Jumping Back in the Sack? The Pros and Cons Of Rebound Hook Ups

April 21, 2013  |  
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Normally I’d advise my girlfriends to be careful about jumping in to a new relationship right after a breakup. Rebound relationships rarely last because you’re normally vulnerable and raw, and hooking up with someone right after heartbreak can be a destructive way of dealing with the pain. In the end, there will likely be more hurt and confusion.

But for some, while getting into a rebound relationship may not be the smartest move post break-up, rebound sex is something completely different. Taking time to heal after a breakup makes sense, but does that mean that you should abstain from sex while you’re still processing what just happened with the last serious relationship? My cautious self says stay away from having casual sex until you’re completely ready to love again, but my realistic self says that people have needs and rebound sex may be just the thing to push you over the edge and move on.

Not sure if rebound sex is a good move? Consider these pros and cons before jumping back in the sack.


The Pros

1. Temporary Fix

Yes, it’s only a band-aid solution to a broken heart, but having sex with someone else who finds you sexually attractive can give you the confidence boost you need to get over a breakup. Sometimes when a relationship ends, especially if it was the other person who ended it, one can feel “ugly” or unsure of themselves. They may wonder what they did wrong in the relationship that caused their ex to break up with them, leaving them feeling insecure. While your worth should not be validated by sex, there is something to be said for being desired by someone else. I’m not saying have a one night stand with someone you don’t know, but if you have sex with the next guy you start hanging out with, don’t kick yourself for not waiting the “customary” 6 weeks or months before you give up the goods. You’re not looking for another relationship; you’re just looking for sex.  Unless it goes against your personal beliefs, you should not feel ashamed of anything.


2. Endorphins

Sex just feels good, and if you’ve been in a funky mood because of your breakup, sex – especially GOOD sex – can make you feel better. Again, it may be a temporary fix to your pain, but who says you’re not allowed to give yourself permission to feel pleasure, if only for a few hours? Sex, practiced safely, is a healthy mood booster, and if you’re tired of slumping on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, engage in some activity that will make you happy for a little while.


3. Takes Your Mind Off the Ex

Rebound sex with a new guy can be exciting, and you know what they say – the best way to get over an old guy is with a new one. Again, I’m not saying hop in bed with the dude you met on the way home on the subway. But if you’ve been dismissing that cute guy who’s been asking you out on a date for months because you had a boyfriend, now is your time to explore someone new. Go out on a few dates and see where it takes you, especially if there’s chemistry there. Even if the new guy turns out not to be “The One,” he may have been good enough to take your mind off of the ex and help you to get over him faster. As long as you both are on the same page and he knows you just ended a relationship and are not looking to get into a new one – no harm, no foul.


4. Time to Be Adventurous!

If you are the “missionary” type and always have been, now may be the time to explore your fantasies with someone completely new who has no judgment of you. I’m not saying pull out all your bag of tricks in a one night stand situation. Let’s be clear: rebound sex simply means the next guy you have sex with after a breakup, not the next guy you meet five minutes later on the street. If you’ve been seeing someone new for a few weeks and want to have sex, why not try something new to get your mojo back? After all, you’re just getting to know each other, and he doesn’t know that you normally only have sex with the lights off under the covers. Try that reverse cowgirl on him or have fun sex in a hot, new boutique hotel. New scenery and new positions with a new guy may be just the thing you need to feel alive again.


5. New Love?

While highly unlikely in most situations, rebound sex can lead to new love. You may go into it thinking you just want sex and the new guy you’ve been kickin’ it with is cool and easy-going. But because you’re not looking for a new relationship, this is when one might simply fall in your lap. While sex too soon can sabotage a new relationship, sometimes sex and the bond that two  people share in that act can lead to new love experiences. It’s not unheard of for people to end a long-term relationship only to fall in love with the next person they meet who turns out to be their soul mate. By opening yourself up to the possibilities, you may be surprised where intimacy takes you.


