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Sex with an ex is common post-breakup

Plus, an expert tells us why revisiting romance is a terrible idea.

By Kristin Wong Jan 23, 2013 4:41PM

For many young adults, "ex sex" is just part of the breakup process. At least that's what a new study from Lucas County, Ohio has found.

Researchers collected data on 792 "emerging adults" between the ages of 17 to 24. All had been in a relationship in the past two years, and the study authors found that nearly half (44 percent) had hooked up with an ex post-breakup.

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Researchers and relationship experts agree—post-breakup sex is a bad idea. In an article in the Journal of Adolescent Research, the study's authors wrote:

"Those who stay in contact following a breakup continue to feel the pain of the breakup more intensely and may have more difficulty moving on. Previous research found that college students who had sex with their exes mostly described this as a 'difficult or negative event.'"

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Dating expert Shay "Your Date Diva" Williams agrees. She's a certified dating and relationship coach and has written extensively on the topic of "ex sex." She tells The Heart Beat that young adults may be more likely to hop in the sack with an ex for three reasons:
"Most times it is their first time at love or really bonding with another, and it is hard to break away from those strong attachments."

Second, they lack the experience to realize that "sex with the ex is a dead end street that leads to more pain and heartache." And finally, it’s a familiar and comfortable way to find sexual satisfaction. For young ladies, this may be especially appealing, as they can avoid the stigma of increasing their "sexual number," Williams explains.

Aside from the obvious issue of prolonged heartbreak, Williams says there are a variety of reasons why ex sex is an awful idea.

"My favorite saying is that 'if the paint was wet when you got up, it will be still wet when you try to sit back down!'  There is a reason why the relationship ended. Introducing sex into a situation with no boundaries leaves everyone emotionally vulnerable and unable to fully let go and trust each other.  This leads to a downhill spiral of dysfunction in the relationship as it removes any motivation for the male to win back the affections of his ex.  Sex with the ex is self-torture at it's best." 

If youth is wasted on the young, then so is precautionary advice. We've all lived through a time when "do now, think later" was our main mantra.  So what if you've already revisited romance and are now dealing with the repressions?

"The only way to start clearing your system of the surge of this hormone is to cut one's self off cold turkey," Williams tells us.  "It will hurt at first but with time, a growing self-love and determination, you will wonder what you ever saw in the ex in the first place."

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More from The Heart Beat: 
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Photo: Assembly/Getty Images

82Comments
Jan 23, 2013 5:51PM
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Of course, sex is easy when you've trained them right. They know which way to roll, when you smack them on the @$$.
Jan 23, 2013 5:43PM
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Christians dont be misled by the media. Sex with a person youve divorced is wrong. Period. 
Jan 23, 2013 5:39PM
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I have seen it MANY times, two people are together and everything goes great and then they get married and it all blows up. Many times its better to just stay single and have that special partner.
Jan 23, 2013 5:38PM
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Haha of course the study was done in my county. They probably just polled the students at the local university. Easy to see why the number is so high, us college kids don't give a care.
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