Dear Di

Research shows that people who pursue breakup sex are likely still attached to their ex, but that doesn’t mean it’ll make your breakup harder. Illustration: Christine Wang/Fulcrum
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Dear Di,

I ended a relationship last week. Romantically and practically, we were definitely not compatible in the context of a relationship, but there was never anything wrong with our sex life. I’m really missing that right now and I’m thinking about giving my ex a call. What’s your take on breakup sex?

— No Strings Attached

Dear NSA,

In general, my opinion is to go for it. That said, there are a few situations in which it’s probably not a good idea.

For example, even if you don’t still have romantic feelings for your ex but you think they might for you, spare them the pain. Keeping them hanging on is not a classy thing to do, and if you care about them at all, you won’t do it just to scratch an itch.

And be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re harbouring any lingering feelings for this person. Research published in Psychology Today showed that people who reached out for breakup sex were more likely to be those same people who had a hard time letting go of their ex emotionally.

On the flip side, if your relationship ended with something sketchy — like cheating, let’s say —there are plenty of fish in the sea. Respect yourself more than that — sure, it’s an easy lay, but they don’t deserve another second of your time.

If you broke up in a heated fight, that one can go either way. For some people, angry breakup sex is terrible, but some find it extra hot.

But it sounds like your relationship ended on amicable terms, so we can skip all that. Go get yours! 

I’m honestly totally in favour of breakup sex. In my opinion, it’s a taboo that’s carried over from high school, when everyone was so hormonal and immature that they couldn’t separate sex from feelings. We’re all adults here, so as long as you can keep it mature, it should be smooth sailing.

In fact, the same research in Psychology Today showed that even for those who were still attached to their ex, sex didn’t make them any more upset about their breakup. At the very least, it’s unlikely to make things worse. Can’t argue with that.

The most obvious benefit to breakup sex is convenience. You don’t have to try — like, at all. You thought you weren’t trying when you were in a relationship? You have even less to prove now. So feel free to call them over at three in the morning without shaving or getting out of your pyjamas.

Other than convenience though, there’s a serious benefit to sleeping with someone who already knows all the little tricks to turn you on. This is especially beneficial if you’re into anything kinky. You can find vanilla sex at any ByWard Market bar, but if you like something specific, it’s great to have the option to just give your ex a call. 

Communication is always key, but it might be even more important when it comes to breakup sex. The key to a successful break up with your ex is having clear boundaries and a clear understanding of what you’re expecting from each other. It can get messy really quickly if your partner thinks that it’s makeup sex. Make sure you’re both on the same page before you invite them over. 

So to recap, the quality of your breakup sex experience depends heavily on the context of your breakup. But as long as you can both be mature adults and you both want the same thing, it could also be the best friends with benefits arrangement you’ve ever had.