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While years of working as a sex and relationship journalist have convinced me most sex and love behaviors are way (WAY) more normal than we believe, I’d never experienced a post-breakup libido spike before. Then my last breakup happened and I started sleeping with a Womanizer. (The motorized one.)

Now, I’ve always had a pretty hearty sex drive. But this breakup-induced voraciousness was Next Level.

I reached out to two of my recently single pals about this, they verified my experience with their notes on doubling body count and exhausting their vibrators.

And if you’re experiencing a huge bout of loneliness right now, due to social isolation, you could also be grieving. Because grieving isn’t just about losing someone. It’s about loss in general, and what could be sadder than losing our sense of normalcy for an uncertain amount of time?

As licensed psychologist, Dr. Laura Louis, PhD says after being thrust into weeks of loneliness, “It’s very normal to feel grief.”

Whether it’s from losing a relationship that was a hot and heavy fling, a long-term romance, or a situationship in between, grief can show up beyond the five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). And it may not show up in everyone the same way.

“In some, it shows up as anger, in others it shows up as sadness or emotional distress. In a select few it can even show up in contentment,” she says. All this can be a libido killer, unless you’re like me.

“An increased interest in sex is one reaction and is a completely natural and normal occurrence,” confirms clinical sex counselor Eric M. Garrison, author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex. “I see it in folks of all genders, ages, and sexualities.”

In most cases, the reason for a libido spike at the end of relationship or a massive change in your sexual calendar sounds relatively straight forward: The sex you used to have was either really bad or really really good. Let us explain.

According to Garrison, “If there was an absence of sexual intimacy or sexual pleasure in the relationship, the horniness can stem from the fact that you’re now free to start having the kind of sex you wanted to be having all along.”

“If the sex was great,” he says, “the horniness just symbolizes the fact that your body is still craving that.” One 2016 study found that after a breakup, in addition to missing their past sexual partner, people missed the feeling of sex in general.

And sometimes a libido spike isn’t about the sex at all, but about getting your skin hunger met. When you have a partner, you’re likely touched, hugged, or cuddled multiple times a day, which fills the very human craving for skin-to-skin contact.

“Lose a relationship, lose that access to touch, and you’ll seek it out elsewhere,” he says. That is, through sex.

Good news: quenching this thirst can be a healthy part of a healing process after a breakup. So long as you’re mindful of your and your (new) partners’ well-being.

1. Don’t sleep with your ex

Especially right after the breakup. Keep physical and social distancing in mind and let that be a time to reflect on the relationship or yourself instead.

“Sex with exes right after a difficult break up can be emotionally confusing and dredge up pain unnecessarily,” says sex and relationship therapist Shadeen Francis, LMFT.

Dead set on boning your ex-boo because, well, you live together and still do since the pandemic came around? Garrison recommends having a conversation with your ex about why you each want to sleep with each other and what you’re each hoping to get out of it.

“Some people want to have sex with an ex for closure, others because it’s reliable, and some to see if they made the right decision,” he says. “If you’re on different pages, it’s more likely about backfire.”

Virtual hookups count too

Things could go from emotional to sexual on the interwebs real fast, especially when we are all self-isolating. If you don’t live together, don’t try to prove your love through travel. Keep the hot and heavy connection digital through FaceTime, app-controlled vibrators, or voice messages.

2. Don’t sleep with friends or acquaintances…

Getting under someone new isn’t kosher if it’s with the hottie your ex gets any advice from, whether it’s advice about music, taxes, or therapy. Have sex to enjoy your body and this libido spike. Not to get back at your ex or make them jealous.

A good rule of thumb, says Garrison, is if you find yourself hoping or thinking about your ex finding out about it, direct your energy away from ghosts past and back to yourself.

3. Be up-front with whoever you’re sleeping with

“The person you’re having sex with needs to know that you’re currently going through a breakup, and are only looking for a sexual relationship,” says Garrison.

“If you’re not up-front with them, even if the sex itself is consensual, it’s coercive because the consent was given under false pretenses.”

Yep, reconsider whether or not you want to start sleeping with your roommate, even if the the NYC Health Department apparently recommends it.

What about the coronavirus?

If you’re set on having sex with a roomie during a quarantine, here are probably a few things you want to keep in mind:

  • Try to avoid kissing.
  • Shower up with soap and wash your hands and toys before doing anything.
  • Avoid the butt stuff as bacteria and some viruses can travel via fecal matter.
  • Opt for sex positions where you aren’t facing each other, if you can — or get into the kind of role play where your mouth is covered (hey, it can be hot!).

4. Don’t hop right into another relationship

Rebound relationship? Not the same as rebound sex.

“Jumping right into a new relationship is usually just a tactic to avoid feeling unpleasant feelings,” says Francis. “It’s likely to lead to a relationship dynamic filled with emotional avoidance and codependence.”

If you’re convinced this person is your Forever, don’t stop processing your breakup or loneliness.

You can’t stop doing the work to understand what went wrong in your last relationship, Garrison says. “Even if our exes were horrible, we have culpability, too. If you haven’t learned from your mistakes in the past relationship, it’s likely this relationship will end just as that one did.”

4. After you have sex, do some solo post game analysis

“Some people will later regret indulging in this newfound overwhelming sexual desire,” says Megan Harrison, a relationship therapist and Founder of Couples Candy. “Some won’t.”

Neither response is right or wrong, she says, but if you do feel regret, shame, or increased sadness after, consider altering your behavior patterns.

“If you’re experiencing increased negative emotions afterward, it’s probably best not to act on these partnered experiences, and to satisfy yourself physically through some quality solo sex, instead.”

Besides, she says, “continuing to do something that only makes you feel bad in the end, isn’t going to help you get over your ex faster.” Fair point.

5. Get it on with yourself

Even if you feel great about the partnered sex you’ve been having, Francis recommends engaging in some solo sex. “It won’t make you feel more connected (or get your skin-hunger met) but it will help you feel more connected with yourself — something that’s incredibly important after a breakup,” she says.

Plus, says Garrison, it’s entirely possible to have solo sex that’s as great as, or greater than, the partnered sex you were having in your relationship.

“The first sign is that you think it’s becoming a problem,” says Garrison. “The second sign is that your therapist, close friend, or relative thinks it has.”

Beyond that, horniness can be a problem if it’s linked with drug and alcohol use, or it’s interfering with your everyday life.

As Garrison says, “There’s a difference between engaging in sex as a form of self-caring and using it to escape from breakup pain.”

If you suspect your desire to boink is causing more harm than good (read: orgasms), Garrison recommends seeking out a sex and relationship therapist [online]. “They’ll be able to help you work through the pain of the breakup, and help you find healthy, safe outlets for your sexual urges.”

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. Follow her on Instagram.