There’s a belief going around in some circles about women and broken relationships. It’s commonly said that the only way for a woman to get over one man is to get underneath another one. There are some women who swear by this standard and will move quickly into another intimate relationship after their marriage or relationship fails. Whether or not you believe in using sex as a means of ridding yourself of a new man and cementing yourself with a new, there can be no question that sex can be relationship-defining.
While some proponents of casual sex will say that using sex to grease one’s ego, to make oneself feel good, or for recreational and relaxation purposes is no big deal, the research confirms otherwise. Sex has an inherent component which glues individuals together; regardless. In other words, we don’t just have sex and get away scot free; there are consequences to sexual joining, no matter our motivation.
The hormone Oxytocin plays a significant part in our sexual encounters. It fosters feelings of connection and belongingness when we hug, kiss, touch and orgasm with our partner. While this binding is an aspect of the built-in spirituality of sex, it does not need ideal relationship conditions to occur. There is nothing written in the fine-print of sex to suggest that sexual oneness or binding or connection, only occurs with marriage vows or when there is love in the relationship. It in fact occurs with all types of sexual encounters. This means that when we misuse sex to prove a point about our worth, value or desirability; when we seek out new sexual opportunities just for the fun of it, we may actually be doing more harm than good. We may be contributing to our own emotional confusion by connecting ourselves indiscriminately to someone else, while still being tied to a previous spouse or partner.
Premature sex can encourage a false sense of intimacy. Even when we think we’re simply being casual, the passion of sex can mess with our heads. It can mimic love through its intensity and this can cause us to gloss over the glaring flaws in the new individual we may be having sex with. The headiness of sex can also prevent us from facing our own neediness or low self-esteem. Sex alone can never be an adequate therapy for feelings of worthlessness. In fact, the individual who falls too quickly into sex after a break-up proves that she is unable to stand on her own two feet.
Because sex is what it is, it should never be used to test-drive a new man, particularly after a woman has been hurt. Sex too soon will cloud the issue of the pain and rejection a woman must deal with in her own heart; particularly if her previous relationship has been marred by infidelity or abuse. This type of replacement sex, especially if it’s ‘good’ will get the hormones going and will foster feelings of attachment. Such attachment, however, is premature and shallow and is hardly the foundation for a better relationship with someone new.
So what should we do in the face of a relationship’s demise?
Evaluate: Understanding why a relationship ended is a critical aspect of moving forward into emotional health. This involves knowing our relationship style in terms of whether we were too clingy, insecure, demanding or even the model partner who just got a raw deal. This is also a time for taking responsibility, if in any way we contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. This should allow us the capacity to change those aspects of ourselves which we may need to and is also critical for our personal growth.
Reconnect: Using the time when a marriage or relationship ends to reconnect with ourselves, to clarify our relationship values and to determine what is really important to us, should be far more important than indiscriminately jumping into another man’s bed.
Treasure Transition: In the event that we are entirely the victim of a cheating or abusive partner, then our relationship transition period is a time to take fresh stock in determining what we will no longer tolerate from any man. It should also be a period of self-affirmation and even forgiveness. Taking bitterness and resentment forward will be harmful to any prospective relationship. This is why we need time to grieve what we had so that we can be healed of the effects of a painful relationship before moving on. Sex can cloud this issue and leave us exposed and vulnerable to further abuse.
While the desire for human connection and intimacy is understood, using sex as a short-cut to such is counterproductive. If at the time of a break-up, we forego this essential period of reflection, healing and growth, we could easily find ourselves smack dab in the middle of another bad relationship.
Denise J Charles is Director & Relationship Coach at Better Blends Relationship Institute e mail firstname.lastname@example.org