“Is this a bad idea?”

It’s a thought you've probably had before, locking eyes with an ex and knowing what’s going to happen next. And you’ve probably quickly followed that thought with, “Yes, it’s a freaking terrible idea — and I’m going to do it anyway.”

Sex with an ex is a rite of passage for many of us. We do it, we love it or we regret it, then we forgot how much it messed with our heads and do it again with the next one...and the one after that. Seriously, if you’ve ever managed a proper clean break you’re a stronger person than I am. Pretty much everyone I know has returned to a terrible idea an extra time or two, just to make sure. In fact, maybe you have an ex you’re contemplating sexing right now. Should you do it?

Well, maybe. The key to potentially regrettable sex is understanding what’s potentially regrettable about it. If you know what it could turn into (or not into it), you can make an informed choice.

So here are the types of ex sex we’ve all had, because it's almost certainly going to be ones of these types, from hilarious hijinks to angsty regret.

1. The “this is my first partner so it takes us 40 years to actually break up" kind 

They say the first cut is the deepest, but that's probably because most of us go through the first breakup 10 million times, just to really make sure we’re really, really ready to let go. Getting rid of your first partner can be a lengthy experience because you can’t imagine that you’ll ever feel this way again (spoiler alert: you will). But if it’s your first partner and you find that you’re meeting up, having sex, and getting together, again and again, you’re not alone.

 

2. The “just for fun” kind 

Sometimes, an ex makes the best fuck buddy. You know what the other person likes, you know what works, and there’s an intimacy that can be nice from a fuck buddy. It can be funny, weird, and really joyful. This is the best kind of ex sex you can find — as long as you both really want it to just be fun. Or else...

3. The “I really hope we get back together (and we don’t)” kind 

Yup, the ultimate ex sex angst. Sometimes you act as though you want something casual — and maybe even convince yourself that you do — when in reality you’re hoping you get back together. It's a mistake so many of us have made. It hurts like hell and, if you drag it on long enough, it will just keep hurting like hell every step of the way. Let yourself off the hook before it’s too late.


4. The “I really hope we get back together (and we do)” kind 

Of course, sometimes it works. It’s rare, but sometimes what starts out as just a random ex sex moment actually turns into a rekindling. People do get back together and that can be a really great thing. But remember, getting back with an ex only works if you’re willing to put up with what went wrong before. Don’t just get back together because you’re drunk on post-sex oxytocin. Sex is a powerful tool, but it won’t hold your relationship together.

5. The “drunk dial” kind 

Short. Messy. Awkward. You both normally wonder, “What does this mean?” before remembering that it happened after 3 am and 45 tequilas. Let this one die — just die. It’s a mistake that we’ve all made, but if you can get out before thing get too weird, all the better.


6. The “I’m home for the holidays” kind 

Oh, the small town kids returning home for the holidays. Those of us who didn’t grow up in major cities — and even those of us who did — often get bored and horny when we’re stuck at home away from all of our new friends. You wouldn't be the first person to turn to an ex from your hometown — and as long you both understand it’s just boredom and loneliness, then it can be a pretty decent way to keep warm.

7. The “this is definitely a mistake but just to be sure" kind 

Probably the king of all ex sex, sometimes you know it’s wrong but you want to do it one more time — just once. Call it hope or nostalgia, but you meet up to exchange things or talk about what happened and you end up doing it one last time, for old time’s sake. As long as you both know that the relationship is over, think of it as a lovely keepsake to take forward on your romantic and sexual travels. 

Should you have sex with an ex? As long as you're realistic about what it is, sure. It can be amazing fun or it can be a good way to say goodbye. But if you're doing it to try to rekindle something that isn't there, then do your best to save yourself some heartbreak and move along. Finding a new fuck buddy will be a much better way to mend a broken heart.

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