Sometimes in life, relationships just don’t pan out.
You might not be compatible, the timing might not be right, they might turn out to be a mega-douche, or you just don’t have the same goals in life and it will never work.
Maybe, however, the one area that did work was in the bedroom. Perhaps the action in the sheets was the best part of the relationship, perhaps it was part of the overall package. For some women, the sex that comes next with new partners can be quite ‘meh’.
It could explain why 38% of women surveyed by adult website Lovehoney have admitted they had the best sex of their lives in a previous relationship than with their current lover while just 29% of men think their best sex was with an ex.
It can be extremely hard for many women to reach orgasm, so having sex with someone who knows how to press your buttons, of course, is going to rocket them to top of the list when thinking back on things. But of course, there’s so much more to sex than orgasms: it’s about intimacy, connection and expressing love.
Perhaps it can be like looking through rose-coloured glasses for many women who are thinking about their exes. Yeah, he might have been able to give you the big O, but was he a two-timing manchild? Or was he ‘the one who got away’?
What do real women say?
To determine why women are thinking about their exes, I decided to ask the ladies on Ask SAHM if they ever fantasised about having sex with their exes. And if so, does their current partner know?
One commenter said that she has a friend who always compares her new lovers to an ex:
“I do however have a friend who constantly has fantasies about her ex. No matter who she is with or what she is doing, she remembers the best sex of her life with that ex (and she gets a lot of sex!) She puts it down to chemistry.
“She said even when they went out and did completely non sexual activities – that the chemistry left only one thing in her mind. Something she hadn’t experienced with anyone else!”
Another revealed that she has dreams of her ex even though she doesn’t like him:
“He pops into my dreams far too often. But I don’t like him as a person at all. I would never tell hubby.”
This woman admitted she fantasised about her ex as he was in the distant past, not how he is now:
“I fantasize about my first. It was 13 years ago. I was 17. He was really really hot and we stayed in contact for years. Even through all my old boyfriends we still spoke. Then I met my husband and he fell away. I recently looked him up on Facebook and discovered he looks nothing like he used to. Very disappointing. So I trolled my old computer to find old pictures of him instead.
“I always dream/fantasize about people who aren’t my husband, not when I’m with him though. When we are together it’s all about him. It helps that he’s also incredibly good looking lol. A fantasy is harmless. I wouldn’t care if my husband fantasized about other women, as long as he doesn’t tell me lol. I’m sure he does because I’m not very attractive at all. He is WAY out of my league.”
Another woman, however, admitted she thinks about her ex because her current sex life is terrible:
“Hubby and I stopped having sex because he refuses to seek treatment for his inability to last longer than a minute. I fantasize about my ex because he was the best there was. If he called to tomorrow, I’d be on a plane. I messed up bad and can’t get him back. This life is my punishment for that.”
While another admitted the sex was great with her ex, but the relationship was just not sustainable:
“I fantasize about my ex a lot. Just the sex. It was incredible he couldn’t get enough of me and I, him. It was always interesting and passionate and he was always hungry for me which made me feel like the most beautiful person in the world. He was definitely not the biggest man but i don’t like big as I am pretty small and like to play rough. My hubby now always gets the job done and he is the one I love and he always has been (left ex to go back to my now hubby), but the sex doesn’t even come close to how it was with my ex. Raw physical attraction.
“Pretty awesome but not sustainable. Give me my loving stable wonderful husband any day. But…I do like to take a little trip down memory lane now and then. I can still feel the things he did to me. Such vivid memories even though it was 9 years ago.”
And this woman kept it real and reminded us what matters most – the present:
“I dream and think about my ex quite a lot. Our relationship was fantastic, he was a great guy however we just weren’t meant to be. We are still friendly and he has actually become good friends with my husband now. I think it’s fair to still think and feel things for ex’s especially in relationships that didn’t go sour. I adore my husband and our family and I wouldn’t change it for anything not even an opportunity with my ex.”
So what does it all mean?
I came across some advice on the internet from a relationship advice website called And That’s Why You’re Single where a woman wrote in complaining that her current boyfriend, who she loved and could see a future with, only managed to give her one to three orgasms during sex, while she had a previous friend-with-benefits who could get her off six to twelve times in a session.
The advice she received back was, I thought, harsh but fair:
“I think the first thing you need to do is grow up. Listening to women brag about all the “amazing” sex they have makes me cringe. Hate to break it to you, but committing to someone involves a series of trade-offs. Oh well. You’re not going to be able to have your 6-12 orgasms (*eyeroll*) any more.
“You’re just going to have to settle for climaxing two or three times with the man that loves you and actually wants to be with you. In what world is three orgasms in a night not good sex? Seriously?”
This is pretty compelling advice. It’s all about what is real and what matters most. Having a strong connection, a love for one another, and a pretty good sex have still got to trump anything else, right?
According to sex and relationships therapist Sarah Berry, quoted in a recent article in The Telegraph, it helps to keep things in perspective.
“If you have unresolved feelings about your ex, it’s easy to create an idealised version of them through your fantasy, and compare your partner with this. If you find you are doing this, have a think about your ex, what you miss, what was bad and what was good. Try and paint a realistic picture.
“It could be the fantasies acting as a barrier between you and your partner to protect you from getting hurt. It could be that you need more time to heal. Or it could be that your current partner isn’t for you . Working out what fantasies about past relationships mean to you should help you work out what you want for yourself now.”
Just remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. My friend Deb summed it up quite nicely when the topic of sex with exes was raised and said, “That would be like a dog going back to its own vomit”. She’s got a great way with words.