Play by these rules for a super-hot blast from the past.
By: Korin Miller
Hooking up with your ex is like passing by your neighborhood Starbucks: It’s there and it’s familiar, so why wouldn’t you pop in for a little something hot?
On the other hand, it’s kind of a potential minefield. There are feelings to consider, and oh yeah, the fact that you broke up might be a good reason to stay away.
Still, licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, says there can be perks to sex with an ex. “It’s familiar, and you know what works, so it may be satisfying,” she says. “And if you have not had other partners since your breakup and you knew each other’s sexual health status before, it may be more safe than hooking up with a stranger.”
Of course, you should proceed with caution before jumping into anything with an ex, but hopping into a sexual time machine can be fun.
Durvasula offers up a few tips on making sex with an ex work...plus a few things you probably want to avoid:
1. Manage your expectations and his
This is just about sex, nothing more, says Durvasula, so you need to keep it real with your ex.
You can make that clear by saying something like, "We may not be right for a relationship, but I am still attracted to you and would love to share that part of our relationship again." (Of course, he might still want something more, in which case you’ll want to shut it down.)
Be honest with yourself about your goal, too: Are you looking for a little release, or are you trying to actually recreate something? If it’s the latter, do not pass go.
2. Be safe
Maybe you didn’t regularly use a condom when you were together, but he could have hooked up with others between your break up and now.
“The fact is, unless he has a set of clean test results in front of him, this isn't about hurt feelings or ego, this is about health,” says Durvasula. If your ex is offended and won’t wrap it up, don’t sleep with him. Sacrificing your health isn’t worth one night of nostalgic sex.
3. Remind yourself why you broke up
Because you so don’t want to go there again. Durvasula says it’s important to take time to think about why things didn’t work out before you do anything physical: “Once you've done it, there's no going back.”
1. Fall back into old communications patterns
Talking and texting regularly are big no-nos. Even if you perfectly set the stage, your ex might still reach out afterward. “That's the risk you take," says Durvasula.
If he does, tell him you’re still attracted to him and that you’re grateful he’s been in your life...but that you broke up for a reason.
2. Talk about things from the past that upset you or hurt you
This hookup is not for fixing what went down before. If the past comes up, gently cut off the conversation and say you don’t want to go there again. “Don't snap, don't cut him off, and don’t yell," says Durvasula. "But also don't engage it, and gently put it down.”
3. Be self-deprecating
Making jokes about your mismatched underwear or that your thighs are bigger now than they were when he last saw you naked achieves nothing. You’ve got him where you want him—so own it.
4. Chat about new people you’ve been with
It’s tempting to let your ex know how wanted you are, but nobody wants to hear that when sex is on the table, says Durvasula.
5. Expect to ever hear from him afterward
Sure, it’s just good manners and he might reach out to tell you he had fun. But it’s best to treat this as a hookup that may never happen again.
If you start to miss him, talk to friends who were around for the first breakup. “They will be more than happy to remind you of the issues from the first time,” says Durvasula. She also recommends distracting yourself with fun activities, like going out with friends. “A breakup is hard enough," he says. "Replaying it a second time is like watching a bad movie twice."
The bottom line: Sex with an ex isn’t for everyone. But if you’re both down and have zero expectations for any future relationship, then why the hell not?
This article was originally published at Women's Health. Reprinted with permission from the author.