6. Renewed Hope

Even if the next guy you meet doesn’t turn out to be your future husband, just having the courage to be intimate with someone else again may be all the reassurance you need that finding someone new is possible. Often times when we’re fresh off of a breakup, we’re brought to our emotional knees and feel that loving again will never happen. But by allowing yourself to accept that others find you attractive and desirable, you can appreciate that there is a world of potential men out there who want you for you, not just for your body, and you are worthy to feel wanted again.


The Cons

1. Getting Attached

It’s only natural to want to avoid feeling lonely and depressed and if having rebound sex is just your way of getting out of a slump and having fun again, then great. But some just don’t know how to separate casual sex and having fun from falling in love. Make sure you know the difference. Do not get attached to the new guy if your heart can’t handle another breakup. If you’re actually “dating” and getting to know each other on a real level, not just a sexual one, then by the time you have sex it’ll mean something. If sufficient time has passed between your breakup and when you meet the new guy, the sex may not be rebound sex at all. But if it’s been less than three months and the interaction with the new guy is more intense than simply hooking up, you have the potential to find yourself dealing with another breakup before you’ve gotten over your old one.


2. Freaking Him Out

Sometimes we get into rebound situations without cluing the other person in to the fact that we’re in a rebound situation.  So in the interest of everyone, make sure that you’re up to dating before you get someone involved in your emotional baggage. For example, if you engage in rebound sex and start crying in the middle of it, he may be freaked out and look at you like you’re nuts. Or if you go off on him for no reason because he didn’t return your text fast enough, he may think you’re psycho. Casual sex should be a fun thing, not a sad thing. If you can’t bring up your ex’s name without bursting into tears, then you should keep your legs closed until you’re well enough to feel comfortable with someone else.


3. Can Be Awkward

Rebound sex can be awkward if you haven’t quite gotten over your ex yet and you’re feeling “guilty” for having sex too soon with someone else. If the new guy is your rebound sex guy, it shouldn’t be weird if you’re only looking to spend limited time with him or if you’re casually dating. As stated before, now could be your time to be adventurous, not timid or shy. If that’s how you normally are in all sexual situations, that’s one thing. But if you’re feeling awkward during sex because you’re still in love with your ex or the thought of casual sex or sex without love repulses you, rebound sex is not for you – and there’s nothing wrong with that.


4. Expectations

Most women feel a connection or a bond when having sex with a man, and if this is you, then rebound sex may not be in the cards since sex for you may come with certain expectations from a man. If you feel that sex automatically means monogamy or that this man is now your boyfriend, even if nothing has been explicitly stated, you could be setting yourself up for another breakup. The less you expect from your rebound situation, the better because then you won’t feel disappointed when that casual hookup doesn’t turn into a full blown relationship. If you can’t separate sex from love, or the act from a relationship, then rebound sex is not for you.

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  • In other words, don’t be easy.

    Never understood why people feel they HAVE to be in relationships, or that sex with someone else solves your ex-issues.

  • Sharon

    Brooke, this is the quickest way for somebody to physically get cut, shot,hurt, more babies being born, child support headaches for some of these guys, and AIDS and other dieseases to spread if they don’t protect themselves. This is not a good idea to have or play rebound sex, to me I think you are really playing with people’s feelings. These are the real pros and cons about playing rebound sex. People should not engage in it. In some cases, they are playing with fire and somebody will eventually get burned.

    • Lucy

      Where in this article did she suggest that people should have UNPROTECTED rebound sex. I think she even stated that as long as it’s practiced safely, then a woman can do as she pleases when she feels she’s ready. The article said pros AND CONS, not that it was all good. She clearly said that it’s not for everyone. I don’t see how anyone can get cut or shot from having rebound sex unless they’re already psycho. I think you may have be reaching on this one…a bit drastic.

  • Lauren S. Clark


    • Lauren S. Clark

      And stay single.

    • hollyw

      Lmbo that’s what I’m say, keep ya legs close to everybody but yaself! At least until you get yourself right.

