So you and your partner are breaking up. You're both packing up your belongings, either tearfully or angrily, remembering all the good times, and maybe even wondering where it all went wrong. Then, somewhere between arguing over whose Broken Social Scene album is whose, one of you suggests having sex. You know, because it just might get you to stop fighting over the albums and who doesn't like to get laid, right? While your initial instinct might be, "Yes! Great plan!" the reality of breakup sex, although awesome in theory, rarely goes well — in the long run.
In fact, it can just mess up the whole breaking up process and throw your emotions even more for a loop. In other words, unless you're willing to make things even messier, breakup sex might not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you like drama, then by all means have some breakup sex.
Here are five things that, in the heat of the moment, some of us usually forget about breakup sex, according to Sex Therapist Stefani Threadgill, because doing it one last time may not create the closure you're looking for or be a good way to say goodbye.
1That It's A Good Way To Say Goodbye
Actually, no. A good way to say goodbye is to hug, shake hands, or wave from the backseat of a cab as it's driving down the street. Going to bed with your now-ex as a means to say goodbye isn't going to solve anything, according to Threadgill. Nor will it gloss over the damage that was done or even give you some sort of realization, if that's what you're hoping to find.
2That It Creates Closure
If closure and sex go hand-in-hand for you, then you might not have a true understanding of what "closure" means. "Couples often will end a relationship through sex in an effort to create closure," says Threadgill. "However, sex could potentially make it difficult for [people] to detach. This also applies to ex sex and friends with benefits."
Sex is complicated! Sure, it can sometimes be totally devoid of emotions and be just physical, but if you can separate your emotions from sex with your now-ex, then that's some impressive stuff. It's hard to get closure when you're banging your now-ex.
3That It's OK "For Old Times' Sake"
Is anything really good "for old times' sake?" Although I've managed to avoid breakup sex, I've definitely found myself having sex with an ex far too soon after a breakup. You know, "for old times' sake." You know where that got us? Me crying and him outside my window in the East Village, drunkenly begging for another chance. Trust me; it's not as romantic as it sounds.
4That It's Totally Painless (Emotionally Speaking)
To make the blanket statement that breakup sex is totally painless, especially if the love is gone, is sort of wrong. I mean, if only it were that easy. "Oxytocin, the attachment hormone, is released during skin-to-skin contact, orgasm, and breastfeeding," says Threadgill. "Men release oxytocin too; however, testosterone overpowers oxytocin. When a woman orgasms repeatedly with a partner, oxytocin will bind her to her lover (even if the sex is meh)."
Takeaway? Even if your last romp isn't anything to write home about, that damn oxytocin could mess things up real fast. Now angrily shake your fist into the air while screaming, "damn you, oxytocin!"
5That It Will Make It Easier To Move On
Although a 2013 study found that breakup sex can aid in moving on, that's not always that case. For some, breakup sex can absolutely deter the breakup process. Not only making it harder to leave, but setting in motion the bad habit of hooking up with your ex well after you break up with them. "[The oxytocin] bond can take up to two years to diminish," explains Threadgill. "[It can] increase the risk that [someone] ends up staying in the relationship they intended to leave."
Even the most amicable breakups are far from easy. There will always be complications, complexities, and a boatload of emotions. If you think, for whatever reason, breakup sex might impede your ability to move on, cope with the loss, or, in any way, affect you negatively, then it's an option you may want to take off the table, because it's probably not worth the pain it might cause.