Some people say it’s the worst idea imaginable. But hey, we all grew up with the virtues of recycling, right? When it comes to having sex with an ex, there are a lot of factors at play. 

It might be better the second time around, but you also might be setting yourself up for heartbreak. Unfortunately, you won’t really know until you’re in the moment. But there are a few factors that make it a little more in your favor. 

You are both at peace with the breakup and have remained friends

This is the gold standard for sex with an ex. There’s no bad blood, no residual feelings, just a genuine appreciation for them as a person. You’re both single, so why not enjoy some familiar comfort from time to time? 

The tricky part here is that it’s almost guaranteed that one of you will meet someone and cut the friends-with-benefits arrangement off before the other necessarily wants to. Be honest with yourself: how is that going to play out? If you’re fine moving on to the next one and won’t have any issues with it, go for it. But if it’s going to feel like breaking up all over again, it’s best to cauterize that wound and let it be.  

You don’t line in the same area anymore

There’s a reason it’s such a cliche to get the “you up” message when you’re back home for the holidays. Having something concrete, like physical distance, between you is a great way to keep the sex casual and prevent it from creeping back into relationship territory. 

It also means that a lot of time can pass before you see each other again. Whereas it might be crazy painful to find out that your ex started dating someone a week after you slept together, it’s not going to have the same sting if you find out that your next Christmas hookup might not be in the cards. This also makes sex with exes perfect when you know that one of both of you will be leaving. Maybe you’re both graduating and know that you’ll be living too far away to sustain a relationship in the future. It’s fine to break up but enjoy each other’s physical joys for as long as you can. In fact, it can give some low-pressure, happy memories to end on a good note, after you’ve already decided to part ways. 

You can realistically say that you’ll be OK when it ends again

Maybe the relationship wasn’t all that impactful and the breakup just wasn’t that painful. That’s a perfect recipe for casual ex sex. You can focus on the parts that attracted you two together in the first place while de-emphasizing the parts of you that just weren’t relationship material. 

You’re looking into sex that has some emotional boundaries built into it

Maybe you and your ex are looking at a threesome together, or group sex, or something else that will have a little buffer of the one-on-one intimacy you used to have. This might be a great way to make sure that your feelings don’t get too involved if you don’t want them to.