The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Sexclamations: Sticky Sex

4 min read


Staff Writer

It is our naivete and libido that lead us, college students, to believe that any sex is good sex.
In certain regards, this demonstrates a healthy sexual attitude, but sometimes this outlook leads us into confusing territory that we don’t know how to navigate.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal road map to lead us out of sticky sexual situations, but this column hopes to provide you with the bearings to find your own sense of direction.
Today I will focus on three of the stickiest scenarios: make-up sex, break-up sex and the ever ambiguous break-up/make-up sex, which for the purposes of clarity I shall call “ex-sex.”  Obviously, I don’t have all the answers, but these are some issues you should be mulling over before you make your mistake–I mean decision.

The best part about fighting with your significant other is the making up­–especially when it involves sex. There is an old relationship adage: “never go to bed angry,” but it seems like those who defy such wisdom wake up feeling anything but angry. Although this is not a Dr. Phil approved method to resolve a dispute, it is a common college technique. Make-up sex can occur at two different times: during the fight or after the fight. The latter is a kind of reconciliatory sex after the “I’m so sorry, you’re right, let’s never fight again” routine. It serves as the physical reassurance that everything is now OK.

However, the former is sex in order to solve the dispute.  On one hand, this is genius, because most people would rather be having sex than yelling at someone whom they love/like a lot. Instead of opening a can of worms, this approach actually just stuffs more worms in the can while trying to keep the lid on tight. Meaning: instead of dealing with difficult and possibly hurtful issues, commandeering a fight by having sex can be a way of avoiding facing relationship problems. Don’t worry this isn’t always the case. If you’re having a knock-down, drag-out fight about who forgot to put the lid on the toothpaste, then go ahead, hop into bed and “make-up.”

But if your boyfriend just told you he has been cheating on you with your best friend, perhaps it’s a good idea to go sex free for a while (at least until he gets his STD test results back).
Another concern about make up sex is that it’s not necessarily healthy to be enjoying very angry sex.  However, this isn’t my area of expertise, I’ll let you psych majors worry about that one.
Break-up sex is a similar, but more unforgiving event.

According to the “Urban Dictionary,” it is either having sex with someone with the intention to break up with them afterward or having sex immediately after a break-up.
I’m trying not to be judgmental, but if you’ve committed the former, then you’re just a jerk. Lying in bed naked, post-coitus is the last place on earth anyone wants to be dumped, so just don’t do it.
Yet, post-break-up sex isn’t quite as definitively evil, especially if the dumped party says something along the lines of “can we still have sex?”

However, if you’re doing the dumping, please understand that saying “but we can still have sex” is by no means comforting; in fact, it borders insulting. This kind of break-up sex is like one last hoorah, now that you both know it might be a while before more sex comes along.  It’s a pretty safe kind of sex if certain conditions are met: both parties want to have sex and both parties understand that the break-up (and roll in the hay) are absolutely final.

Last, but not the least sticky, is “ex-sex.” A hybrid of break-up and make-up sex, ex-sex refers to relations with a recently estranged significant other with the subliminal hope of reconciliation.
Of course, it seems self-evidently stupid to start having sex with an ex, but there are some often overlooked perks. For example, it could mean you’re sleeping with fewer people.  Instead of hooking up with a new guy, whom you’re not ready to date, you could hook up with the ex who doesn’t require a 20-minute lecture with a chart to know what turns you on.

Sexual intimacy can be difficult, and even without a title familiarity somehow always feels right.  In ex-sex, usually, one person is secretly praying for reunion, which spells “Danger Will Robinson.”
When one person is planning a future while the other simply wants a Saturday night bed warmer, the emotional stickiness skyrockets.

If you chose to partake in ex-sex there are several things you should not forget. The relationship ended for a reason and whatever it may be, it probably still exists.
Even though you may not be ready to date quite yet, you’re making it virtually impossible to fully get over your ex. Your ex may fall for someone else while you’re sleeping together.  Can you handle that?

Finally: never confuse ex-sex or break-up sex with make-up sex, because it is rarely the result.