  • hollyw

    I’m sorry, but this is horrible advice. I really think it is. I was more in agreement w/ MN on the casual relationship article than I was w/ rebound sex, only b/c, if a single woman is emotionally stable, there’s a degree of success w/ it; however, NO ONE, esp. including a newly single woman just broken up w/, is going to be emotionally stable enough to pull off casual sex/relationship. The chances are too high for the first con, i.e. attachment, let alone all the others, i.e. feeling degraded/it being awkward (b/c you’re not as familiar, sexually)/freaking him out/’new love’, which is really just you both probably damaged frm a past relationship and seeking comfort.

    It’s one thing if it’s been 3+ months since the break-up, you feel ready for new relationships, and may want to start off w/ more casual acquaintances, but to specifically delve into casual sex to satisfy “a need”, and a couple weeks after the split…um no. The highest need (and biggest strength) is a woman’s emotional/mental stability. I repeat, poor advice.

    • Courtney

      maybe you should re-read it – because there are pros AND CONS, and all the reasons you listed above were the CONS, which the author stated. There are some women who can handle sex but not a relationship and there are women out there who know the difference between the two. And I believe she said if it’s been three months or less, she’s probably not ready if she can’t separate love and sex, so you basically just said the same thing she said. Not all women are the same and not all women are these incredibly fragile women who can’t handle sex after a breakup. Sex is sex, love is love, and yes, there are women out there who actually can distinguish between the two.

      • hollyw

        I think you should re-read my post. I’m aware that I mentioned some Cons (technically one, as the others I thought were cons for diff. reasons); my point was that I thought the Cons outweighed the Pros…one of which, I thought was actually a Con in disguise.

        As I also mentioned, my argument wasn’t about women in gen’l not being able to distinguish sex and love, as this convo has already been over-done in another MN article, but that rebound sex as a specific kind of casual sex was not a good idea for most people, esp. women. While I think a significant number of women are capable of one, I don’t think any substantial amt or capable of the other. I actually think it’s true of both sexes, but if it’s only 5% for men, then it’d be 0.01% for women.

        I don’t believe I painted women as “incredibly fragile”, but in fact, the opposite, as the gender with the stronger emotional intelligence and strength, but I do see rebound sex as one of the destructive behaviors we all engage in w/o putting much thought into it. If you disagree, that’s fine.

        • Courtney

          so basically you just said what she said…even though you said it was horrible advice. She just listed pros and cons, she didn’t tell anyone what to do. She clearly said some women were capable and some weren’t. It’s up to the woman to decide where she falls in this scenario. So all you did was state the same thing she said, just in a different, but more judgmental way.

          • hollyw

            Smh, you obviously did not follow what I said, otherwise you would not be saying “you’re saying what I said, which is what she said”.

    • Lucy

      “only b/c, if a single woman is emotionally stable, there’s a degree of
      success w/ it; however, NO ONE, esp. including a newly single woman just
      broken up w/, is going to be emotionally stable enough to pull off
      casual sex/relationship. The chances are too high for the first con,
      i.e. attachment, let alone all the others, i.e. feeling degraded/it
      being awkward (b/c you’re not as familiar, sexually)/freaking him
      out/’new love’, which is really just you both probably damaged frm a
      past relationship and seeking comfort.”

      Umm…all of this falls under her “CONS” list…so how is what she wrote horrible advice. It’s not even advice, it’s a list – and one can do what they want with it.

      “It’s one thing if it’s been 3+ months since the break-up, you feel ready
      for new relationships, and may want to start off w/ more casual

      Umm…again, the author also suggested that if it’s been less than three months, rebound sex may not be a good idea. Basically, all you did was agree with her CONS list but then tell her she gave poor advice…even though she didn’t advise anyone to do anything. This could have been a list on the pros and cons of investing in the stock market. There’s a risk to it all, some people win, some people lose. But no where in this article did she tell people what they should do – which is what giving advice is. She simply listed the pros and cons and let us decide. This isn’t poor advice, it’s just a list.

      • hollyw

        Well, I obviously disagree, for the reasons I already mentioned, but if you love it, hun, then you can easily write your reasons, as I did, as to why you think it’s great, independent of my statement. I’m sorry, but at the end of the day, I really just don’t think it’s that serious.