Contrary to what our friends, family members, and even some mental health professionals might advise, sex with your ex might not be a death sentence for your mental well-being.
Having sex with a previous partner is a common occurrence. Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Research revealed that one-third of 792 young adults, ages 17 to 24, reported having had sex with an ex — with numbers higher among divorced adults.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, researchers found that of their 137 previously married adult participants, one-fifth still had sex with their ex after their divorce.
Researchers found that the sexual encounters with an ex helped to lessen the pain of a divorce. However, couples who were already over their divorce found no comfort in post-divorce sex and did not report such behavior.
"If the problem has been festering away for years, or you're basically incompatible that great ex sex won't change a thing," said Tracy Cox, a 20-year sex expert veteran.
Cox also believes that ex-sex is more beneficial to women because it gives them closure to the relationship.
"Psychologists believe that break-ups can leave us with attachment needs that go unfulfilled, and that sex with an ex helps to provide some sense of security, and at least partial fulfillment of those needs," the Daily Mail reports.
Sex with a previous partner is also easier for some because it's familiar; there's less pressure and a level of comfort in sleeping with someone you already know.
"You just separated and now that you're not living together things are so much calmer and nicer between you. The pressure is off. You're not fighting," said Pamela Cytrynbaum, an expert at Psychology Today.
Both Cox and Cytrynbaum warn men and women to be cautious and wary before jumping into any "hook-up" relationship with an ex.
"If you're going to do it, make sure you go into it with a clear understanding of what it means to the other person," said Cox.
Many psychologists and sex experts are still not convinced that ex-sex has any positive benefits. Licensed clinical social worker, Sherry Amatenstein, is one of those who warns against any type of sexual encounter with an ex. She believes that it just leads to a long and drawn-out breakup or divorce.
"You see a car coming at you and yet you don't get out of the way. That's exactly what having sex with an ex is like," she said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "Don't do it. Because you're just going to fall back in. It's comfortable, but it's a very bad kind of comfort."