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If you’re a frequent reader of Rebel Love, you’ve probably gotten the gist over the last several months:

We care about your breakup recovery.

Breakups, like any loss, tend to be weighted with grief and require time to process. But no two breakups weigh the same. The intensity of your breakup will be influenced by factors like the length of the relationship, the emotional investment you put into it, the amount of time you and your partner spent together, and the amount of previous romantic experience you have had.

While these details of connection are significant, we can’t forget another main player:

Sex and intimacy.

While society often emphasizes the emotional and romantic aspects of relationships, physical connection holds its own unique significance. Intimacy, especially the “rock your world” kind, leaves us drifting off into steamy memories.

Ideally, I wish everyone could look back on their love life and think, “man, I’ve had some really great sex,” but the truth is, sometimes great sex poses its own  problems…

Particularly when you’re striving to let go of the individual with whom you shared that great sex.

Have you ever struggled to move on from an ex because they were the best sex you ever had?

Putting Out the Fire

a photo of a woman and a man's legs on a bed

If you find yourself reminiscing about an ex because they were the best sex you’ve ever had, you’re not the only one. Such memories can linger, even after a relationship has run its course. They have the power to hold us hostage and make us question whether lightning can strike twice.

I’m here to remove that self-doubt and remind you that sex with your ex doesn’t have to be your final, ecstatic human experience between the sheets. In fact, an ex who left such an indelible mark in terms of pleasure should be a reminder of what’s possible! They are not the god of pleasure, nor will they be the only human with whom you share such potent chemistry. So, how does one find more pleasure in new relationships?

Let’s Get on the Same Page

This is a complex emotional landscape – sorry. However, there are strategies you can use to gain perspective and understand that sex is just one facet of romantic relationships. Good sex doesn’t eliminate other pain points, nor does it, alone, lead to a happy ever after.

While the physical connection between you and your ex might have been remarkable, it’s just one aspect of that romantic chapter, and only a page in your journey to pleasure.

It’s time to shed the fear that your ex-partner was your last, sensational hoorah. There are new experiences, connections, and depths of intimacy waiting to be explored!

How important do you think physical intimacy is in a romantic relationship?

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Moving on from an ex where the physical connection was particularly intense can be challenging. That’s why it’s important to allow yourself to feel the feels as they arise.

There’s only one path to getting over an ex:

Through the emotions.

Processing and healing require acknowledgement and acceptance of your current situation and state of being. It’s only in that acknowledgment that you can build the foundation to heal and grow.

Recognize that it’s normal to miss the intimacy and acknowledge any sense of loss. Then, permit yourself to experience these feelings – let them metabolize, knowing that on the other side of that pain and longing profound insight and joy are possible.

This is the first step to moving on.

Have you ever found yourself idealizing an ex's physical connection while ignoring other aspects of the relationship?

Think of the Relationship as a Whole

Yes, the physical aspect may have been pleasing, but there were other aspects to the relationship as well. Possibly some that were hurtful.

Maybe sparks flew when they kissed you in that deep, tender way, but snuffed them out every time they dismissed your feelings.

Perhaps the electricity you felt when they touched your skin was instantly shut down each time they proved to be unreliable.

How about the way your bodies fit together like corresponding puzzle pieces, and yet, their lack of support made you feel like an island in your own home…

Give yourself time to reflect on the dynamics you shared with your ex.

  • What was wrong from the start?
  • What needs of yours weren’t being met?
  • What were some crucial incompatibilities?
  • What flaws did you notice in their communication, values, behaviors…?

Those are just some examples of why you shouldn’t focus solely on the physical aspects of your past relationship; it is not the whole picture, it’s not the whole truth.

Acknowledge the parts that didn’t work and that contributed to the breakup, despite how good the sex may have been. When you start viewing the relationship in its entirety, you help put the intimate connection into a more balanced perspective, which will support your breakup recovery.

Bringing us to…

Sex Isn’t Everything

Sex alone cannot sustain a relationship.

While the physical intimacy you shared with your ex was undoubtedly powerful, remind yourself that a fulfilling relationship involves (much, much) more than just sex.

Emotional connection, shared values, mutual respect, shared interests, and effective communication are all vital aspects of a healthy partnership. And that’s just the foundational stuff. A relationship is a place where you should feel safe and on the same page; it requires a shared sense of ease and support, interests and common goals.

