There's no one hard and fast rule for successfully getting through a breakup. Some people believe in a good rebound. Some people believe in taking some time to focus on themselves. Some people believe in cutting their exes out of their lives entirely. Some people are cool with staying friends. But pretty much everyone can agree on one rule and one rule only: Do not, under any circumstances, hook up with your ex. But why? Is having sex with your ex unhealthy or are we all just being dramatic here?
According to a new study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, boinking your ex may not be as big of a deal as most of us assumed. In fact, the researchers found that breakup sex didn't actually have any real effect in terms of whether or not people moved on from their exes. No, seriously. According to Stephanie Spielmann, the study's lead author from Wayne State University, even if you're still into your ex, sleeping with them after the breakup will have no effect on whether or not you're able to move on.
Spielmann and her team came up with their findings by conducting two different studies. One study started off by analyzing the daily experiences of 113 participants who had recently gone through a breakup. Then they checked back in again two months later by having the same participants fill out another online survey. In this second survey, the researchers looked into everything and anything related to the participants' current relationships with their exes. Had they shared any sort of physical contact with them? Were they still emotionally attached — even a little bit? How were they feeling about them before they went to bed every night?
In the second study, 372 participants were asked to share any sort of actual and attempted sexual contact with their exes. Additionally, they were also asked to report whether or not they felt emotionally tied to their exes.
Based on the findings from both studies, the researchers were able to conclude that people who pursued sex with their exes had no impact on how they recovered from the breakup. Like, at all. Pursuing sex with an ex had no effect on how the participants felt about their exes on a daily basis and they also had no effect on how they felt over the course of two months. Seriously, people. It did literally nothing.
Oh, and just to be clear, most of the participants who pursued sex with their exes wound up having sex with their partners. Either way, whether they actually did the deed or not, the getting-over-the-breakup process was in no way, shape or form affected.
I know what we're all thinking here. But what if you still have feelings for your ex? Wouldn't sleeping with them just leave you feeling sad and alone? Nope! In fact, the study found that the people who were pursuing sex with their exes were most often the ones who were not over their exes (shocker). But they also found that having sex with their exes didn't make them feel upset at all. No, instead, it actually left them feeling happier on a daily basis.
"This research suggests that societal handwringing regarding trying to have sex with an ex may not be warranted," Spielmann tells EurekAlert!. "The fact that sex with an ex is found to be most eagerly pursued by those having difficulty moving on, suggests that we should perhaps instead more critically evaluate people's motivations behind pursuing sex with an ex."
So... um, go ahead and sleep with your ex, I guess.
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