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You started dating your boyfriend in college. You continued dating after college, the connection between the two of you growing. You were confident that he was the one you would marry. Years into the relationship, you break up, leaving you single for the first time in years and for the first time as a young adult.

ho phase

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Singlehood is now very new and single men, some new acquaintances and others whom you’ve only known as associates, are coming out of the woodworks. What’s your next move? After all, you’re single and ready to mingle, and that mingling just might include having sex.

You aren’t alone as a study reveals that people move on rather quickly after a breakup and enjoy engaging in sexual activity after the fact more than ever. Out of 170 University of Missouri students surveyed in 2014, 58 percent of them claimed that they had sex with someone within one month of their breakup.

Regardless of how soon you sleep with someone else, the amount of people you sleep with might increase as your single days grow, thus the beginning of what some call a “ho phase.”

Historically, a ho, derived from the word whore, is a person (many people give this label to a woman but it can definitely apply to a man as well) who has had sex with a certain number of people, often within a certain amount of time. When people take the word back and engage in a self-proclaimed “ho phase,” it can be taboo and imply some really reckless behavior, but that’s not always the case.

In today’s society, the negative connotation of this label has become more neutral. In pop culture, as discussed recently on the HBO show Insecure, the ho phase is no longer a phrase or time reserved for the misguided, but rather, it has become an ordinary part of life for a lot of grown folks. That includes show creator Issa Rae, who said she was all set to enter a ho phase until she fell in love.

“My ‘hoe’ phase was interrupted because I fell in love,” she told the New York Post. “I had all the intentions of being a hoe! Dudes were finally checking for me at one point. But I ended up meeting somebody . . . Now it’s too late to go back.”

And as author Alicia Lazzaro put it when speaking on her own “slut phase,” these liberating breaks can actually end well.

“Despite it being called a Slut Phase, I learned more than just sexual things,” she wrote for XoJane. “Being alone gave me the chance to bond with myself and master how to be independent. My confidence came back and I learned to love everything about myself. I also learned about the not-so-good things about myself, like the fact that I am super impatient and sort of a control freak. The end of my Slut Phase had the best ending possible – I met the perfect person. My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now and I couldn’t be happier.”

With all that being said, some people really want to have fun with multiple people, especially after being in a long-term relationship. Is it really a bad thing for someone to explore his or her options in a sexual manner if they’re being safe and clear with their partners about what they want? And honestly, when you think about it, the unclear number of sexual partners that would negatively classify a person is arbitrary since we all have an unfair number in our head of what “too many” sexual partners would look like. It’s subjective.

Phases are meant to be short-lived, but if a person, whether newly single or a veteran player, has been enjoying his or her sexual conquests for years, who are we to judge and tell them not to live their lives in the way they see fit?

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