The Unofficial Rules of Rebound Sex

Charyn Pfeuffer
The Unofficial Rules of Rebound Sex
Photo: Tory Rust. Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows.

Breakups bring with them an array of old adages. “You dodged a bullet.” “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” And our personal favorite: “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”

But is rebound sex actually advisable? According to sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly, at the very least, it’s definitely understandable. “We’re programmed to seek connection. So even if we’re not practically prepared for another relationship, we’re emotionally coded to desire intimacy and closeness,” she says. “This is why rebound relationships and rebound sex are common.”

MORE: 12 Things to Do After You Find Out Your Partner Cheated

OK, so there’s a reason we turn to this hackneyed bit of advice time and time again. But before you dive head-first into rebound land, peruse our seven (unofficial) ground rules for rebound sex.

1. Accept it for what it is—a temporary fix

Rebound sex may distract you for a night or two (or 10), but don’t tie your self-worth to it. Relying on another person’s approval might leave you feeling screwed (and not in the good way).

2. Think before jumping into a FWB scenario

Striking up a friends-with-benefits situation with a friend might sound good in theory. But it’s often a lot more complicated in practice, according to Dr. Tina B. Tessina (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love.

“It sounds so easy to have sex with someone you already know; you can bypass the whole ‘meeting strangers’ thing,” she says. “[But] be very careful, because it isn’t easy to preserve a friendship once you have sex. You may think you can control your feelings, but it’s not so simple.”

3. Be upfront about what you want and what you’re doing

Don’t hide what you’re doing. Let your prospective sex partner know exactly what’s up.

“If you’re just coming out of a relationship and want sex, then be honest with the other person,” author and dating and relationship expert Jonathan Bennett advises. “You don’t have to say, ‘I just want sex,’ since that’s not exactly romantic or charming. But make it clear from the start that you’re not looking for anything serious.”

4. Take advantage of all rebound sex’s (potential!) healing powers

In some cases, rebound sex may be a much-needed boost of confidence. If you see it for what it is, it could potentially help kick-start the healing process.

5. Don’t judge yourself

Even though it seems counterintuitive, don’t be hard on yourself.

“Many people feel guilty about pursuing sex without a relationship,” Bennett says. “[But] as long as you’re upfront with the other person, there’s nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex—and—gasp!— enjoying it.”

6. Keep practicing safe sex

“You can’t know for sure what the sexual practices and history of a new partner are—no matter how honest they may seem to be or how much you trust them,” Tessina explains. “People are notoriously uncomfortable disclosing their sexual history, especially if they’re concerned that it will damage their relationship with you.”

7. Don’t let your breakup break you

Breakups can be tough. Do what you can to make yourself feel better—be it through rebound sex, ice cream or lots of Netflix. “I don’t think that we [always] realize we’re rebounding,” O’Reilly says. “We’re simply seeking to fulfill the shared human desire for connection. Though some people may seek a new relationship or casual sex in order to boost self-esteem or assuage anxieties about being alone, many are simply looking for genuine love, companionship and pleasure.”


Originally posted on SheKnows.