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Sex with ex may not  be the best thing to do

Updated: January 29, 2013 1:01PM

Have you ever had sex with an ‘ex’?

A new study published in the “Journal of Adolescent Research” has found that many young people have sexual encounters with their old flames.

The researchers surveyed nearly 800 people from the ages of 17 to 24, and found that almost half of the study participants reconnected with an ex-partner after a break-up.

Almost 53 percent of the young people said that they had sex with their ex after the relationship ended.

The researchers are referring to this process of reconnecting with the ex as “relationship churning.”

Relationship churning describes on-and-off relationships and the researchers found that this pattern of breaking up and making up is quite common, and more so among young couples than older couples. (One needs look no further than the cover of latest tabloid covers to see that relationship churning is as popular among the Justin Biebers and Taylor Swifts of the world as it is among regular young adults).

What can account for this new trend of relationship churning and does it come with any risks?

For one thing, Social Media makes relationship churning more convenient and simple than ever before.

In a pre-Facebook era, ex-lovers often tried to avoid one another like the plague to avoid uncomfortable run-ins, but in today’s world, checking your ex’s Facebook page is seen as completely normal and even expected.

And, the more you check out his statuses and surf his old pictures, the more tempted you are to send an email or a text.

It is much easier to have online communications with your ex rather than have potentially uncomfortable conversations in person, which means people can open up more and put their feelings out there with less embarrassment.

So before you know it, you are soon talking on the phone again and planning to meet up for a drink — which, of course, can lead to much, much more!

While this is great news for those of us still fantasize about the one that got away, it can also come with its own set of risks.

For example, since research has shown that safer sex practices tend to decline in relationships over time, it could be less likely that sex with the ex will involve a condom or other precautions.

Yet your relationship used to be monogamous, it’s important to remember that your ex might have enjoyed sexual encounters with others, meaning that you both will be at greater risk of STDs.

So, even if you were together for years, you still need to practice safer sex. Make sure that you use condoms and dental dams, and that you both get tested for STDs together as soon as possible.

It’s also important to safeguard your emotional health.

Before taking things to the next level, make sure you talk to your ex about your intentions and desires, and find out if he feels the same way.

If you want to rebuild the relationship and he just wants one last hurrah for the road, you could end up even more devastated than you were after the first breakup.

Communicate and then proceed with caution — sometimes the second (or third or fourth) time can be the charm, but sometimes it can just be a bad idea!

Dr. Berman is the host of “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman,” which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

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