Should Elin Nordegren do it? Should Tiger Woods’ wife have revenge sex as retribution for his numerous infidelities? I didn’t think much about this issue until a woman, living Elin’s nightmare herself, called me asking, “What are the pros and cons of revenge sex?”
Revenge sex involves sexual exploits pursued for the sole purpose of getting back at a lover (or a romantic or sexual interest) who has hurt you in some devastating way.
While one of the least talked about trysts in the sexual discourse sphere, it’s actually quite popular. Male or female, lovers have been known to pursue these retaliatory affairs to punish a partner for violating the relationship.
In a University of Texas Austin study on why humans have sex, researchers Cindy Meston and David Buss found that it was quite common for women, in particular, to have revenge sex to get back at a cheating partner.
In some cases, they simply wanted to get even with someone who had wronged them. Revenge sex was about getting back at a friend who had "poached" her partner by sleeping with the friend’s mate.
In the most extreme cases, a few women reported having revenge sex to pass a sexually transmitted disease along to a man they felt had wronged them.
No matter what their reason, people are tempted to have revenge sex with friends, exes, or a lover’s best friend to let their pain be known. Some skip the familiarities and niceties, opting for the no-strings-attached draw of strangers. It’s not unusual to see a revenge sex request on Craigslist, with posts that are very creative and explicit in their requests, like these:
“I just broke up with my first boyfriend (for cheating by way of a threesome) so I am looking for someone with a fantasy that can include me. I enjoy anything safe, I am versatile but enjoy oral the best (and I am damn good)… I am kinda looking for a wild time. This can include 3 or 4-somes, partying, role play, porn (which I luv) outdoor, spanking (not anything really painful though), toys, etc. Nothing extreme but slightly kinky is cool with me. Hopefully revenge sex is better than the rest!”
“I'm looking for revenge sex, i just got cheated on and dumped by someone who wasn't even worth my while, i need to find someone who's hotter than her to give me what she was too much of a prude to do. any takers?...”
So what are the pros and cons to revenge sex? Let’s start with the cons. The drawbacks to pursuing revenge sex include:
— Doing only more damage to a situation that may be repairable
— Putting your and your partner’s sexual health at risk for little reward
— Not feeling any better in this ‘eye for an eye’ effort
— Finding that you’re not the “better” person, despite being the wronged one
— Losing the moral and ethical edge you have in moving forward in the relationship or getting out of it
Even with a "free" pass, as some people are offered by a partner in making things better, revenge sex can end up making you feel lonelier. Unless you plan to send a videotape or invite him or her to watch (and that’s a whole other can of worms), the person you’re trying to hurt isn’t there to see your act of vengeance — to witness the gravity of your pain — which can leave you more frustrated than ever.
Now to the pros ...
— You could have hot sex and feel good temporarily.
— The sheer act of revenge can leave you feeling really satisfied. Mission accomplished. Eat that, love.
But now what? You’re stuck in the same situation, if not one made worse by your actions.
The Expert’s Advice: Don’t do it. Don’t have revenge sex. Even in "free pass" situations, where there are supposedly no consequences, there always are. Revenge sex doesn’t do anything to resolve your situation. You’ll pay for it in one way or another sooner or later.
Still tempted? Ask yourself: have you ever heard of revenge sex making for a happy ending?
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, "The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking."