We've long been told that sex with an ex is a pretty bad idea: feelings get hurt, expectations get misconstrued and old wounds get reopened.
That said, you're not alone in wondering if the pros outweigh the cons. And, according to a new study, giving into this temptation (read: getting busy with a former flame) can actually help you heal post-breakup.
Researchers examined a group of 113 adults who had recently split up with their partners. Specifically, they analysed how their post break-up behaviour affected the time it took them to move on.
For a period of four weeks, researchers asked participants to keep a daily diary documenting their feelings and actions towards their ex-partners (including any contact made since calling it quits.) The participants then checked up on participants after two months and asked them how emotionally attached they still felt.
The results, you ask?
Surprisingly, those who’d done the deed reported a stronger connection to the person. But this didn't have any effect on their overall recovery. In fact, participants felt a surge in positive emotions following the act and even a sense of closure.
“Perhaps those who opt to pursue sex with an ex are less motivated to obtain closure regarding the breakup and thus do not experience conflict with goals for connection. For these individuals, satisfying connectedness goals by pursuing sexual activity with an ex-partner may be a globally positive experience," the authors explained.
And these findings weren't a once off. Even, UK sex expert Tracey Cox reckons that sleeping with an ex could be the key to closure.
“Sometimes we need to go back to move forward, and revisiting the sexual side of the relationship can sometimes make us see very clearly that we’ve idealised the relationship or feel much less pain than we thought," she said in an interview with Naked Divorce. "So there’s a sense of closure that can be helpful.”
So, does this mean we've found the answer to the post break-up blues?
Well not exactly. But, maybe we should reassess our feelings towards ex sex - and check ourselves before we judge others for doing it.