It may be on your mind. It may be on your mind all the time, now that you're no longer quite so worried about your kids, your bills, how the job is going or the possibility of another legal action.
It may be on your mind even if you are still worried about those issues!
Is it time for a new sex partner?
Assuming that your family life is beginning to settle down even a little -- the divorce is final, custody and visitation are running smoothly enough, finances are working themselves out -- are you ready for sex? Are you feeling up to the task? Are you emotionally ready to take a risk?
Some of us want to get back in the game as quickly as possible. Maybe the ex had affairs and we need... something. Maybe it's a renewed feeling of being valuable and desirable. Maybe we're seeking affirmation that we've still "got it" or, at the very least, we can still "do it."
Maybe it's been a few years since we've been intimate with anyone, courtesy of a sexless marriage. Maybe we've had such a limited number of partners -- perhaps only one or two -- that we want to explore. Now that we're finally free, we want to profit from the freedom -- sexually -- and with the new sense of self we hope that will bring.
Is sex with an ex ever a good idea?
As with everything else I'm offering for your consideration, this is a matter of my experience and my opinion.
Personally, I'm not a fan of ex sex. You know, sex with an ex-spouse, which can cause massive headaches (and heartaches) -- not just for you, but potentially for your children.
So let's say you set that idea aside, even if you have a good relationship with your ex, and you want to get yourself in a mindset for hooking up. Note that I'm not saying dating, I'm not talking about a romantic attachment, though sex can certainly be romantic under any circumstance.
I'm talking about sexual activity -- dipping a toe into the water at first, or plunging in -- and safely.
If you do happen to fall into bed with the ex, try to clear up where you are and why you did it. And don't cause more confusion for your children who may think you're getting back together!
How to hook up after divorce safely?
You'll hear plenty of ways to hook up after divorce, and online meeting sites are certainly the most popular. It's less worrisome in some ways than taking up a friend's suggestion to go out on blind dates. So-and-so's newly divorced brother-in-law. The ex of your son's piano teacher.
Online is more or less no strings, right?
If you do go the route of an online venue, be it a mainstream site like Match or some other, it's easy to determine who's looking for a fling versus a serious seeker of love or the next possible spouse. You can tell by the content of the profile, the nature of the photos posted and any email exchange you may engage in.
Assuming you meet the person and he or she actually looks like what you expected (a major assumption, believe me), do you head off together to enjoy a little one-on-one time?
Not so fast!
Whether you're using a site explicitly targeted at facilitating sexual encounters or a mainstream site with members who are looking for "activity partners," you still need to ensure your physical safety by:
- Checking the person out before you meet (at the very least, Google)
- Do not invite a stranger to your home, especially if you have children present
- Do not meet a stranger in a hotel, unless you're not concerned about your safety
- Meet at a public location first, and be sure to tell someone where you'll be and with whom
- Use condoms, and listen to your gut.
If anything feels "off," it probably is. And remember -- even if you're desirous of a little "erotic danger" in your sexual activities, if you're a parent, do you really want to risk that your children may pay the price for your lack of precautions?
Sexting? Online sex?
Thinking of trying your hand at a digital dalliance first?
- You may not risk an STD, but you could risk other dramas if you're not careful.
- As with an in-the-flesh encounter, are you sure you know who you're dealing with?
- If he or she says they're not married, can you verify?
- Do you tell yourself you don't care, or do you think about how you'd feel if you were the spouse finding out about online indiscretions?
- If you're sexting, are you doing so sober?
- If you're not, are you sure you know what you're doing?
As for Big Brother, he may be watching, but hey... with millions engaged in online entertainment, I imagine the view is a bit banal by now. Just use a little common sense. Potential lapses can be embarrassing. Just ask Anthony Weiner.
What about casual relationship sex?
You might opt for casual relationships for awhile. You know what I mean -- basically, Third Date Sex. Generally this is enough time to get a sense of who the person is, determine your level of mutual attraction, and enjoy some adult time together.
There are plenty of advantages to this "model" in my opinion. But do abide by your safety rules all the same, and consider the preparations that you need to feel comfortable once you've decided you're ready for the first post-divorce sleepover.
One last note. Protect yourself and your children emotionally. If you are prone to confusing sex with lovemaking or growing emotionally attached if the sex is good, you might not want to indulge in casual sex under any circumstances. I also believe it's unwise to bring a casual sex partner into your children's lives and risk their emotional engagement.
In my opinion, your first forays back into the world of sex should be about enjoyment and discovery -- feeling good, feeling free, partaking of pleasure, learning what you need now and what you have to give now. This requires that you stay smart and be adult in your decisions, even if you feel like a budding adolescent all over again.