Sex With an Ex

Sarah Irby, Editor in Chief~

Sex with an ex: What a conflicting statement, am I right? Your initial thought is probably something along the lines of “Oh God, no, I would never do that,” but are you sure? It’s a real complex situation, and one that I think some people benefit from, while others don’t; or, the same person could benefit from it at one point in their life and not at another time. It’s all about timing, motive and mutual understanding, at least in my opinion.

Let me use my own personal experience as a fun example. During my freshman year in college, my long-term boyfriend and I broke up once again, which trust me, if you knew us, wasn’t unusual. We were at separate colleges, but at some point I guess we had the idea that we could still sleep together, even though he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. So we did. Whatever. The pro from this experience was that we ended up having way better sex than when we had been in a relationship, and that’s something we both agreed on. This went on for awhile, and at some point we wondered what exactly we were doing. Eventually, though, we got back together (which, again, wasn’t unusual for us).

That’s a situation that I had all but forgotten until I started thinking about writing on this specific topic. Originally, I was going to take the side that sleeping with your ex can only lead to bad things and regret, until I remembered freshman year and realized I had to argue on both sides. The next experience is why I am of the opinion that boinking with your ex isn’t the smartest move, and depending on who reads this column, I may be stirring the pot a bit. Sorry not sorry.

good idea-

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Less than a month into sophomore year, my boyfriend and I broke up again, but this time would be the last time. He found someone more suited to him. I was devastated and very, very angry. But then, not even two months after we broke up and only about three days before he ended up asking the other person to be his girlfriend, we slept together again. Big mistake there. I had underlying hopes that it would reconcile something or that he would decide he wanted to be with me again. That was obviously not the case, and in the end I just looked pitiful.

Unfortunately, we were both intoxicated and the act itself was pretty absurd. His eyes made it clear he only cared about my body and definitely not me. And in the middle of it all, he had the audacity to ask, “Did you miss me” in the same tone that someone would say, “You like that?” I was simultaneously stunned and shattered, and it’s a miracle I didn’t burst into tears right there. When it was all said and done, I stood there looking desperate while he walked out the door satisfied. For days afterward, all I could feel was a persistent knot in my stomach and a deep self-loathing. I cried and cried, and couldn’t believe that I had let myself stoop so low – that I could actually be so stupid. This is no exaggeration. I was so severely hurt and ashamed of myself that I became physically ill. That’s when I decided never again. I couldn’t do this to myself or let anyone ever make me feel so low.
I said timing, motive and mutual understanding dictates how you navigate a situation like this, and I stand by that. If you’re trying to sleep with your ex for wrong or unhealthy reasons, steer clear. But if the two of you are genuinely on good terms (and he isn’t in a relationship), then why not? As long as there is an understanding that it is what it is and nothing else, then live a little. Being with an ex can be fun and relaxing; there is a lot of pressure taken of your shoulders to be a certain way, because that person already knows you, and they know your body as well, which makes it even better. If you start catching feelings again, things begin to feel sour or you just somehow know that it’s time to move on, then do just that. Whatever path you decide to follow in your sexual life, just make sure it is healthy for you, and that includes emotionally. You don’t want to be left a wreck, feeling sh*tty about your regrets.