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Revenge sex is said to bring closure but sexperts have a better way

Charyn is a Seattle-based print and digital writer, editor and strategist, specializing in food, travel, lifestyle and sex-positive topics. Her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets, including AFAR, Delta Sky, Marie Claire, Na...

Gwen and Blake's rebound relationship is working, but they don't all taste as sweet

If recent country music is any indicator, revenge sex is on trend. Take Blake Shelton’s single “Came Here to Forget” about two people who get it on to get back at their exes. Ring any bells? Then there’s the Luke Bryan/Karen Fairchild duet “Home Alone Tonight” about boozing up and getting down with a stranger to forget an ex. “Let’s go shot for shot for shot/Til we forgot/What we came here to forget,” Bryan sings in the chorus. Then there’s Dierks Bentley's revenge sex anthem “Somewhere On A Beach,” where he brags, “I got a new girl, she’s got it going on... She got a body, and she’s naughty.”

It’s OK to feel wronged and it’s even tempting to cry into your beer, but experts agree, revenge sex is generally not a good idea.

“The point of sex is for you to enjoy yourself — it is not for you to be thinking about your ex, and doing something to hurt him,” says Laurel House, a dating coach on E!'s Famously Single. “It's not fair to you, and it's definitely not fair to the person who you are having sex with.” Fairness aside, the biggest con (aside from the fact that it might awaken your ex’s inner psycho) is that it keeps you emotionally hooked to your ex, cites writer and cultural sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

House points out that the guy who you’re using might say, “That's OK, as long as I'm getting pleasured, I don't care who you're thinking about.” But that's not the point. The desire to get revenge is keeping poison in your body and it’s toxic. “If you are carrying around that emotion, you clearly are not over your ex,” says House. “It is time for you to get out from under it, over it, and move on from that relationship. And you are not going to do it by getting on top of, or underneath someone else. That is unhealthy. Period.”

So, is it ever OK to have revenge sex?

Queen admits that it can be hot. “Emotions besides love can definitely add something to sex,” she says. If you’re trying to upset your ex, post-breakup sex could do the trick. It could also backfire and leave you feeling cold, empty or lonely — particularly if casual sex isn’t your thing, she points out. On the flip side, she says, “Rebound sex can also remind you that there are other fish in the sea (even if anger at your ex got you there, you wind up in a different bed),” says Queen. Or it can put you in bed with someone you find really sexy. “Because if you’re going to make your ex jealous, you might as well reach for the stars,” she says.

But let's say it does convince your ex that you are too good to let go. Queen notes that anything that was wrong with your relationship before will probably still be wrong and your ex will throw it [the revenge sex] in your face later on. “So that’s not a pro.”

At that point, you have to ask what you hope the revenge sex will accomplish and "closure" is a common answer to that question. House says you should seek closure but closure has nothing to do with revenge. “Closure is all about you making the decision to move on,” she says. “And you don't need someone else to be part of your closure. You don't need to have a conversation with your ex, you don't need to have it out with your ex, and you don't need to get in bed with someone else who is not your ex.”

She suggests coming to the realization that the relationship is over, that you are grateful for what it taught you, and now it's done. Easier said than done, I know.

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