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love out loud: ex does not hit the spot

Many moons ago, I took pride in never having had sex with an ex-boyfriend. My badge of honour was in vain, however, as up until 2009, I’d never actually had much desire to do the horizontal dance of danger with someone I was no longer seeing. When you don’t want to do something, it’s not that hard to just not do it.

I’ve since had sex with two people post-break up. The first time was with Bono; I missed him and I wanted him to realise what a sexy temptress I was and that he should’ve been a jerk. Unfortunately, I was more drunk than seductive, and afterwards he emotionlessly said he hoped I got what I was looking for, as I pulled my tights back on. I felt like shit.

The second was Bon Jovi, for reasons that are less clear. He’d been a shit boyfriend, though not a shit guy, but even when I had realised that I actually had made the right decision in ending it, I went “there” again anyway. I suppose I likewise missed him, though this promptly ended when he came back to my place and blamed me the morning after for his friend having felt awkward sleeping in the room next door to my bedroom. Ah yes, because women are responsible for not only their own decision to have sex, but also those of the men around them, as men can’t be expected to make considered or rational choices when sex is available; I keep forgetting that.

My experiences with ex sex have been, on the whole, incredibly disappointing, though I’m led to believe that others’ have been markedly better. Some of my friends have said that it’s the best sex they’ve ever had because they’ve felt less inhibited, or free to be selfish in bed. Some find it sadly satisfying (kind of like listening to ‘Wonderwall’ on repeat), while others insist it’s their way of getting closure. Others still indulge in it because they’re, well, lazy. There are a lot of reasons you may have broken up, but there’s a good chance you can overlook those (especially after a few drinks) for a night of easy lovin’ with someone who already knows whether you like your button pressed, circled or tickled. It’s a whole lot less hassle than having to bet on meeting someone who you’ll be sexually/emotionally/whatever compatible with.

My good friend, Lily, had sex with an ex just a couple of weeks ago. Though their break-up was a while ago, it’s one of those frustrating situations where they really could still be together, except that he doesn’t feel he can give her what she deserves due to rather longstanding feelings of inadequacy. But sleeping with him hasn’t been the setback that might be expected.

‘I’m feeling very positive about it to be honest,’ she said. ‘[But it] depends what day you ask me. Sometimes it’s good, because it tells me it’s time to move on and sometimes it makes me sad because if he wasn’t so scared I think we would be very happy.

‘It showed me that I still loved him but also made me realise that he’s never going to be able to give me what I want.’

Obviously there are heaps of reasons people have sex with their ex-partners, and not all of them are going to prompt volatile feelings in one or both parties. Sex with an ex can be gratifying in a bunch of different ways, but whatever the motive for doing it, it does (as a general rule) stop you from moving on. Granted, this may not be important to you at a particular time, but it’s worth treading carefully if you’re considering having sex with an ex.

The fictional yet brilliant Samantha Jones said, ‘If it’s good, you can’t get it anymore, if it’s bad, you just had sex with an ex.’ I’m inclined to agree.

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