"She needs to feel love and acclamation, and so she'll have sex with the guy who gives her attention and fulfills her immediate need. It can also be a way of retaliating from being in a relationship where she felt impotent, neglected, or rejected." Of course, men can end up on this emotional rollercoaster, too.
Solomon-Ament says that this is really a form of self-sabotage: that by using casual sex specifically to deal with unresolved issues, you're only effecting a temporary cure that carries one hell of an emotional hang-over – not to mention the physical dangers of having sex with someone you don't know well.
Divorce, on the other hand, no matter how common it has become in our society, is still a painful psychological process of denial and acceptance, grief and growth, death and rebirth.
It's a way of remaining in the safe, secure sexual environment we know and delaying the inevitable plunge into the unknown singles market.
Therapists, however, are quick to point out that it "ain't over 'till it's over." In other words, while sex with your ex can provide a wonderful release, you need to let go sexually in order to fully heal, grow, and move on to a new life.
And, as with any strong elixir, the subliminal message reads: handle with care.
Unless you left your ex for someone else, break-up usually means being single again.
"Every time we'd make love, I'd think 'This feels so great – he must want to get back together with me.' And each time, I ended up hurt and disappointed, because all he wanted was the sex." The last time they slept together, Dave told her he was engaged to someone else.