Is Ex-Sex Good or Bad?
Q: I have been divorced for over a year now. My ex and I had sex on two occasions recently, but the last time I saw her she informed me she did not feel it was appropriate for divorced people to have sex. She was the one who initiated the first encounter since she was in the mood. I would like to continue to have sex with her since neither of us are in a relationship. I was wondering how common it is for divorced couples to have Ex-sex. Are there stats on this issue? -- Mack, 37
Dr. Susan: I'm not aware of any studies on divorced couples who still sleep together, but it certainly does occur. That doesn't mean it's a great idea. Let me suggest six reasons you might want to avoid it, Mack: (1) If you couldn't work out staying married, you probably won't be able to steer clear of the minefields of continuing to be physically intimate when divorced; (2) When either one of you has sex with anyone else, you'll be exposing your ex to the risk of disease; (3) It's way too easy to mistake sexual compatibility with something more, so that if you're having a good time in bed, one of you may want a more complete relationship and if the other is unwilling, feelings will get hurt; (4) Having a ready and willing partner, with no strings attached, may keep one or both of you from moving on with your lives and seeking out a more appropriate partner where a future is possible; (5) If you do find a new partner, the fact that you're still having relations with your ex is likely to make the new partner jealous and sour her on your trustworthiness and ethical sense; (6) When one of you isn't completely thrilled with the divorce, post-divorce sex can give that person unrealistic hopes of reconnecting; (7) Exploitation is a real risk, particularly when one partner feels ex-sex is wrong or inappropriate, as your ex does, and the other somehow urges her into it.
I think you get the point, Mack. It's just a bad idea. Bad, bad, bad.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.