01/27/2014 07:04 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2014

People Really Do Have Revenge Sex After A Split, New Study Finds

Is the best way to get over someone to get under someone else? New research puts the popular phrase to the test.

Researchers at the University of Missouri recruited 170 college students who had gone through a recent breakup to participate in a study titled "Rebound Sex: Sexual Motives and Behaviors Following a Relationship Breakup," which was recently published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Participants' weekly journal entries, surveys and interviews over the course of eight months revealed that one-third of the students had engaged in revenge sex or rebound sex within the first four weeks of the relationship ending.

Specifically, individuals leaving longer relationships and those individuals who were dumped (versus those who did the dumping) were more likely than others to use revenge sex to cope with increased levels of stress and anger in the aftermath of the breakup.

While rebound sex is a popular notion in relationship lore, especially as a way to move on, the researchers point out that it's not always beneficial: "For some people, having sex with a new partner is a healthy and necessary part of moving on. However, the fact that those who reported the use of sex to cope with or get over the relationship loss continued to have sex with new partners even after eight months suggests that, for at least these individuals, this behavior signified a lack of recovery and an inability to move on."

In other words, participants who used revenge or rebound sex to cope with the breakup were still having sex with new partners eight months later, indicating that they may not have moved on to more permanent relationships.

What do you think: is rebound sex necessary to heal a broken heart, or more trouble than it's worth? Tell us below.

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