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Pursuing Sex with an Ex: Does It Hinder Breakup Recovery?

  • Stephanie S. Spielmann
  • Samantha Joel
  • Emily A. Impett
Original Paper

Abstract

The present research used longitudinal methods to test whether pursuing sex with an ex-partner hinders breakup recovery. Participants completed a month-long daily diary immediately following a breakup, as well as a two-month follow-up (Study 1). Daily analyses revealed positive associations between trying to have sex with an ex-partner and emotional attachment to the ex-partner, but not other aspects of breakup recovery, such as distress, intrusive thoughts, or negative affect. Longitudinal changes from day to day, and over 2 months, revealed that pursuing sex with an ex was not a predictor of breakup recovery over time. To address the limitation that Study 1 only assessed attempted sexual pursuits, Study 2 explored associations between pursuit of, and actual engagement in, sexual activities with ex-partners. Results revealed that most sexual pursuits were successful, and success rates were not associated with breakup recovery. Findings challenge common beliefs about potential harm of pursuing sex with an ex.

Keywords

Breakups Ex-partners Sex Longitudinal methods 

Notes

Funding

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through an Insight Grant awarded to E. A. Impett and Doctoral Fellowships awarded to S. S. Spielmann and S. Joel.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10508_2018_1268_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada

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