Should You Sleep With Someone To Get Over Your Ex? Experts Weigh In

Here's what to consider before a romp in the sheets.

Should you sleep with someone else to get over your ex? Experts weigh in.
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If you’re fresh out of a breakup or have found yourself feeling hung up on an ex recently, your friends have probably tried offering some sage words of wisdom to help you heal and move on. You know, things like, “focus on yourself,” “enjoy being single,” or even the age-old “the right person will come when you least expect it.” And, although it’s a controversial one, you might also be told that in order to get over someone, you have to get under someone else. (Or maybe you just heard it in SZA’s new song “F2F” where she belts out “I f**k him ‘cause I miss you.”)

Most people can empathize with wanting to get their minds off of an ex they miss, sure, but can sleeping with someone else really help you move on? Well, the answer isn’t a clear yes or no, but some experts say that the urge to connect with someone else sexually after a breakup is understandable — and human. “I am a big advocate that while time heals wounds, actions are actually better pathways to heal/process our emotional overwhelm,” says Desirée N. Robinson, a certified sex therapist and psychotherapist. “For some people, that means seeking a physical connection as a means of managing their loneliness, longing, skin hunger, and maybe even feelings of validation or desirability.”

While swimming between the sheets with someone new might be the right path forward for some, there are certainly potential drawbacks to doing so. Read on for what experts have to say about sleeping with someone else to get over an ex.

Pros To Sleeping With Someone Else To Get Over An Ex

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If you’re feeling a bit frisky and miss the physical comfort your ex used to provide, you might be tempted when you’re presented with the option to hook up with someone else. According to Robinson, some people do genuinely find that having sex with someone else does help them get over an ex by serving as a confidence booster. “This is often a distraction that may serve to prove or validate one’s ability to be off the market and the feelings attached to being single,” she tells Bustle. If you feel inclined to try it, you might experience the empowering feeling that can come from a good post-split hookup — which Robinson says can make you feel more self-assured in your newfound singleness.

Depending on the person you sleep with, you might also find yourself fulfilled by traits they have that your ex lacked, says Robinson. If your new flame communicates better and shares a strong sexual chemistry with you, for example, Robinson notes this can be a major plus.

A new boo might also satisfy more of your, ahem, needs than your former partner did. “The shine of the previous partner is less when you may feel you've found better,” Robinson says. “The interactions with others — even sexually — offer the experience to reset a neural network and how we associate meaning, belonging, and intimacy.” Meeting someone new who surpasses the standard of mediocre sex and/or lame communication efforts your ex had set can definitely feel like an upgrade.

Cons To Sleeping With Someone Else To Get Over An Ex

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Maybe you’ve warmed up to the idea of having sex with a new person to forget that your ex exists — but, even so, psychotherapist and sex therapist Maria Becker says that there are some deeper implications of the act to take into consideration. “Many folks struggle in their relationships with sex and intimacy to begin with, so prescribing potentially more bad sex... doesn't really make sense to me,” they tell Bustle. “I think folks gravitate towards sex in the midst of emotional trauma because it can function as a dopamine hit, à la a social media like or repost. More deeply, it can help someone feel seen, desired, and wanted at a time where they don't feel that way at all.” In other words, it can mask feelings of hurt that haven’t been dealt with. Robinson also notes you run the risk of continuing toxic relationship cycles if you start getting freaky with someone who offers more of the same B.S. your ex did.

If you have an anxious attachment style or tend to generally get in your feelings when a relationship becomes sexual, you could get hurt all over again when you enter into a casual, rebound-type of arrangement. “Sex is subjective and what may be a form of connection, bonding, or validation for one person may be a form of release, experimentation, or habit for another,” says Robinson. “We also have biological underpinnings that facilitate feelings of connection and intimacy during sex.” So if you haven’t processed your feelings about your ex and are clear on why you’re choosing to hook up with someone else, you may prolong the negative feelings you have about both yourself and others post-breakup, says Robinson.

The Bottom Line

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Ultimately, you have the power and agency to decide whether sleeping with someone else will help you get over your ex. Of course, you could go an alternative route — rather than take the risk of getting hurt or attached, Becker suggests taking some time to ground yourself in your body and your sensuality. “Maybe that looks like taking a long shower, having orgasms on your own, or maybe meeting a cute stranger at a bar,” they tell Bustle. A good self-pleasure sesh with your favorite vibrator might also do the trick — and save you from the anxiety and frantic double-texts that can come along with getting attached to someone after a casual encounter.

Becker also notes that leaning on your friends and family in times of heartache might also be what you really need. “What I would love for folks is to use moments of emotional upheaval to deepen their connection with themselves, their desires, and their community,” they say. Spending time with your people can fill your cup in ways a spontaneous hookup might not while serving as a reminder that you have support.

Before jumping into a new sexual fling, it could help you to first process all of your feelings and think about what went right and wrong with your previous relationship. Robinson suggests being gentle with yourself and taking time to really reflect so you can make a choice with clarity rather than impulse. “Even if the previous person was amazing, these simple tools can help you learn how to gain the insight to fill in the deficit that may have existed in that relationship,” says Robinson. “The byproduct is that you go into the next relationship as a fuller, more aware individual — primed and ready to move on from an ex.”


Desirée N. Robinson, certified sex therapist and psychotherapist

Maria Becker, psychotherapist and sex therapist