Revenge sex means different things to different people
What revenge sex means to you depends on your motivation for doing it. Some people go out looking for a bang to get back at the person who broke up with them. Others do it in an attempt to get over someone.
For some, it’s similar to angry sex
Getting your heart broken or mistreated by someone you care about hurts, y’all! And like angry sex, revenge sex is a common knee-jerk reaction to being scorned.
In a 2014 study of 170 undergrad students who’d experienced a breakup within the previous eight months, 25 percent admitted to having had sex as a form of revenge. Those who’d been broken up with or were angry were most likely to do it.
For others, it’s a type of breakup sex
Just like breakup sex, some will go out and get some as a way to show their ex what they’re missing. The difference being that instead of having sex with your ex, you have it with someone else.
Often, it’s a form of rebound sex
You know the old saying: The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Well, for some, revenge sex takes on more of a rebound sex flavor as an attempt to get over someone faster.
Why do people do it?
The feels. Blame it on the feels. Even the least vindictive person can be driven to revenge sex after a difficult breakup or betrayal.
Here are a few possible reasons why people do it.
To avoid sadness
Sexual activity with another person really can help you avoid sadness, even if just in the moment.
That’s because it triggers the release of oxytocin, or the “love hormone”.
You also get a boost of it when in the throes of new love or lust, which can be a nice break from sobbing to Adele songs after a breakup.
To express anger
There’s a blurry line between revenge sex and the anger bang.
According to the American Psychology Association, anger is usually associated with hostile thoughts and maladaptive behaviors that develop in response to the unwanted actions of someone else — usually someone we like or love.
Feeling angry is usually a sign that you feel hurt, sad, disappointed, unloved, or unwanted too. Uh, yeah!
Sex may be the way you choose to vent your frustration and anger after a breakup. Why? Because slashing their tires is a punishable offense and you were taught better than to punch someone in the throat.
To boost self-esteem
There’s evidence that romantic rejection, unreciprocated feelings, and breakups take a toll on your self-esteem and self-concept.
It isn’t unusual to want an ego boost after a breakup’s given your confidence a beat down. Hooking up with someone can make you feel attractive and wanted, increasing your self-esteem.
To feel in control
When the other person decides to end the relationship, it can make you feel powerless. Some people have revenge sex as a way to feel a sense of control in the situation.
To move on
Revenge sex may be a way to help you move on after feeling trapped in or having trouble letting go of a relationship. You might see sex with someone else as a fresh start.
What benefits does it offer?
If you choose to partake in some vengeful sexual activity, it may actually be good for you.
The health benefits of sex are pretty impressive, and hooking up after a breakup has its own potential benefits:
- It can reassure you that others find you physically attractive.
- It can help you cope with the negative feelings that accompany a breakup.
- The flood of dopamine and serotonin triggered by sex can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
- The surge of oxytocin and endorphins experienced during orgasm can help you sleep better.
- Sexual activity can relieve certain types of headaches, which are often triggered by stress.
- Sex has been linked to an improved general well-being.
Are there any drawbacks to consider?
Revenge sex isn’t for everyone. While some people are able to get in and out unscathed, others may find the aftermath a little sticky, emotionally speaking.
Some cons of revenge sex:
- It can blur the lines of friendship if you have revenge sex with a friend.
- It may bring up old feelings and hurt if you jump into bed with an ex.
- You may feel guilt, shame, or regret afterwards.
- If you’re only doing it to hurt your ex, there’s no guarantee that it will.
The risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is also worth mentioning.
Although there’s some risk of STIs with most types of sexual activity, this risk may be higher when acting on impulse or when judgment is overshadowed by intense emotion.
General do’s and don’ts
If your heart and erogenous zones are set on having revenge sex, here are some do’s and don’ts to help you protect both.
- Do use barrier protection. Condoms can be used for penetrative sex or, if you don’t have a dental dam, to provide a barrier during oral. Be sure to have some on hand.
- Do play it cool. Bragging about your new toy or tryst to your ex will backfire because they’ll see right through you. You won’t look like you’ve moved on and may even come off as desperate — the exact opposite of what you probably want.
- Do be sure it’s over. Give things time to cool down before you do it. If you jump too soon you could be killing any chance of working things out. Be sure it’s really over and not just a fight or rough patch.
- Do be honest with yourself. Are you the kind of person who can have no-strings sex or do you have the tendency to get attached after being intimate? If one night stands have never been your thing, you could be setting yourself up for more heartbreak.
- Do get consent. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the throes of passion or fueled by vodka shots and rage – consent is a MUST. You and your partner should both agree verbally to any sexual contact before it happens.
- Don’t talk about your ex. If you’re using someone to stick it to your ex, you don’t need to broadcast it. Besides, talking about an ex when you’re trying to get busy is so not sexy!
- Don’t revenge screw where you sleep. In other words, don’t bring your rebound bang home. Go to their place or head to a random no-tell motel to keep things casual and the intimacy level down.
- Don’t post about it on social media. It’s tacky, it’s immature, and it could make things tricky for you and them if it gets back to your employers.
- Don’t have it with a friend or ex. Many revenge sex havers do it with a friend or an ex-lover, but this doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go. It can confuse things, open old wounds, and be a disaster for your social life. You’re better off having safer sex with some random from the bar.
- Don’t go in with unrealistic expectations. Breakups are hard, and expecting sex or the person you’re having it with to fix all the hurt is unrealistic and unhealthy. Talk to friends to help you through, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re having trouble coping.
Revenge sex isn’t necessary to get over a breakup, but it can be a way to vent some anger and hurt after having your heart stomped on. You know yourself and what you can and can’t handle. If you’re cool with it, then get out there, be safe, and have fun.Reference:
Barber LL, et al. (2013). Rebound sex: Sexual motives and behaviors following a relationship breakup. DOI:
Davison SL, et al. (2009). Original research—psychology: The relationship between self‐reported sexual satisfaction and general well‐being in women. DOI:
How to recognize and deal with anger. (n.d.).
Mason AE, et al. (2012). Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation.