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Sex after divorce—it's not as scary as you might think

BY READERS DIGEST

1st Jan 2015 Dating & Relationships

Sex after divorce—it's not as scary as you might think
Divorce can leave your confidence shaken when it comes to new partners, but it can also offer a new lease of life and a second sexual awakening. Find out how to get over the hurdles and get into the sack.

Lost confidence

Not a happy bunny
One of the biggest tolls of the end of any long-term relationship is a damaged sense of self-confidence. Nudity, nasty habits, and the little things you might consider personal flaws seem to matter less when you’re with someone you feel comfortable with. 
You might not have even considered a knock on effect for yourself confidence, but when you've been with the same person for years, you're naturally going to feel a little uneasy starting out on your own.
You may have had your confidence knocked, feel rejected or out of your comfort zone, but grab hold of those bursts of happiness and liberation you feel at no longer being trapped under the weight of a heavy, problematic relationship. 
Embrace your freedom. Now’s the time to rediscover you and learn what you want from your life after your ex.

Rediscover yourself and rediscover sex

A happy bunny
It might feel natural to hide for a while—and that’s ok. Grieving is a part of separation. Use that time to remember who you are without your ex. Rediscover your interests and build yourself up again.
With a bit of time, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself and then some. You might even discover that you have bit of an itch to scratch and start thinking about yourself as a sexual being once again.
There’s no better time to rediscover your sexuality than after a divorce. It's like a second adolescence—just as you’re rediscovering who you are as an individual, you may consider exploring your sexuality. After years of vanilla or non-existant sex it's time to try new things and find new interests. 
“Sex was actually BETTER
 than it had been in my twenties.
 My ego was actually more resilient.
 And good men and lovers (and love)
 were available too.”
 —Debbie Burgin, author of The Joy of Ex
Remember, after everything you’ve been through as an individual throughout your twenties and thirties—relationships, loves, and losses—you have grown as a person and will be much stronger, more resilient and know yourself better than ever.

Will sex ever be as good?

Post sex bunnies
While it might be true that sex with someone you know can be fantastic, the opposite can also be true. But it might also be the case that your pre-divorce sex life had somewhat dwindled entirely, so any sex is better than none, right?
If you’ve been out on the prowl and found casual sex to be a little unsatisfying that’s probably because casual sex can be hit and miss—especially when alcohol is involved.
It’s important to know what you want out of sex and feel confident when having it. This might involve having a little fun with yourself first. Discover your fantasies and then pursue them in real life.

Having better sex

Bunny excited about phallic carrot
Do a bit of reading and research before embarking on sexual rediscovery.
Explore erotic literature to give you some ideas. A quick google will find you plenty of websites dedicated to erotic fiction. Many websites will separate short stories into fetishes and interests.
Whether you want to read something drenched in candle-light and romance or something a little more kinky, you can really tap into your wild side and find out what turns you on and off.
Toys and masturbation can also help. That old saying 'use it or lose it' is true when it comes to the sex drive, the more you get in touch with yourself the more likely you are to enjoy your sexual encounters.
It’s also really important to communicate with your lover. Tell them what you like, and give a little direction if something feels unpleasant. It might also be a good idea to share something you're curious about trying.
You never know, it may awaken something inside.

Are your ready?

Bunny meets another bunny
There isn’t a time frame for this sort of thing, so while your friends might be encouraging you to get back out there, if you don’t feel ready then you don’t feel ready. Don’t rush into anything if you don’t want to!
If your ex is still on your mind: "What are they doing? Who are they seeing? Wouldn’t if be great if my ex saw me with someone amazing?" then the chances are you’re not ready.
You don't have to prove anything to anyone—not even to yourself.
"You wouldn't date somebody who's
 still tangled up with an ex emotionally.
 Why offer that to somebody else?”
 —Edward M. Tauber, PhD, divorce counsellor
Many people who have dated when they haven’t been ready find themselves in self-destructive situations—having sex with numerous partners not out of pleasure but seeking attention, or 'forcing' themselves to move on. Some even claim to lack the ability to reach orgasm without thinking about their ex—men and women alike.
This is why it's important to rediscover who you are and feel confident in yourself and what you want before embarking on a series of sexual encounters that are no good for anyone involved. Multiple partners can be enjoyable but only when you feel good about yourself.
Remember, the best sex happens when both parties are feeling comfortable and confident.

The first time

Two bunnies about to smooch
Nerves are natural no matter who you are, whatever your gender, sexuality or situation. If you don’t experience nerves on some level you should perhaps be concerned that your heart may have turned to stone. It’s important to remember a few things.
  • Sex is not something you forget how to do. It may have been months or even years since you last had it but it will come back to you the second you get down to it—communicate and do what feels good.
  • Yes, things might have changed—you many not be as fit or nimble as you once were, but learning to love your body is all a part of enjoyable sex. Once your kit is off you’ll be surprised at how sexy your lover will find you.
  • Dating might be different to how you experienced in the past (you may not have even experienced dating before marriage) but you and your potential suitors have one major advantage now—you are all mature and know yourself better than ever, take confidence in that.
  • Everyone is different. You might meet fellow divorcees, the eternally single, relationship hoppers, emotional wrecks, unattainables, all on an entire spectrum of attractiveness. Diversity is the beauty of dating. Be aware that not everyone is looking for the same thing but this is ok, just be open with what you want and hope for the best.
  • Sex can just be sex. Try not to over think the aftermath and enjoy the present.

Be prepared

Rejected bunny
If you're out on a date be prepared! In terms of safe sex, absolutely. But also be realistic in terms of what you want. Are you looking for a relationship or just a bit of fun?
Be ready for potential rejection, it might not happen but accept there’s a possibility that for whatever reason the other person might not be into you. That may be down to them and their own problems so don’t take it personally.
Equally remember that you too can say no. You're never under any obligation to have sex with someone, never feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. Communication is key.
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