Why 'Ex Sex' Is Such A Bad Idea After Breakups

It's just not worth it.

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Most people need sex. But, "ex sex" — hooking up with an old flame — is such a bad idea, especially soon after a breakup.

Relationships are complicated, and breakups even more so. Believe it or not, having sex with your ex can make both even worse.

Obviously, breakups happen when there are issues in a relationship. They usually happen after a lot of hurt from both sides.

Letting go of each other, while painful, is often a necessary course of action.


Unfortunately, even after a breakup, people can still be attracted to each other. When they are, "ex sex" can happen.

But more often than not, having casual sex with your ex after a breakup just leads to more heartbreak.

RELATED: 13 Brutally Honest Reasons Guys Always End Up Trying To Get Back With The Ex


Here are 5 reasons why casual sex with your ex after a breakup is a terrible idea.

1. It gives mixed signals.

Breaking up with someone is always for a reason. You left, were left, or the decision was mutual. Whatever the reason, you broke up.

If you start having sex with your ex, it blurs the breakup lines.

If you did the leaving, why are you going back? Are you lonely, bored, horny, or are you going back because you regret your decision?

If you were left, does the sex with your ex give you hope that you might get back together? Does it make you happy because you get to spend some time with them? Or is it because if they're with you, they're not with someone else?


If the decision was mutual, does the ex sex feel confusing? You were a couple and attached romantically, but now you're having sex — not making love? How does that feel?

With few exceptions, being friends — much less, friends with benefits — only brings more pain. It confuses people and drags out hurt feelings.

Whether you did the breaking up or are broken up with, walk away. Move on. There's no point in wasting time in a physical relationship where the boundaries are blurred and can lead to more pain.

2. It creates fractured attachments.

Relationships involve sex and emotions. In a relationship, you're having sex — maybe even great sex! — but your heart is also involved. There's nothing more wonderful than making love to someone you care about.


Sex is different for everyone. For men, sex is often not much more than just a physical release.

I had a client who had sex with his soon-to-be ex-wife the night before their final therapy session. I asked him why. He said that he wouldn’t turn down any opportunity to have sex.

Meanwhile, the wife wanted the marriage to work — he didn't. He had sex with her, anyway.

I don’t know my client’s ex, but I'm guessing that when he came to the house and was interested in having sex with her, she believed that the sex could be a signal that he wanted to get back together.

But when he left and expressed no indication that he wanted a reunion in therapy the next day, she was likely more devastated than ever.


This couple who had been married for 30 years and shared four adult children were devasting each other beyond their divorce by continuing their sexual relationship.

3. You can’t move on.

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I would put myself out there and date after a breakup was because I was horny.

I hadn’t had sex for a while and was motivated to go through the whole dating thing in the hopes of meeting someone special and, well, getting laid.

If I had been having ex sex, I would have been receiving what I needed physically, but might not have been motivated to go out there and find something real.

If you didn’t want the relationship to end, continuing to have sex with someone who doesn’t want you will only prevent you from letting them go and moving on, so that you can be happy.


Sex with your ex can keep you from finding a future love. Is it worth it?

RELATED: 6 Obvious Signs Your Ex Wants You Back

4. The recurring issues won't go away.

You broke up for one or many reasons. You're no longer a couple because you just weren’t right for each other.

Unfortunately, staying intimate with your ex can only lead to those issues being raised over and over, hashed out again with no change. Feelings will be hurt again and again.

I've had sex with an ex before, and while it was fun, I know that the behaviors that I didn’t like about my ex were still there — like the fact that he would disappear on Sundays or always sent terse texts.


When we had sex, those things bugged me more than ever, because I wasn’t as emotionally involved.

So, I would snap, he would get defensive, and I would more likely than not storm out angry, promising myself that I would never do this again.

And then one week later after a call from him, there I would be: Naked in bed, no longer horny, but definitely irritated.

Lay those issues to rest. Move on.

5. You lose self-respect.

For many people, ex sex can lead to dramatically decreased self-esteem, especially if one person did the leaving.

I know that when I hooked up with a guy I wished I was still with — a guy who basically ignored me until he was horny — I always felt worse afterwards.


I would be so excited in the anticipation, but then when it was over, I was devastated. I knew I was being used and I was embarrassed by my weakness.

After a few months of this, my self-esteem was in the toilet.

Ex sex can absolutely happen with couples whose breakups were amicable. They enjoy getting together, but know that they're doing so without a future.


They know that it’s holding them back from moving on and finding happiness. They know that while the sex might be great, they are with a person they really don’t want to be with.

So, pay attention to your self-esteem — having sex with an ex is not as great as you would like it to be in the long run.

Having ex sex is a bad idea because relationships and breakups are complicated.

Involving sex in the equation only makes things worse.

If you're having sex with your ex, think about the red flags and signals you're getting.

Are you both on the same page about what the sex means? Is it keeping you attached in a negative way and preventing you from moving on? Is it bringing up recurring issues and damaging your self-esteem?


Taking a good look at your relationship with your ex and the effect that sex has on you and your ex will help you see that hooking up after a breakup is more often than not a horrible idea.

RELATED: 5 Things You Need To Accept In Order To Stop Thinking About Someone

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com and get started!