you go there?
The sheets feel comfortingly familiar and, oh look, he still hasn’t fixed that crack in the ceiling. You squeeze in closer, inhaling his familiar smell (wait, is that a new shampoo?) then yes, yes, there it is – your guaranteed orgasm. An ex can be a pleasant, umm… filler until something – or someone – better comes along. Like a sex drive-thru, if you will. “I’ll have the usual, please, with a side of foreplay. And let’s upsize the orgasms.” Afterwards, you pick up your emotional baggage from where you left it outside the bedroom door last night (along with your coat and shoes) and carry on with life. Ah, the perfect ex-sex fantasy.
The problem is it rarely goes down that beautifully. Charlotte, a 29-year-old fashion stylist, went back to her ex again and again… and again. “I went back to the same ex for FIVE years. Every time I bumped into him, we would end up in bed. Looking back, I’m not proud, but I was besotted. He would have been kinder to let me go and get over him but instead it prolonged the heartbreak.”
When An Ex Texts
The enticing ping of a booty-call text from an ex can elicit a fraught battle of head versus heart. Or mind over muff, if you prefer. You know you shouldn’t, but he does this really great thing with his tongue… Do you A) ignore the text and block him; B) send a flirty-but-firm ‘No, thanks’; or C) reply with a cheeky sext?
Yvonne K Fulbright, psychologist and author of Sex with Your Ex: And 69 Other Things You Should Never Do Again… Plus a Few You Should, says you should go with A. And yet, so many have opted for some variation of option C. Sure, for some, it’s nothing more than a harmless bit of fun while on the lookout for a new partner. But there are plenty of us out there who hope that getting it on with the ex will reignite a past relationship. And we can all guess how often that works out. “A lot of women think they can have no-strings sex but end up emotionally invested,” Fulbright explains.
A Chemical Risk
So why is it that while some women can compartmentalise their emotions when it comes to sex, many can’t? Well, it seems to come down to biology. This may be in part because dopamine – a
“A lot of women think they can have no-strings sex but end up invested.”
chemical in the brain that’s involved in experiencing pleasure – drops off drastically after orgasm in men, but lingers longer in women. Another chemical, oxytocin, is also released during sex, and this one creates a bond that could leave you feeling attached to your old flame.
But it’s not always the guy who sees it as sex-and-nothing-more. “I invited my ex to my 21st because we’d remained friends,” confesses 25-yearold trainee lawyer Sara. “At the end of the night, I figured I ought to have sex with him for old times’ sake. Trouble was, he assumed it meant we were back together. I had to dump him all over again a few weeks later.”
All In The Timing
As a general rule, ‘Sex With An Ex’ should be filed with ‘Sex With A Married Dude’ and ‘Sex With Your Best Mate’s Boy’ under ‘Things Not To Do’. As Fulbright says, “If one of you still has feelings, it will always lead to heartbreak. One of you will eventually move on and nobody wants to be the one who gets rejected.” However, there is an exception to every rule, and ex sex doesn’t have to lead to emotional carnage. “My ex, Stuart, popped up randomly on my Facebook feed eight years after we’d split,” says 29-year-old social media manager Karen. “We hooked up, realised we’d both grown up and guess what? We still fancied the pants off each other. Now we’re getting married next year!” But can it really be that easy? “Timing is key,” explains Fulbright. “As long as the reasons you split in the first place are dealt with, revisiting an ex can work. There is such a thing as ‘right person, wrong time.’” So if you’re currently agonising over whether to go back for a replay, you’ve got to be real with yourself. If you only split three weeks ago and your best mate had to hammer down your door, wash the melted chocolate from your hair, and force you blinkingly into the world just to get you out of the house, you might not be over him – and a shagfor-fun may just send you back into the Cadbury hole. But if you’re ticking along quite nicely, thanks very much, and just bored on a Friday night then, frankly, you’re going to do it anyway. And why not? YOLO and all that.