I received this question on my website, Divorced Girl Smiling from a guy wondering if most newly separated or divorced people have lots of sex with lots of different people:
Everyone I know who is divorced (both men and women) goes through this six-month period when their divorce is final that they go out and sleep with everything that breathes. Is this a common thing?
This reminds me of when people say that after a couple gets divorced officially, they go straight from the courthouse to a hotel room and have sex. I can honestly say I personally don't know one couple that has done that.
My point is, who is "everyone you know?" Did a lot of people you know tell you they did that? Or are you assuming they did and maybe they slept with one or two people? Or maybe just talked about how they wanted to do it?
Maybe I'm naïve. Maybe some men and women after divorce go crazy when it comes to sex, seeking out multiple physical encounters. If that is the case, my opinion is that they are trying to cover up a deep wound with a temporary Band-Aid, and it never works.
The movie When Harry Met Sally is a great example. Harry deals with his divorce by sleeping with a bunch of women. Remember the scene where Sally shouts, "You've already slept with half of New York, and I don't see that turning Helen into a distant memory!"
I remember dating a little bit after my divorce, but I didn't get physical with anyone for a long,long time. I just didn't want to. I was scared. I was insecure. It felt strange. I'm not judging anyone who has sex right after they get separated or divorced from someone, I'm just saying don't expect it to be anything more than a temporary fix to your issues.
It's kind of like taking antacids to fix your stomach issues instead of trying to figure out why you have stomach issues: stress, eating habits, drinking, NSAIDS, lack of exercise/yoga and then changing your lifestyle to fix the problem so you don't need the pills.
In my opinion, people who are just getting out of a marriage need a lot of other things before sex. They need friends, therapy, faith, self-reflection, physical exercise, yoga, alone time, more time with their kids, a career focus, perhaps.
Here are some potential reasons I could see someone wanting to have multiple physical encounters after a divorce. One, the person hasn't had sex in years because their marriage was bad and they didn't cheat (which is honorable.) So, maybe they feel they are ready. Another scenario is that the person might want to feel liberated from the marriage, and in their mind, that might be a way to help break away from it.
But random sex acts to me are not healthy for many reasons, including the risk of STDs, bad self-esteem and lack of self-respect and self-love.
In closing, I'm not against sex, trust me. I'm a fan. But multiple sex partners, not just immediately after divorce, but anytime in life isn't the way to solve problems. Working on yourself and what you can control is. The sex will happen. And when it does, it will be for the right reasons, and it will be great -- not random, empty or, for lack of a better word, sleazy.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, "Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.