Is Sex-ess the Best Revenge? Love on the Rebound

You’ve been dumped and your mojo is at an all-time low. So, is sex the best revenge? (Yes!!! I can hear all the Scorpios out there clamour collectively). After all, nothing like a hot new lover to show your ex they have made the biggest mistake of their life and simultaneously soothe that wounded ego, right? Revenge and rebound sex is also something that is often sanctioned by concerned loved ones who while they may not put it in those kind of terms, nonetheless encourage us to ‘get back on the horse’ like a rodeo rider. Plus there’s always the possibility (at least in our minds) that once our misguided ex sees us with someone new they will see the error of their ways and return – result!

Most of us have at least fantasised about revenge sex (to get back at your ex) or rebound sex (to make you feel better) after a break up even if we haven’t actually gone ahead and followed the impulse. So, surprisingly there is actually very little psychological research out there on the effects of revenge and rebound sex. Realising this, Doctors Barber and Cooper commissioned a study of 170 college students who had experienced relationship break-ups in the past year and had them complete a weekly questionnaire as to their moods and their reasons for having sex if this occurred – ‘rebound motives’ and ‘revenge motives’. More than one-third reported having rebound sex (35%), and almost one-quarter had revenge sex (23%) in the month following their break-ups but these behaviours diminished over time. In other words, the fresher the break-up, the more likely people are to have rebound or revenge sex. But as time passes they no longer choose partners for these reasons. However, those who did choose sex as a way of coping with their newly acquired single status did not lessen the overall feelings of rejection, low self-esteem, anger and depression that accompany being dumped than those who didn’t. In other words the researchers concluded it won’t make you feel better – but it won’t make you feel worse either.

Obviously we all have different ways of coping when someone we still care about tells us they no longer feel the same way. So, if you’re nursing a broken heart and are looking around the bar or the internet for someone to dull the pain what is the mindful soul perspective we should be aware of?

1: Be honest about where you are at. The fact that you’re even thinking about rebound or revenge sex says that you still have a load of emotions to work through around your ex. You’re therefore emotionally unavailable. Just remember there is another living, breathing human being on the other end of this equation who is every bit as capable of being hurt as you’ve just been. Be honest with them. You’re not in the market for anything long term right now.

2: Don’t think this will bring your ex back. It won’t and please re-read No.1 again. If it did bring back your ex there would usually be a sting in the tail. Many years ago a dear friend of mine was subjected to a whirlwind romance and marriage (from first ‘Hi’ to ding-dong bells in a month). What she didn’t know was this was her newly acquired husband’s way of trying to get his ex back. This actually worked as 10 days into the marriage he vanished to join his ex in Spain where she was now living. However, she in turn dumped him 18 months later. As for my poor friend – well, re-read No.1 yet again as nobody would want this kind of experience although I admit it is a very extreme example.

3: You are loveable and sexy whether you have a partner or not. You don’t need someone to ‘complete’ you – you are already complete. Someone can enhance your life, they can show you the love you already have inside you but they cannot make you feel more loveable. This comes from within. We all hate rejection and heartbreak and all the feelings of self-doubt it can stir up. But these are temporary.

Provided you are honest with yourself (and them) about why you are seeking someone new so soon after a break-up, that’s fine. But if it’s a long term connection you’re seeking then know this will probably take time and you need to first work through all the stuff you are feeling and not take it into a new relationship. In the interim – reconnect back to the things you love to do that don’t require a partner. You’ll not only start to feel good about yourself again you’ll emerge from this successfully. And success is after all the best revenge of all!