If you’re human and believe in building romantic relationships with other people, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced heartbreak at some point in your life. As someone who is currently flailing in the throes of a split, I can affirmatively say that breakups are the worst, and sometimes the best, depending on the dynamics of the relationship and the reasons for its ending. But the real question is, when should you get back into the sack? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, but there are some things to be aware of as you venture in between the sheets with that next le petit ami. Let’s see when it’s the right or wrong time to engage in rebound sex.
When is the right or wrong time to romp with your next petit ami
The Right Time: Whenever You Say So!
It feels prudent to begin with personal empowerment. There are no fatal choices, and if you feel like some rebound sex is what you need, do that. Sure, it might lead to slower healing. Yes, it’s possible that you won’t enjoy the experience. Maybe, it’ll be the best idea ever, and you’ll feel great after (we’re all hoping for this one, I think). And definitely, this decision is 100% up to you. Whether you are two weeks or two months post-breakup, only you get to decide what you want to do with your body.
The Wrong Time: Revenge Sex
Gosh, that sounds terrifying. After a breakup, especially if you weren’t the one who ended the relationship, it’s possible to experience anger and frustration. Some people partake in “revenge” sex because they want to get back at their ex somehow. While these feelings of anger are normal, they are often a cover-up for sadness, grief, and disappointment. Sometimes, in this scenario, it’s best to work through your feelings first, so you aren’t swimming in regret later. Although slipping between the sheets with a stranger does have its benefits.
The Right Time: When You're Feeling Your Feels And Ready To Reclaim Your Sexuality
There’s technically no “right” time to hop into bed with someone. Only you can be the judge of that. One way to tell if you’re ready for some sweet lovin’ (ideally without strings attached) is if you are allowing yourself to feel your feelings about the breakup. Sometimes rebound sex is a great distraction, but you don’t want it to take the place of actually working through your feelings and allowing yourself to be a real-life, sad human for a minute. If you are processing your breakup (talking to friends, self-reflection, moving forward little by little), and you want some of that healing touch, do it.
The Wrong Time: When You Can't Communicate Clearly
Communication is critical in relationships, even with random, consensual hookups (or consistent rebound sex with a friend). If you aren’t ready for a relationship and only interested in the feel-good hormones of knocking boots with someone, that’s completely ok. But be upfront about it. This will help eliminate any confusion down the line about expectations and intentions. If you can’t bring up your ex without breaking down in tears, that also might be a clue that you should wait a little bit longer.
Benefits Of Rebound Sex
While breakups can be hard, rebound sex does have some potential real-time benefits.
- It has the power to help you cope with a breakup depending on your intentions for having rebound sex.
- During sex, your body is flooded with endorphins and all the feel-good hormones that can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- The act of sex itself has been linked to general well-being.
- Heartbreak can light up the part of your brain associated with physical pain. Sex has shown to reduce chronic pain in the body, and might also offer some temporary healing balm for the physical pain you might be feeling after ending a relationship.
While the pros of rebound sex are pretty enticing, it would be prudent to share the potential pitfalls of hopping in the sack before you’re sufficiently ready for it.
Pitfalls Of Rebound Sex
The pitfalls of rebound sex may be obvious, but in the throes of the moment, it’s easy to gloss over the hard stuff and just move with the flow of your bodies. Sometimes this is ok, but let’s look at the circumstances when rebound sex might not be the best option for someone getting over a breakup.
- If you get attached easily, falling into bed with someone else before the heartbreak has worn off could lead to expectations and more heartbreak before you’re ready to bear it.
- You could be riddled with regret, shame, or guilt after the romp, adding to the emotions that you’ll have to process after the fact.
- It could be an attempt to distract yourself from processing your breakup. Eventually, that stuff will come up, so it’s best to do it intentionally versus being blindsided by it at an inopportune time (such as in the middle of a makeout sesh).
While the pitfalls can be intimidated, especially with your current level of vulnerability, there’s no universal guidebook for the do’s and don’t’s of having sex. What matters is that you tune in with yourself and see what your intuition is saying. If your intuition is confused, that’s ok. I repeat: there are no fatal choices. We just move with each choice as we make it, constantly re-calibrating to what life throws our way.
Words Of Wisdom From The Recently Broken-Hearted
Rebound sex can be exciting. Sometimes it’s precisely what you needed to get over that last little hump of moving forward. As you venture through this uncharted territory, here are a few bits of wisdom to keep in your back pocket.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Know that grief isn’t linear. Sometimes you’ll be fine. Sometimes you won’t. Just keep going.
- Sometimes a steamy session is all you need to keep healing, letting that physical touch soothe your wounds, and then continuing on loving yourself.
- Stay safe! Use barrier methods like a condom. Talk about STIs. Communicate exactly what you’re after. This can help alleviate any fears or uncertainty before banging your rebound partner.
- Know that it’s ok to have rebound sex without any intention of being in a committed relationship with the person (or even seeing them again). Having a discussion upfront can eliminate any confusion about everyone’s intentions.
- Celebrate the small wins. If you feel good in the moment, enjoy it!
- Take this time to explore new parts of yourself. As cliche as it is, every ending is a new beginning.
Breakups are hard. They can feel like someone has died, leaving a gaping hole in your life, daily routines, and future plans. There is no right or wrong time to romp with your next le petit ami. That’s all up to you, where you’re at in the healing process, and what you want to do in the moment. If you want to distract yourself from the pain for a second, do your thing. Orgasms are a great way to ease some of the tension you’re feeling in your body. And, who knows, you might find that orgasm is just what you needed to remove those emotional hurdles (like anger) and allow the feelings to flow.