Long-term Relationships

Dear Emily,

I just got out of a long-term relationship. I still talk to my ex all the time and we’re really good friends right now, even though we live in different cities. He and I never had the most exciting sex life while we were together, but now that I’m single, I’m ready to have my sex life back! So I was just wondering what your advice would be for someone who is newly single and physically ready, but maybe not entirely emotionally ready?

Liz, North Carolina

Dear Liz,

I think it’s great that you’ve pinpointed exactly where you’re at right now– no strings attached sex, or commonly known as a  “Friends With Benefits” relationship. Remember that even though you say you’re not emotionally ready, it can be challenging to balance the physical with the emotional. After having sex, we sometimes get prematurely attached.

In biological terms, the female orgasm releases a burst of oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone. It’s what makes you feel warm and fuzzy and what facilitates a sense of attachment. If there’s no deeper emotional connection or meaningfulness, an orgasm can become a regretful reminder of the hollowness of the sex that preceded it. This is called “post-orgasm regret,” and it typically manifests itself in the form of sadness or anger. So be aware that although you’re not looking for a relationship now, biology might trump your intentions. Remember to be mindful every step of the way and keep a close tab on your feelings.

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