Sex for the newly single can be terribly intimidating. This is especially true if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for years — and never imagined yourself at square one again. Where do you start in looking for love? How can you reclaim your sexual self as never before? What must you be aware of in searching for serious or casual sexual liaisons in what feels, for many, like a whole new sexualized world?
Allow yourself time to heal.
Depending on the intensity of your last relationship, you may feel like you’ve experienced a death. Or you may be grieving the passing of a partner. In either case, you’ll likely need to ride out the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. (Note: these may not necessarily come in this order. You may also skip any of these).
This is especially true if you’ve typically proven yourself to be a rebounder. While falling into the arms of another can be a coping mechanism, it’s not often the wisest in the long run. In not giving yourself time to lick your wounds, old hurts stack up, often becoming a relationship’s ticking time bomb. In some cases, the explosion ricochets into the bedroom.
With every break up or relationship blow, a rebounder relives old pain all over again. So, instead of diving into the dating pool, allow yourself to recharge in realizing a more riveting sexual, romantic relationship the next time around.
Do this by surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you. Give yourself quality alone time to listen to your favorite music, lose yourself in a favorite hobby or read. Rent movies you’ve been dying to see, or treat yourself to a massage for some safe, healing touch.
Take care of your mental health.
Related to healing is positioning yourself to move on. If you’re broken and in a bad place, any energy you have needs to go into healing yourself. This includes taking on any previous relationship baggage so that you can check it at the door with your next lover. To avoid the ghosts of sex partners past, get counseling. Talk to friends. Maintain a journal. Pursue holistic means to take care of yourself body, mind, and soul.
In some respects, men need to be more mindful in allowing themselves to pursue such. Men are likelier than women to commit suicide when it comes to lost relationships.
Remind yourself that you are sexually desirable.
Few break ups are smooth sailing, and when waters get choppy, harsh words can sink our sexual and overall self-esteem. This is especially true in cases where you were dumped or suffered from emotional or physical abuse. Sexy is a state of mind, so be sure to recall all of the reasons you’re attractive. Get in touch with your passions.
For some, this may involve getting active and doing things that you love that put you in touch with your sensual core, like hiking or traveling. For others, this may involve more erotic efforts.
Being partner-less doesn’t mean you have to be sexless. Take matters into your own hands, pampering yourself with a loving touch that keeps your erotic core alive. You’re sexy no matter what your relationship status. So be sure to cultivate that with eroticism, which allows you to focus on nothing but your sexual self.
Brainstorm your ideal sex life.
The beauty of being single is that you’re more readily able to explore all of life’s possibilities, including what makes for the ultimate in sexual satisfaction. A new sex partner is going to be a totally new experience. What worked for your last partner may not necessarily work with the next. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel in bed.
Instead, think about what could elevate the eroticism component for you and/or a new potential partner. What was missing in your last relationship? What have you always been curious about? What can be said or done to make a kiss, touch, or other sex act all the more enticing with a new lover? What are some staple sex moves that you hope to maintain?
Recognize that there are tons of places to meet potential sexual partners.
People will often meet a lover through friends, church, or work. If those avenues aren’t lending themselves to amour, focus your efforts around what you want in a partner and relationship. These can often be found in non-threatening activities, with people finding eventual sex partners via:
— Volunteer work, like political or environmental activism
— Professional organizations and meetings
— Functions hosted by the arts, such as a museum
— Non-professional sports teams, try a softball league
— Sporting events
— Wine tastings
— Exercise classes
— Playdates for single parents and their kids
— University alumni events, like a gathering at a local bar to cheer on your football team
Remember to let your interests drive you. Your erotic energy naturally comes to life when you pursue your passions. This becomes an elixir for potential (sexual) partners.
Think too about what you have in common with other people that can be bonding, for example you (and your pooch) could meet another dog lover at a local dog park.
For those preferring not to leave the house (or who dig the idea of cruising for partners in nothing more than their underwear), you can connect online. Just get in the know as to what different sites are known for. Social networking sites like MySpace are reputed for inviting easier hook ups. Craigslist has facilitated anything from group bike rides to one-night stands. Facebook is well known for helping people to maintain contact once they’ve hooked up.
Then there are dating Web sites which are exclusively devoted to making sure you find the partner of your dreams (and, hopefully, your best-ever sex match). Services, like It’s Just Lunch, can do the work for busy singles in determining the best dates for you. Then there are dating services, like Great Expectations, that organize weekly events for singles.
No matter what online venue you pursue, realize that your profile will draw the attention that you want or not. So carefully select your picture and key words, depending on what you want to invite, sexually-speaking.
Recognize, too, that no matter what the online outlet, safety needs to be taken seriously. Don’t give out your address or phone number until you’ve been able to size this person up in person. First meetings should take place in public places, like a coffee shop.
Get in the know with safer sex.
Found somebody worth sleeping with? Every new partner invites new risks. Whether worried about infection or pregnancy, have safer sex products, like a condom, on hand. Talk about your safer sex needs and don’t be afraid to ask for test results before becoming sexually intimate. Such reassurances can also put your mind at ease for better sex while maintaining each other’s health — perhaps for years to come.
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."