Ex Sex: Good, bad, or in between?

Full disclosure: the only thing I rekindled this past break was a steamy affair with Netflix Instant. Yet the frequent occurrence of ex-sex (in both real life and in the television I watched with… well, on, my online lover) sparked my interest in rekindling romances with past flames. I embarked on a mission to learn more about this steamy illicit  phenomenon, interviewing 15 anonymous individuals. From their generous (and explicit) contributions, I hope to provide our readers with some examples of this common phenomenon… and perhaps a future ex-sex guide. 

1) “The Comfort Food Hookup”:I wanna sex you up.

Hooking up with an ex is occasionally akin to the pleasure of devouring a bowl of your mother’s macaroni and cheese or stuffing your face with a Big Mac.  The lack of familiarity between individuals in the college world drives lonely souls into the arms of The Ex. Sometimes a dance floor makeout can make even the strongest “single ladies” feel lonely. Physical familiarity inspires people to reconnect with their exes, rather than an emotional connection. On rekindling a physical relationship with her ex, one girl said: “It’s fun, natural, and we’re good at it with each other, and since our feelings aren’t platonic and both of us felt it was feasible to do it without emotional damage, it made sense.”

For some people, the ex-sex means something more—a gourmet hamburger and frites, rather than a Big Mac, if you will. “Believe me when I say as a friend I am always gonna love her,” said one boy. “I mean we were together until the day I left—I said ‘bye’ and cried a shitton.” The more intimate a relationship once was, the harder it is to fall back into it without stirring up old feelings. But if you can’t be with that person come the start of second semester, you may find yourself missing them more post-winter break.

2) “Friends with Benefits”

I’m not talking about the type of relationship that transpired between JT and Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits (though that was hawtt), or the kind during finals when you meet a rando in the SciLi and decide to get it on. You hook up with your ex—somebody you once genuinely cared for—but keep the emotions out of things. “There was pretty much a mutual understanding that it wasn’t a continuation of our relationship, we were just friends and this was a physical part of that,” said one of my male friends .”The sex itself was also different because it was more selfish but also a tad nostalgic and it didn’t have the trappings of a relationship.”

The rekindling has to be purely physical, and besides the nostalgia, it shouldn’t have any aspects of a relationship. A lot of people who entered this arrangement had been hooking up with people at their respective colleges. Another guy confessed, “I feel so limited when I am going out at night at college and there is no prospect of getting with anyone.” This is why he’s maintaining an open relationship with his friend, despite the fact that the other person involved “is the relationship-y type and probably wants more.” Sometimes Friends with Benz are involved just enough to return to college virtually unscathed, while others are left wanting more. “Friends with Benefits” is not as simple as a booty call, but still has some positive aspects ( for example, you’re having sex).

3) “The Been There, Tapped That”

Let’s be real: Sometimes we get horny and we hook up with people just ’cause. Or we have something to prove.  Who doesn’t like angry sex?!

Okay, some people don’t. Whatever.

“We were forced to confront the fact that we had both moved on,” one girl said of her experience.” Neither one of us wanted to be in the relationship again but I think there was a mutual negative feeling because we both didnt want the other to move on…and the sex was mediocre at best.”  Familiarity? Not always favorable. Hey, at least it’s over.

4) “The Reconciliatory Tap”

One guy told me a story that inspired the name ‘reconciliatory tap’: “We had a really bad breakup and it was good to put that shit behind us, and it felt good to be with a familiar person, but we made sure that it wasn’t very serious and stayed mostly physical. Since we had been broken up for a school year and we both been with other people there were no ill feelings, and now we talk every once in a while – which is cool.”  Through having sex, this couple reconstructed their relationship and made good of a bad situation.

5)The Ugly and The Awkward” (I call it like I see it)

“I was used to hooking up with college guys and I missed being with someone who loved me, but then after I realized we didn’t really love each other any more,” said one of my closest friends. “It really felt bad because this idea of what I used to have was kind of  gone and we also kind of ruined any chance of becoming platonic friends afterwards…at the time it felt good but now I wish I hadn’t done it.”


“I don’t know why I’m here, either.”

Ex sex encounters can be shitty, but inevitable. Sometimes it eve provides closure:  as another girl put it about her painful break up with her first girlfriend/first love: I’m glad it happened, because it wasn’t over, even though now it’s painful because it feels like we just broke up.”

One girl shared her experience with me of going back home after coming out of the closet as a lesbian: “So the first winter break I told him I wasn’t interested because I am seeing women not once, but twice, and he didn’t really get it – because he thought that still meant that I was into boys also, and specifically him – and for the next year proceeded to try to woo me. We ended up hooking up a couple times while I was home and to be honest it was just lame – like it wasn’t good and but it also wasn’t bad. This was at a point when I was still self conscious about my sexuality and being attractive to men was somewhat important to me, where as now I just find it irrelevant.”

As much as we can miss and wonder where we fit into our pre-college lives when we come home, our new environment will change us. We gotta embrace the future. The past is our past.

…but we can still tap that. On occasion.

To the people who are making it work long distance, I salute you, and to all you sexy singles on campus: I wish you a wonderful love life and many notifications from the Brown Admirers.

Images via, via, and via.

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