ex sex

n. The sex that occurs after one breaks up with one’s high school sweetheart and then comes back from college during one of the assorted breaks (winter, spring, summer, etc.)

Winter break. A time relatively free of stress! You’re back home, sleeping in your old room, seeing high school friends, etc. Being home is great! Maybe there’s a home-cooked meal involved. Your favorite food joints and stores are nearby. But something more sinister lurks in your hometown: your high school significant other.

Perhaps this doesn’t happen to everyone, but my weakness for hooking up with my ex has been on my mind recently, so I’d like to extend a lifeline to similarly weak people. It seems that the return home makes us regress to our high school selves—we crave the familiarity of old routines. Not to mention that returning home means waving goodbye to the easily accessible college hook-up culture, so we tend to get sexually frustrated. For some of us, the solution is boning in the back of an SUV in an abandoned parking lot so our parents don’t catch us. Or perhaps our parents have eased up on the sex issue and agree to look the other way while we get it on in our basements.

Ex sex is either a fantastic or a terrible and destructive idea. A little high school fun and reminiscing with an ex who is now a casual friend? Excellent idea. You’re already well acquainted with each other’s bodies and turn-ons. And it’s a cute trip down memory lane. However, if your ex sex involves any feelings other than nostalgia and general horniness, turn back now. Post-holiday fornication will not bring back the supposed love of your life (I mean, you went to junior AND senior prom together, so clearly you were meant to be). It also will not bring back your more or less carefree high school youth. Maybe this is just my problem and I’m simply revealing how pathetic I am. But just in case you’re still not over a high school ex, I’m here to advise (based on my many, many seasonal breaks and resulting mistakes).

As always, I’ve created my list of ground rules to determine if your feelings towards your ex are neutral enough for ex sex:

  1. When first reaching out to the ex, talk about college and your new friends and new life. It’s an important reminder that everything is different now and you’ve grown soooo much in the past few years, blah blah blah. It’s a good way to establish you’re moving forward with your life. You’re only reversing for sex.
  2. Don’t advertise your decision to all your high school friends. This might give them the wrong impression about your feelings for your ex. And they might offer opinions. Frequently. This is a huge buzz kill.  And you’re beyond high school gossip, hopefully.
  3. Keep nostalgic pillow talk to a minimum. It’s completely acceptable to laugh about the time you spent an hour scouring your room to find the condom wrapper before one of your parents did. It might even be ok to talk about how much fun you had watching hours of TV together and arguing about what movie to see. However, you need to tread carefully. You don’t want to go back to those days, nor do you want to give the impression that you’d like to go back. Especially if your ex has lingering feelings.
  4. Scout out new locations for these rendezvous. It will liven things up and suggest that you’re not trying to relive high school completely. And sex outside of your childhood home or car is less personal, which is key.
  5. Keep in touch in a polite and friendly way, but not too friendly. No striking up a texting conversation when you return to school. Let your high school exploits stay home where they belong. Unless you want to be like me—sobbing over a bag of mint milanos every time you return to school.

Re-entering the lives of exes is dangerous territory. Especially if you continue to have anything beyond sexual interest in him/her/phe/ze. However, if you’re armed with determination to move forward with your life, a little bit of ex sex is harmless. It feels homey and familiar which some of us miss in our new college lives. Not to mention having sex with someone you’ve dated means that they actually know what they’re doing with your body. As long as you tread carefully, make the most of your holiday breaks. Relax, enjoy the spirit of the holidays, and bone away.