Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sex With the Ex

Some of us have good memories of our exes. Some of us think our exes are emotional wrecks who left 9-inch scars on our psyches. And some of us think of our exes often enough to drunk dial them every Saturday around 2 a.m. But here's the thing about that phone call, or occasional e-mail, or what-the-hey coffee meetings: A recent study from the University of Arizona showed that every time you communicate with someone you're trying to get over-no matter what way you did it-your overall level of happiness drops one percent.

On one level, many men and women have an overwhelming urge to reconnect with the person they used to date/love/sleep with. How much so? In the Men, Love ; Sex poll, 73 percent of men think about "the one who got away" at least sometimes (with nearly a quarter of men saying they think about her a lot or all of the time). On another level, we know deep down that taking those thoughts a step further can be pretty darn dangerous. So-as we try to balance the conflicting good and bad feelings about our exes-we wrestle with some hefty questions. Should you sleep with your ex? Does he want you back? What the hell did she do with my Beatles collection? The answers to some of those "ex"-cellent questions...

Should you sleep with your ex?

If both exes are unattached and mature-and they're not hurting anybody else or starring in major motion pictures with suspected lovers-then hanging out and hooking up can be okay. There's no doubt that ex sex can be more explosive than a LaDanian Tomlinson burst for the end zone. Why? Because you know the nuances and desires and hot spots of each other's body without the pressure to perform that you'd have early on in a relationship, but also minus the sluggishness of a fading one.

Now, a lot of men like lurking in the murky transitional spaces between relationships-meaning that he'll be up for any no-strings bedroom behavior that she's on board with. But if it happens more than a couple of times, chances are emotions will kick back in-for either or both of you. So if your ex starts calling you on a frequent basis-even just to say, "Thanks for the meaningless sex"-it's probably time to bail. You're with someone you don't love, and that can prevent you from finding and committing to someone you do love. And that makes the romp a kind of sexual channel surf--something that wastes time you'll never get back.

Can you be friends with your ex?

In theory, it should work out fine. While many women are good at separating romance from friendship, it's different for men. (Almost 50 percent of men say they couldn't have a good friend with breasts, whether or not she was an ex.) For a guy, a friend is someone you play golf with, drink beer with, and argue over sports with. An ex is someone who helped make your bed and lie in it. It's tough for guys to think of the same woman he had Friday night fantasies with as one he'll talk fantasy football with.

That doesn't mean a man can't be friends with women, but it's nearly impossible for a man to be friends with an ex-girlfriend, especially when his life includes his next girlfriend. What's more, if he wasn't responsible for ending the relationship in the first place, it's tough to be with someone who took a long look at you and decided to try their luck elsewhere.

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