SATRC: Breakup sex is bullshit

Welcome to Sex and the River City: your progressive, sex-positive sex and love advice column.

Kenna Cook

I used to think that I needed to have breakup sex. That regardless of how the relationship ended, the only true farewell was a last hookup and then the credits could roll. Like it was some signifier that there was one redeemable quality to the bullshit toxicity that most likely led us to the breakup.

The idea that you should have sex with a partner to have some sort of closure in a relationship is emotionally unhealthy.

Since my sexual liberation in my late twenties, the idea of breakup sex being a cure-all to breakup blues has not held true and I’ve been much better off for believing it.

I have had amazing, intense sexual connections with people who couldn’t show up for me emotionally, so breakup sex is the last thing I wanted. If you can’t treat my heart right, this nookie is not for you.

I have had exes become part-time hookup buddies after we broke up. Removing emotion from sex is both possible and problematic. I’ve also had post-breakup rebound sex with former flings and exes—again problematic and a poor coping mechanism.

But the idea that breakup sex is closure that will somehow make the heartache less achey still finds its way into my head.

I’ve noticed that most of my relationships start to take a turn south when our sexual chemistry begins to fizzle. Sometimes I think (read: justify) that I’m just giving my partner space because they are going through a tough time. I don’t want to force my needs for physical connection because I want to respect their boundaries. But I can’t deny the fact that my primary love language is physical touch and core to my relationship needs.

I’ve learned that checking in with a partner and honoring my primary love language is way more important than suffering and not reading the very clear signs that my needs aren’t being met and therefore the relationship can not sustain.

We all want to remember the “last time” as the best sex ever, but breakup sex will never be a replacement for honoring your needs. It’s a far better thing to grab your Hitachi and a pint of ice cream and use self-love as self-care.

You can find me in the Ben & Jerry’s aisle, folks.

Got a burning desire, a burning sensation or an issue that’s about to burn down your house? Email Kenna for sex & love advice at kennac.se@gmail.com.

This column originally appeared on Kenna’s Medium page.

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Kenna Cook
Kenna Cook is a pansexual, polyamorous, pun-loving pleasure professional and single parent born and raised in the River City. Whether you're inspired or mystified by all those nouns, send your sex and love questions to her for deep-dive discussion each week.