Can Rebound Sex Be A Good Thing Or Is It Hindering Your Healing? A Psychotherapist Explains

"Rebounding" is practically a dirty word among the broken-hearted, but getting under someone new to get over an ex isn't exactly uncommon: A 2013 study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that one-third of undergraduate students who were dumped by a partner engaged in rebound sex within four weeks of the breakup.

Getting busy with a cutie at a party or the acquaintance you've always felt chemistry with might sound more exciting than spending yet another evening curled up with a pint (or three) of ice cream. But if you tell your squad you're ready to go out and hook up, you'll likely be met with a chorus of reasons why you shouldn't — you might get attached to your new fling, the sex will only make you miss your ex more, or you're only doing it to get revenge, they might say.

But is rebound sex really that harmful to your healing journey? Adam D. Blum, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of the Gay Therapy Center, the largest private therapy provider for the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S., gave Glam the scoop in an exclusive chat, telling us what you need to know before you try to mend your broken heart with a steamy hookup.

There are some upsides to hooking up post-breakup

Ending a relationship is hard, and the typical prescription for grieving a breakup involves reflection, a lot of tears, and support from loved ones. But as Adam D. Blum explains, you can only focus on the split for so long. "If you are experiencing the end of an important relationship then you are in a period of grief and mourning," Blum shares exclusively with Glam. "One of the tools to soften the pain of grief is distraction. It's not helpful to be in touch with our pain all the time. And rebound sex can serve as an effective and pleasurable distraction."

It might not be a good idea to depend on distraction when the breakup is still fresh — doing so could delay your recovery. But if you've spent day after day ruminating over your relationship and what went wrong, rebound sex could, at least temporarily, get you out of that funk.

Flirting and getting frisky with someone new can also be a remedy for loneliness, says Blum. "Grief can be isolating. Another good resource in managing grief is to bring more people into your life. And sex is a social event that can connect you to others." When engaging in casual sex, however, keep in mind that the connection will likely be short-lived. When balanced with other healthy forms of connection, rebound sex can serve as a reminder that you're not alone and you can — and will — find someone special again.

Take a beat before hitting the sheets

Before heading to the bar to find a one-night stand or swiping through dating apps for your next fling, pause and check in with yourself, suggests Adam D. Blum. "Of course, there are always risks with sex. One risk is that you will feel shame after rebound sex," Blum exclusively tells Glam. "You may want to consider that shame is a tool that traditionally has been used to exert control on groups of people. All of us have grown up in a world rampant with shaming messages about sex. Before experimenting with rebound sex you might want to explore your own beliefs around sex and shame, and where those beliefs came from." Note that separating shame and sexual intimacy is always a worthwhile endeavor, and one that can be done with the help of a psychotherapist or sex coach, but it might be challenging to take on while still in the throes of heartbreak.

If you have no major hang-ups about sex and feel ready to be physically intimate with someone new, make sure to choose your partner wisely. Blum explains, "When we are in a transition period we tend to be more emotionally fragile and vulnerable. Therefore it is an especially important time to be with people who treat you with kindness and respect. That's something to keep in mind when choosing your rebound sex partners."