Nursing a broken heart is awful stuff. It’s one of life’s most unpleasant experiences. There’s usually a lot of hurt, pain and sorrow involved. Plus there’s the possibility of all that anger and frustration people can feel when they are unable to reconcile or fix the situation.
Men and women tend to deal with break-ups a little differently. For one, men often suffer in silence and can behave like they aren’t all that affected. So it’s not uncommon for some men to hook up with an ex or a stranger and have themselves some steamy hot rebound sex. This isn’t necessarily because they are in less pain than their former partner. Men can really battle through break-ups. It’s simply a coping mechanism and it seems to alleviate some of the pain they are experiencing.
Rebound sex isn’t just a male thing, and more and more women are finding solace in someone else’s bed. And there’s nothing wrong with that – if clear boundaries are set. It can cause upset to their former partner, however, if they discover their ex has had rebound sex. This is understandable but it doesn’t imply they didn’t really love them.
Some people engage in it because it puts distance between the intimacy shared with their former significant other. They may have deeply loved their ex but they no longer want that physical connection because it hurts. They use rebound sex to achieve this objective.
Now you might be thinking, ‘No f*%#ing way! Isn’t this setting yourself up for a rebound romance? Won’t this only add to the pain?’ Women often confuse love and emotions surrounding sex and this is where the danger lies. Hence, many women stay well away from rebound sex because their fragile emotions contaminate the benefits.
However if emotions are kept in check, there are some real positives relating to rebound sex. This is according to Patricia Rich, a clinical social worker and sex therapist, and Dr Lisa Wade of the sociology department at Occidental College, California. They believe that using sex as a coping mechanism is a motivation that should not be discounted.
When people use rebound sex to soothe their broken heart it’s all about igniting the brain’s pleasure zone. This is often why women will turn to chocolate or ice cream in moments of despair. Comfort foods like these have a similar effect and primarily why people will seek them out. The benefit of rebound sex, however, is that instead of consuming calories, you can expel them!
Then there’s the added benefits of touch that chocolate or ice cream can’t provide. There’s been a heap of studies which reveal touch is a basic human need. For example, babies who don’t get touched can’t develop properly and, in some cases, this neglect has massive repercussions.
Therefore, it’s understandable that in times of deep despair people need to feel the sensation of another. This is primarily why we feel the need to hug someone if we can see they’re sad or down. Sex is the ultimate form of touch so this factor in rebound sex is important.
Of course, rebound sex isn’t for everyone. It’s important to remember people cope with life’s challenges in many different ways. Rebound sex is just one of them. So next time your heart is hurting and you’re looking to feel better, having rebound sex just maybe food for thought!
Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.