Sex With an Ex

Ex Sex?

Couple in BedI’m not a fan. And I’m not just talking about sex with an ex-spouse, I’m talking about sex with an ex anyone.

I soften my position when you’re talking about Friends With Benefits, and designation of your partner as an ex is a question of semantics or time since your last round of mutual entertainment.

Why don’t I think sex with an ex makes sense? Especially with an ex-husband or ex-wife?

Why Sex With an Ex is a Bad Idea

Here’s why ex sex is trouble, and in no particular order:

  • If you have children together and they get wind of something, they may expect you to get back together.
  • If one or the other of you has a new spouse, you just did another man or woman wrong. Yes, ex sex counts as infidelity if one or both have remarried.
  • If you’ve been wandering the desert without carnal knowledge for too long, good ex sex may make you forget why the relationship is over. Temporarily.
  • You may be using him, he may be using you, and unless you’re both clearly using each other (and know it), aren’t you risking screwing up what’s already a tricky relationship?

I know women who slip into patterns of sex with an ex because their relationships are relatively amicable, neither partner is involved with anyone else, and they figure… why not?

If it works for them, I won’t sit in judgment. But if you keep going back to the same source, isn’t it preventing you from looking elsewhere? Are you hiding in sex with an ex as some sort of safety net?

Old Flames, Renewed Passion?

Sure, sure. I’ve seen the movie “It’s Complicated,” with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. I enjoyed it, too. But it was messy, and watching the assortment of relationships play out as a divorced couple rekindled their passion, there was damage all round.

Closure for the “wronged first wife” as well? That, too.

Some of us may recall Sex and the City episodes in which lead character Carrie plunges back into an affair with her now married ex. We understand what led up to it, we understand her mixed feelings. And it’s disastrous.

Years later, when he’s divorced, they occasionally hook up in person or via phone sex. At this point, they seem to have disconnected sufficiently from their former relationship issues to have morphed into Friends With Benefits.

Still, the “relationship do-over” – certainly with an ex-spouse – may come with complicated consequences.

Divorced Sex? Dating After 50?

If you shared a hot sex life when married, if you find post-divorce dating going nowhere, if you can’t manage to get back out there after 50, you may throw caution to the wind – as in: I can’t get a date much less great sex, so why not…

And who knows? Divorced sex with your ex may be better than when you were a couple. Obstacles to passion may have been eliminated: You’re no longer involved in the daily tedium that causes arguments, your children may be grown and as a consequence, tiffs over child support are a thing of the past. You may even find a once errant spouse trying to work his (or her) way back into your heart… by way of your bed.

Couple having issuesAnd if the nights are passionate but in the morning you have nothing to say to each other? Or as soon as you’ve had your fun, you feel regret? Are you thinking through what you’re doing? Are you selling yourself short?

Have Fun, Be Safe, Get Real

The problems inherent in ex sex are clear, aren’t they?

Certainly, every situation will be different and all relationships change as we grow older and, frankly, wise up. We know ourselves better. We know our exes better – or at least we think we do. But hello? You split up for good reasons, didn’t you? What’s changed?

The bottom line when it comes to sex with an ex may be this: keep your eyes open and heart, less so. Be safe, stay real, and have fun – but without hurting yourself or anyone else.

Is “happily ever after” sex with an ex likely in anything other than a fictional scenario? I couldn’t say. I haven’t seen fictional scenarios in which it works, personally. And nor have I seen any in real life – but perhaps you have.


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  1. Robert says

    Aside from the serious points made by the article, which I agree with, it seems to me that “wandering the desert without carnal knowledge” (an incredibly striking and memorable composition, I must say!) must be the direct opposite of “hiking the Appalachian trail”. …

  2. says

    It’s Complicated comes to mind and how difficult that was for their kids. Yeah – not a good idea. In any sense of the idea. I’m with you on all points.

  3. says

    Ex Sex? No…no…no! I don’t know of one case – including friends with benefits – where one of the two consenting adults hasn’t come away with expectations of more or major regrets – or both.

  4. says

    Sex with an ex? You’ve got to be kidding. Perhaps convenient/easy, I admit. But sex is too good to settle for something like that — aim higher, please. To “settle” for sex is to leave so much undiscovered.

    The socks stuff yesterday was cute. It’s the weather. In the summer, who wants socks? But both Fran and my former wife wear socks to bed. They must have been wearing very different types, of socks. And who wants to see/feel any clothes on during sex, anyhow? Except maybe it really is just about the weather. There was the time we were camping in December, it was well below freezing, and we did it like the Eskimos — quickly, and with heavy socks and hats on.

  5. says

    My experience with exes (not ex husbands, just ex lovers) was that my body seemed to have a memory of its own that was quite different from what my mind wanted. Just being around an ex, even casually as friends, my mind always seemed to be saying “NO” while my body kept saying “YES!” It happened to me enough that I wondered if pheromones have their own memory, a conversation between ours and the exes saying, “Well heeeey there, I remember you.” Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I was not able to stay friends with exes lest they become exes with benefits. ~ Jackie

  6. Aimee Bruce Bell says

    I did sex with the ex for 4 years post divorce! It is not a good idea at all!! Each time I kept saying it was the last, but this time I really mean it, last month was the very last time ever! It has caused me much heartache and pain. But, I love the comment about body saying “Yes” while the head says “No”, because my ex and I have a crazy sexual attraction to each other that has never, ever died. Even after 25 years!! He doesn’t respect me though and I have had to accept that. A week after the last time we were together, I suspected he was seeing someone new, I called and very nicely asked him to please respect me and tell me that he was seeing someone now, he refused and told me he didn’t “owe” me an explaination or that respect. Ex sex is not good..stay away from it no matter how much your body says “YES”!!!


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