When moving on from an intense physical connection with an ex, what do you find most challenging?

Take time to consider what other qualities you value in a relationship beyond the physical connection. Write a list if it makes you feel better!

Sex with your ex may conjure strong feelings right now, but if you set your mind to a forward focus and imagine a future that includes a relationship with those desired qualities, eventually you will see sex with your ex for what it most likely was:

The best part of a dead-end relationship.

Sex is a Practice and Can Get Good with the Right Person

As adults we tend to forget this fundamental truth:

Essentially all life experiences are acquired through some form of learning. 

a photo of a man and woman on the bed. The man is lying on his back while the woman is on top of the man looking through their eyes

Consider the classic analogy of the kid learning to walk. Each stumble and fall is met with a natural determination to get back up and try again. There’s never a moment of, “well, this just isn’t gonna work for me. I quit.”

No, they persist because they have this innate comprehension of the rewards and gratification that come from learning how to walk.

This is not a special case in life.

Sex and intimacy are learned skills that can evolve and improve over time with a receptive partner.

There are exceptions whereby two bodies come together for the first time, and it just works. But for the majority of us, sex with a new partner is awkward and clumsy. Both parties are learning to navigate a whole new terrain. It’s okay if the ride is bumpy for a little while, in fact, if you get comfortable with that uncertainty and the mutual goal of getting better together, even the clumsy sex can contribute to emotionally fulfilling and sexually satisfying experiences.

All of that to say:

The physical chemistry you shared with your ex would never be enough to sustain your relationship; however, that level of satisfaction can be cultivated again with the right person who shares the same interest in pleasure and willingness to try.

How do you approach communication about intimacy with new partners?

Make a Commitment: Sex with Your Ex, Nevermore

Cue gasp…

Listen, deep down you know this is the best thing for you. If you keep holding onto the idea that sex with your ex is as good as it’s going to get, the inevitable will happen:

You’ll cave and prolong the healing process.

My suggestion? Round up your closest friends and ask them to be your anti-ex-sex sponsor. Having a buddy system in place will safeguard this healing process.

Human beings tend to do well when they are held accountable for their actions, so reach out to those you trust most and ask them for support.

When those late-night pangs of loneliness strike and the urge for a little excitement tempts you to grab your phone, shoot a message to your friend instead. Share that you’re grappling with the itch and are struggling to resist. Let them reinforce your initial commitment to refraining from your ex and have them remind you that parting ways with your ex was a smart move.

The evidence will slowly reveal itself, and you’ll realize this was the best thing for you. You won’t regret it, in fact, your self-esteem will benefit.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a healthy partnership?

Communicate with New Partners

Keep all of these insights in your back pocket as you step onto the dating scene.

Embrace open and honest communication; however, direct your attention toward more than just your physical needs. Pay attention to how potential partners respond to your genuine and candid conversations—it’s a litmus test for whether they truly align with your values and desires.

a photo of a man and woman on the bed, sitting down facing each other and about to kiss

When the time is right, don’t hesitate to share your past experiences with a new partner, including the fact that you had a strong physical connection with an ex. Sharing this information can help nurture a deeper understanding and lead to discussions on what made the connection so strong, and how it can be cultivated as your relationship develops.

When speaking about sex and intimacy, expressing your desires and boundaries will give both you and (the right) partner a sense of ease. By providing a roadmap to your pleasure, you are building a bond where it’s safe to explore and discuss. This openness can pave the way for a more satisfying connection that goes beyond the physical by building trust and respect.

By eliminating any guess work, you and potential partners can approach sex and intimacy with clarity and confidence.

Have you ever regretted reconnecting with an ex for purely physical reasons after a breakup?

Beyond Exes: A Prologue to Pleasure

Yes, moving on from an ex with whom you shared “the best sex of your life” undoubtedly requires time, self-reflection, and a balanced perspective.

Take a moment to focus on you and your needs, knowing there’s always time for new and equally fulfilling connections. Rather than getting hung up on the sex you won’t be having, embrace the opportunity to grow emotionally and seek out connections that encompass all the dimensions of a healthy partnership.

Mind-blowing sex included.

From one pleasure-seeking person to another: there’s no such thing as going pleasure broke. So, don’t settle for a slice – despite how tasty that slice may be – when you can take home the whole damn pie.

How do you view the potential for future pleasure and intimacy after a breakup?

Until next time,

Be well, friends!

Quean Mo xx