Confessions of a 20-something #15

Graphic Jenny Kwan

A recent study conducted among undergraduate students at the University of Missouri concluded that in the first month following a break up, one third of participants had engaged in a sexual relationship with a new partner.

In other words, folks in Missouri have loosened their collars and acknowledged the existence of what we fondly refer to as ‘rebound’ or ‘revenge’ sex. And let me tell you, it’s about time.

Rebound sex is a spectacular, empowering and cathartic experience that should be outrightly acknowledged and discussed. It is a far more prevalent, and positive experience than people seem to think.

Unfortunately, the brains behind the study referred to these self-executed ‘slut phases’ as forms of maladaptive behaviour. It’s a common belief that engaging in rebound sex is a bad, self-destructive habit, driven by anger and a need for validation when in a vulnerable state. I mean, that is conceivably the case when you’re coming out of endless months of those “it’s not you, it’s me” speeches, but rebound sex is not necessarily driven by the need to fill an emotional void.

The generalization about rebound sex being mostly for women exists, no doubt. People have this preconceived notion that newly single women are driven solely by venom, bitterness and a need to unload their emotional baggage on an unsuspecting partner.

For all intents and purposes, I’m not going to disclose whether I am a man or a woman. The fact is irrelevant. Physical need extends to all demographics of people, regardless of their gender, social/sexual status, or romantic circumstance.

Having sex with someone purely for revenge is like poisoning yourself — it’s ineffective and can be harmful in the long run. However, channelling residual anger into a need for physical release is understandable. Sex releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Think of sex as a salve for the raw wounds of a break up. I’m not saying it’s a solution, per se, but it is a step forward into independence. It is a way to distance yourself from the negativity of a bad relationship, move forward, and gain back some sense of empowerment.

Yes, I am fresh out of a long term relationship, and yes, I am having what would be considered rebound sex. And in case you were wondering, I am currently enjoying the hell out of it.

After being weighed down for so long by an emotionally toxic partner, I am entitled to have a little fun. Though my initial reservations were related to outward judgement and the lack of logic in the situation, I’ve come to realize that I can exercise my right to no-strings attached sexual pleasure whenever I see fit. If I want to shed my inhibitions and experiment, so be it. If I want to sit in class and know that there are bite marks on my chest, that’s only for me to know.

I personally think that it’s a good experience to take a step out of your comfort zone and deviate from your ‘normal’ (and possibly redundant) social interactions. However, non-committal sex is not for everyone. Whatever extra-curricular activities you engage in, make sure they are consensual and mutual. You don’t want to be the cause of someone else’s broken heart, because then the cycle just perpetuates itself.

In the end, if it makes you feel good, do it. Don’t worry about the right or wrong way to move past a relationship. Don’t worry about judgement, just do you.

And if the only thing you want to do on your back is drink from the bottle and watch bad movies, then so be it.


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