When you go through a breakup, having sex with someone new can be daunting. In addition to losing your significant other, you lose touch with your sexuality. This loss is one of many you may experience after a split. Heartbreak can tarnish things you once cherished. Memories, places, music, and objects become painful reminders of the love you’ve lost.
Eighteen months ago, I left a man I’d been with for fifteen years. We parted under uniquely upsetting circumstances and it was very hard to salvage any positive feelings about the relationship. Afterward, the world became a minefield of emotional triggers. I’d lost more than love. I’d lost other things that were precious – pieces of myself. It felt as though fourteen years of my life been erased.
This is the first of three posts about how I took those pieces of myself back. Take It Back #2 is about taking back the music I lost to the pain of my divorce. Take It Back #3 is about how I started reclaiming objects of sentimental value. This post tells the story of how I reconnected with my sexuality and began having sex after my breakup.
How I Lost My Desire to Have Sex After My Breakup
Emitt and I divorced/broke up because he was cheating on me. We’d been together for 15 years, married for two months and engaged for a year before that. I’d spent the last fourteen months of our relationship mentally gearing up for life-long monogamy. I held my sexuality sacred. It was my gift to my future husband and no one else. Emitt contributed to this mindset. He frequently told me I belonged to him. He asked me promise I would be his forever. It seemed so romantic – proof of the depth of our love.
When we split up those messages stuck with me. The thought of another man touching me made me cringe. This didn’t stop me from dating, but I was dating but was constantly ducking goodnight kisses and other advances. I was afraid that I would have an emotional breakdown if I tried to have sex with someone new. Sex after my breakup seemed completely unappetizing..
The Quest For Sexual Desire Begins
Then I met Ivan. Ivan came to me courtesy of Tinder. The first time we met, I didn’t feel any real attraction. But he was cute, and I enjoyed his company, so I agreed to a second date. Ivan looked like any number of straight-laced yuppies. But beneath his chinos and button-down shirt, he was an avid sexual explorer.
On our second date, before ever making a move, Ivan initiated a conversation about sex that blew my repressed mind wide open. He was open and honest about sex in a way that was completely new to me. By the end of the night, this relative stranger knew more about my sexual likes, dislikes, and fantasies than Emitt ever did. When I told him about my sexual inhibitions , he suggested we plan a night in a hotel to start working through them.
My First Post-Breakup Sexual Encounter
On the day of my hotel date with Ivan, I was all nerves. I felt like I was about to lose my virginity all over again. And I still wasn’t sure I could keep it together once my clothes came off.
But to my surprise, when we started fooling around, I had no trouble maintaining my composure. Any sentimentality was drowned out by the excitement of the new experience. The novelty of what was happening was distracting commanded much of my attention. I was keenly aware of the differences between Emmit and Ivan. Ivan was soft and furry all over, where Emitt was almost entirely hairless. Ivan made a low growling sound that stood in contrast to Emitts relative silence. The experience was surreal, but the sex was amazing.
But there was one detail of that night that made it uniquely cathartic. The hotel Ivan chose was one I’d stayed in with Emitt a few months prior. Emitt had taken me there as one of his many attempts to redeem himself. The room Ivan booked was on a different floor, but it had the same floor plan and view. Ivan didn’t know when he made the reservation, and I never let on.
Instead of ruining the evening, this coincidence worked in my favor. It gave the experience ritualistic significance. I felt like I was betraying Emitt in the same way he betrayed me. It was empowering and incredibly erotic. In between those sheets, face pressed into Ivan’s chest hair I rediscovered my sexual power.
The Search for My Sexuality Continues
Since then, I’ve found other, smaller ways to take back my sexuality. For example – when I sold my house I brought all the bedroom furniture to my new place and arranged it as it was before. Now I get deep satisfaction every time another man makes love to me on that bed. I’ve done naughty selfie, photoshoots dressed in the lingerie Emitt showered me with. Sending those pictures to other men has completely exorcised him from the clothes and my memories. I also have a vibrator Emitt gave me on the night we stayed at the hotel. It’s now my favorite toy. I use it almost nightly, and when I lay back and close my eyes, my fantasies are my own. These may sound like token gestures, but they’ve helped me learn to enjoy sex after my breakup.
There are three ideas I have for anyone who’s felt robbed of their sexuality after a breakup. They have worked well for me, but should not be taken as expert advice. I do not recommend having sex with someone new just to get it over with. Wait until you find an Ivan – someone you feel safe and comfortable with. I also suggest find ing someone you can have an ongoing sexual relatonship with. I didn’t fully reconnect with my sensual-self in one night. It was a process, and Ivan helped guide me through it over a few months.
Four Ways to Take Back Your Sexuality and Desire to Have Sex
#1 Get Mad
Harness your heartbreak and channel it into anger. Stop mourning the loss of your sexuality and start avenging it. Be vindictive. Don’t just take your sensual self back – take it away from your ex. Defend your capacity for pleasure like a mother bear protecting her cub. Remember that your right to intimacy and desire is precious, innate, and entirely yours.
#2 Harness The Eroticism
If you’re holding your past relationship sacred, you can make sex with someone new the forbidden fruit. Tap into the taboo and excitement that often tempt people into affairs. Recall the times you felt tempted to stray and imagine yourself succumbing to those urges. Embrace the eroticism of exploring sex outside your past relationship.
#3 Get In Touch With Your Body
When I was with Emitt, I masturbated, but I was primarily focused on my sex life. After I left him, I started taking the time to explore pleasure outside of sex. If you’re newly single, start experimenting with different toys and means of achieving orgasm. Allow yourself time for foreplay and touch yourself in areas besides your genitals. Take baths and engage in other sensual activities. When I started doing these things, I started to appreciate my body’s capacity for pleasure. That, in turn, has improved sex with a partner.
#4 Try Sexting
Sexting is a pressure-free way to start exploring sex after a breakup. Ivan turned me on to sexting, but sexting does not require a real-life relationship. Thanks to dating apps and the internet it isn’t hard to find someone who wants to sext. Sexting allows for erotic pleasure without the pressure of having sex. I have two posts coming up devoted entirely to the art of sexting: Text Dirty To Me #1 goes over the benefits of sexting. Text Dirty To Me #2, shares everything I’ve learned in my sexting escapades. Stay tuned!
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Photography by Stella Fae Bliss