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Researchers at the University of Missouri have confirmed that rebound sex is a pervasive phenomenon.In a study of 170 undergrads, 35 percent engaged in rebound sex within four weeks of a breakup.But although this makes rebound sex seem like an excuse for fast physical intimacy, that may not actually be a bad thing.“After a breakup, people feel withdrawal from being touched a lot in a relationship.When a long and once-loving relationship ends, there are a few ways to respond to the aftermath of heartbreak: sinking into a depression induced by marathon viewings of The Notebook and An Affair to Remember; gaining a post-college version of the freshman fifteen by choosing to survive on cheesecake, Chipotle, and vodka alone; and driving your friends insane by rehashing every last conversations, email, and text with your ex over and over again.Or, you can follow the old adage: the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody else.But while the study confirmed that people have sex in attempt to get over an ex (duh), it never fully answered whether rebound sex is actually helpful or damaging to the post-breakup healing process.Is rebound sex an emotional crutch, the relationship equivalent to junk food that tastes delicious but leaves you sluggish and sick?
The physical act of sex itself can also raise people’s spirits.
Talia recalled feeling “emotionally fraught” after rebound sex with someone who didn’t reciprocate her feelings.
It was painful, but in the end, her overall experiences with rebound sex was a necessary component to ultimately reconciling with her boyfriend, who she is still with today.
The researchers at the University of Missouri implied it was, noting that undergrads who used sex to cope with a breakup were still sleeping with new partners eight months after the relationship’s end.
To them, that “signified a lack of recovery and inability to move on.”However, most experts do not think there is something inherently wrong about it.“There are a lot of reasons people would want to have sex after a breakup, probably more positive than negative,” says Patricia Rich, a licensed clinical social worker and sex therapist.
Rebound sex, which is loosely considered casual sex that helps you get through the pain of a breakup, is the more illicit post-relationship coping mechanism.