This post was originally published on my Lusty Vegan column on iEatGrass.
You all know the scenario: you wake up, head pounding, the tequila from last night still talking, to look around and notice you’re in a bedroom that’s a bit too familiar. Dammit. You had sex with your ex. Also known as recycling, sex with your ex is probably the second most popular kind of non-committed hook-up, after the one night stand.
Aside from the drunken picture I painted above, why do people get down with someone they’ve already broken up with? There are a plethora of reasons people return to the beds of old flames…here are a few.
Loneliness – You’re lonely. Maybe you just broke up with someone (else). Maybe it’s winter—cuffing season! Maybe it’s Tuesday. (Who doesn’t like sex on a Tuesday?). Regardless, you’re lonely, and you start scrolling through your contacts, or reminiscing on old times, and before you know it, you’re playing Text An Ex. Don’t do it! Everyone loses in that game.
Convenience – You want to have sex, and you’re too lazy to go out and try to pick up someone new. Maybe you have an ex that lives around the corner. Minimum effort, maximum results. Like ordering a pizza. Both will probably make you feel like shit in the morning.
Keeps your “numbers” down – Gender stereotypes tell me this is only a woman’s issue. I have heard numerous friends say they recycle because they want to hook up and don’t want to add numbers to their roster. Throw your roster away! As long as you’re being safe, there is no reason to keep track of your sexual partners. And whatever you do, DON’T make an alphabetized list of them and leave it around for your girlfriend to stumble upon.
A safe space – Maybe you’re not concerned with your number of sexual partners, but you ARE concerned with chlamydia. Many people go back to an ex for a free frisk because they feel it’s “safer,” than a bar rando. Even if you didn’t use protection when you were in the relationship, always always always use a rubber when recycling. Who knows where their bits have been brewing since you’ve been apart?!
High quality. In my experience, this is usually why I have gone back to hook up with an oldie but goodie. They know your body, they know what you like, and you don’t have to feel self conscious like you may with a new partner. Regardless of why the relationship sunk, you had awesome sex, and you would like some more please. Unless you’re desperate, the sex must have been pretty good, because no one goes back for seconds of a shitty meal unless they’re absolutely famished.
Feelings – Ugh, feelings! The worst reason to ever hook up with an ex. Often, people hope sex with rekindle a flame. If you want to get back with an ex, ask them to hang out, go to dinner, snag a few (just a few!) drinks, play a nice game of scrabble—don’t pour yourself into their bed and hope your ninja sex skills will make them want to date you again. It won’t. And if your ex is trying to sex you and you suspect feelings may be the culprit, have some heart and say no. Control yourself!
In general, I don’t suggest sexing an ex…I have a motto I try and live by in these scenarios: Don’t swim in the pools you’ve already pissed in. But I am biased, because I’ve never had successful sex with an ex. Someone has always gotten cranky about it afterward. Actually, that’s not true. ONCE I had successful sex with an ex. We dated in high school, and I slept with him again my freshman year of college, when I was home on Christmas break…I had gained the infamous freshman 15 while away, and he told me (while we were still naked, mind you) that he loved my “new womanly body.” I took this to mean my ass had gotten fat. So I guess someone still got cranky…but the sex was good and no one had any bruised feelings after.
I think sex with an ex can be terrific if you’re both in it for the same reasons: To have awesome, safe sex in a space you’re both familiar and comfortable with. If there are no feelings involved, then I say go for it. But in my opinion, sexing an ex is like slurping spaghetti in a white shirt and being surprised when things get messy.
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan.