Being on the rebound after a break-up can be exciting, cathartic and daunting — often all at once. When a relationship ends, especially a serious or long-term one, you're often flooded with a sea of emotions, and many of them are negative. The rush of feelings in and of itself is hard to handle. You often crave comfort, intimacy and self-assurance. Your confidence took a hit, and for many, having sex is a go-to way to feel a little better. But, is rebound sex going to help or hurt in terms of your overall healing process?
People are usually motivated to seek rebound sex for the following reasons: they want self-affirmation, they want to get over their former partner or they want to cope with negative feelings — stress, insecurity, anger and more. While it might seem like getting a little action is no big deal (and we are all for you getting it on!), the tumultuous nature of being on the rebound after a break-up means there is a lot you should consider. There are tons of different perspectives out there — from the experts to all your friends who are cheering you on — so we'll narrow some of them down so you can decide what's right for you. We've discussed sex after a break-up before, but now we're going to dig deeper into the ins and outs of rebound sex.
What Is a Rebound After a Break-Up?
A rebound is the confusing (often painful) time right after the end of a serious or long-term relationship — hence that idea of "being on the rebound." The term "rebound" can also refer to the first person you date or see during that period. Rebound relationships can be broadly defined as those that begin while you still have feelings about your previous relationship — before you find true closure. These relationships have a reputation as being non-serious and lacking real potential because you're simply not over your ex yet. It's an emotional period, and any relationship might be considered a simple distraction from larger problems.
What Is Rebound Sex?
Rebound sex is when you do the dirty with someone (who is not your ex) during that confusing time after a difficult break-up. Generally, it's characterized as sex specifically meant to ease the pain of losing someone you cared about. Some people see rebound sex as crucial to getting over your ex, while others say you should hold off until you're thinking clearly. Regardless of whether it helps or hurts, it's definitely common — most people who've been through tough break-ups say they've engaged in rebound sex in one way or another.
So, Is Rebound Sex a Good Idea?
As with anything regarding your sex life, there's no clear answer to this question. It's a lot more complicated than just wondering if rebound sex will make you horny and get you off — the answer to that is, "Yeah, probably." You're still a human with sexual needs! But when people ask if it's a good idea, they usually want to know if it'll help in the healing process, and the answer to that is where things can get tricky.
Will It Help You Move On?
There's no wrong way to get your sexy back after a break-up, and rebound sex can have some positive effects. That said, most experts agree that it is not a necessary part of moving on. Others say it can be a step toward a new, authentic relationship, but the rebound itself is unlikely to become serious. It can relieve some of the post-break-up doubt you have, for sure. Rebound sex can boost your confidence by reminding you that you're still good enough for another person, you won't be alone forever and you can still "get it."
Additionally, a rebound after a break-up can fulfill your physical needs and facilitate some healing by bridging the gap between the physical and emotional parts of yourself — at least in the short-term. In this way, the sex can be cathartic, allowing you to forget some of the problems that have been eating away at you, provided it's reasonably safe and consensual (as all sex should be). Its effectiveness will vary from person to person, and only you know what's right for you. If you're unsure, but you have rebound sex anyway, listen to your body and your feelings before, during and after. If you still feel good, then you're on the right track. If you feel bad, you might need to take a step back and focus on yourself. Listening to yourself during this time is crucial, as is understanding your intentions.
Intent Is Important — What Do You Want Out of Rebound Sex?
Like most things in life, you want to make sure you're going after rebound sex with good intentions and/or for the right reasons. Only you know what feels right to you, but there are several ways it could go "wrong" very quickly. If the sex is a way to get back at your ex, that's not good for anyone. "Revenge sex," that is, sex meant to hurt your ex, can damage your own psyche in the long run. Having rebound sex just to "prove" you're over your ex (to yourself or someone else) doesn't really accomplish much. Both of these things just suggest you need more time to heal.
Also, if rebound sex isn't just about distraction but avoiding processing your emotions altogether, you'll likely wind up feeling empty. It might fill the void temporarily, but once it's over, the void will remain. However, if the sex you have allows you to reconnect your body to your sexuality outside of your past relationship, it can be helpful — provided you've given yourself time to feel the weight of the break-up first. Ultimately, you have to do your best to recognize rebound sex for what it is — for most, it's just a physical release and a distraction, not a step toward moving on or gaining a new relationship.
Other Factors to Consider
Even if you just want rebound sex as a simple distraction, there can be some unintended consequences. For one, you may wind up simply missing your ex more if the sex is unsatisfying in some way. Any rebound after a break-up should give you something new — a new physical sensation, a new experience, a regained sense of fun and excitement. If it can do that, then get it! There are no guarantees, though, and waiting for the right moment to come along can improve your chances.
Having a rebound after a break-up can also bring more pain than its worth. You might wind up hurting your rebound person, which will bring up feelings of guilt on top of everything else. Since you're likely in a vulnerable state, there's a risk that you could be exploited or taken advantage of. That's not to say you shouldn't do it — just be aware of all it might entail. Again, if it feels good and distracts your thoughts and body, then it's doing its job! It can disrupt your mental connection to your ex by teaching your brain to feel good without them around. Whether rebound sex is good or not is debatable and differs for everyone, but it's certainly risky.
Finally, don't discredit the idea of having a non-physical rebound after a break-up. Getting a little comfort through talking and texting with someone can provide many of the same benefits with much less risk. That way, you can have sex when you're good and ready!
How Long Should You Wait to Rebound After a Break-Up?
The short answer — until you're ready. This is yet another factor that will differ for everyone, and there are plenty of different perspectives on the matter. Some research shows that people who go into a rebound relationship faster have better mental and physical health, as well as overall confidence, because they can get a sense of resolution about their previous relationship sooner. However, these folks are also more likely to compare their new partner to their ex, which could increase their sense of longing.
Other experts say the time you should wait for a rebound after a break-up depends on your previous relationship's length and seriousness. On average, most say that you need at least one or two months to fully process a break-up, mourn and integrate the lessons you learned into your life. Ultimately, the state of mind that you're in is more vital than time itself. If you're still crying all the time or trying to drown your sorrows with alcohol, you might not be ready for rebound sex. However, if you've resumed normal life activities, like spending time with friends or starting new projects, you might be good to go. The more time you take, the more learning you can do about yourself and the way you interact with others. A little fling is rarely a bad thing if you keep your emotions in check. If you take the necessary time to heal, then rebound sex can be more fulfilling than just "filling a hole" (mentally and, ahem, physically).
Why Does Rebound Sex Seem So Steamy?
Feelings aside, rebound sex is often hot as hell. Mostly, that's because it's new and has a sense of being taboo — that's enough to make any romp in the bedroom full of fire. If you're ready, you can also take advantage of the opportunity to explore some brand-new sexual experiences. Sex toys are an incredible way to do this:
- Sex Toys for Couples — You don't have to be in a serious relationship to enjoy toys meant for two.
- Bondage Sex Toys and BDSM Gear — If you've never had a collar on or strapped someone up to a bed, rebound sex is the perfect chance to try it (if your new partner is into it, that is).
- Anal Sex Toys — Maybe your ex didn't get down with backdoor action; time to find someone who does.
No matter how you get down when you want to get dirty, just make sure that you always practice safe sex.
Make Rebound Sex Even Hotter with PinkCherry
When you're ready for a rebound after a break-up, PinkCherry's selection of sex toys has you covered. This time is all about you — exploring your body, your mind and your emotions. New experiences are on the horizon, and that's almost always a good thing. We'll help you put a little spice into that journey — whenever you're ready!