Many people have rebound sex to help them get over the pain of a recent breakup. There’s even a saying for this: “The best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody else.”
People have rebound sex for two main reasons: one is to soothe themselves and feel desirable when they are feeling lonely and vulnerable, and the other is to get back at the ex. Some people do it for both reasons.
Rebound sex applies mainly to when someone you loved has dumped you. Here’s why: When you’re in love, your brain behaves the same way it would as if you were addicted to a substance, such as cocaine. You have feelings of craving when in love and then withdrawal when that love ends. Your craving for your addiction heightens when you are in withdrawal, so you actively seek a new lover to get your fix.
Rebound sex can be a helpful tool to get you through a difficult breakup, and we’ll discuss how to do that soon. But first, it’s important to understand what rebound sex is and is not to prevent you from entering a never-ending cycle of intense relationships that don’t last.
A CLASSIC EXAMPLE
The longer you have been in a relationship the more difficult it is to get over the breakup. A common reaction is to get out there as soon as possible to find another lover. But if you’re not careful, you’re likely to get into another intense relationship with no time between the two.
Spending some time to sort out what went wrong with your first relationship is crucial for your personal growth and to help you get into a better relationship when the time is right.
FIGURE YOURSELF OUT
Understand that being alone is better than being in a bad relationship. You can use your alone time to figure out who you are and what type of person suits you best so that you’ll have a relationship that is more likely to work the next time around. A relationship based on rebound sex is unlikely to provide anything sustainable because many women seek them out solely to make themselves feel better, not because they are crazy about their rebound sex buddy.
THE RIGHT GOAL
Form everything I’m saying, you might get the idea that rebound sex is all bad or a wrong choice. It’s not.
Rebound sex can work for you if you understand what it’s for and if your goal is that it helps you through a tough time. It’s usually unwise to actively seek out a new relationship immediately after a breakup. And to be fair, you need to communicate your intentions to your rebound sex partner. If he’s OK with having rebound sex with you, knowing that your goal is not a long-term relationship, it could work out well.
WHAT SCIENCE SAYS
Researchers have studied the concept of rebound sex and published their findings in Archives of Sexual Behavior. They found that the distress you experience after a breakup is lowest after about 25 to 28 weeks. So give yourself around five or six months before you even think about forming a new relationship. Meanwhile, you can use rebound sex to get over it in the short term.
WHO TO HAVE IT WITH?
You have three options regarding whom to having rebound sex with: your ex, with a new partner or with a previous ex.
The study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 54 percent of rebound sex occurs with a previous ex, 26 percent occurs with a new partner and 20 percent occurs with the ex. If you have sex with your ex right after he broke up with you, it’s not really rebound sex, and it probably isn’t a good idea, unless you are up for heartbreak.
Many people feel most comfortable with a previous ex. If his number is still in your contact list, you might want to use it. If not, of the 26 percent of new partner rebound sex, 20 percent of that was of the one-night-stand variety. As long as the sex is safe and consensual, go for it with whoever you like. Just remember, the main reason you should be having it is to make yourself feel better, which brings us to the next point.
WHY HAVE IT?
Having sex because you’re in love with someone isn’t the only time you can have it. If you can separate love from sex, rebound sex can help you get through a breakup. You’ll feel wanted, at least in a physical way. And this form of self-help is more positive than eating a half-gallon of ice cream, downing a bottle of Vodka or boring your friends to death with your incessant tales of woe.
Although the hugging and comforting you might experience with rebound sex might feel real, remember what it is — a tool to help you move on with your life. There’s no doubt that touching and sexual release makes you feel good, so understand that’s the reason for having rebound sex.
Here’s another benefit of having rebound sex: you can have better sex. Sometimes when people are in a long-term relationship, the sex can get routine, and people might feel funny or awkward about trying new things. All that’s off the table when you have rebound sex with someone new. Now’s the time to act out your secret fantasies. Rebound sex can be wildly exciting because it’s different.
HOW TO FIND REBOUND SEX
If you decide to have rebound sex, pick someone you’re physically attracted to, one you have sexual chemistry with. Otherwise, you might not enjoy the sex, and that will only make you feel worse. You might ask your friends to introduce you to someone. Or you can join a dating site, turn Tinder back on, or ask someone you know out for a drink.
It’s also a good idea to be somewhat discreet about what you are doing. You don’t want to flaunt your rebound sex too much because some people, such as your grandma, might get the wrong idea!
Although rebound sex can be filled with a variety of one-night-stands, it can also be a short-term relationship you have with one person. Remember the key words here are “short-term relationship.” If you are the type of person to immediately want to enter a relationship with your rebound sex partner, rebound sex might not be for you.
You are suffering from a broken heart, after all, and you might be too emotionally weak not to fall into your old pattern.
Although rebound sex can help you get through a tough breakup, understand that you will still go through a grieving process from the breakup and might be somewhat depressed or just bummed out for a while. You might notice little things are missing, such as not getting those lunchtime texts from him anymore. Even with rebound sex, you still might experience loneliness and emptiness.
So here’s the bottom line: Rebound sex will provide you with a temporary distraction. And that’s a good thing. But it isn’t a cure-all. Once you understand what rebound sex can and cannot do, you are in the right mindset for having it.
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