London - Jumping into bed with a former partner would normally be considered a recipe for even more heartache.
But now a study claims having sex with an ex may even help lovers get over a break-up.
Researchers analysed the daily experiences of 113 participants who had recently gone through a separation.
Two months later, they completed a survey asking them if they had tried to have physical contact with their former partners, how emotionally attached they still were and how they felt after each day.
In a second study, 372 participants reported their actual and attempted sexual engagement with their exes, as well as whether they were still emotionally tied. The researchers found that pursuing sex with an ex did not seem to stand in the way of people’s recovery from a break-up – on a daily basis or over two months.
Most participants who pursued sex with their ex did succeed, but this did not influence how someone got over the end of their relationship.
Those especially pining after their ex-partner more often sought out sexual activity. But doing this did not leave them distressed. In fact, it left them feeling more positive.
Report author Dr Spielmann, of Wayne State University in the US, said it was an important subject due to the effect on mental health. She added: "This research suggests that societal handwringing regarding trying to have sex with an ex may not be warranted.
"The fact that sex with an ex is found to be most eagerly pursued by those having difficulty moving on, suggests that we should perhaps instead more critically evaluate people’s motivations behind pursuing sex with an ex."
The findings appear in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour.