The 5-Step Process to Getting Over Post-Sex Regret [Sexy Time]

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There comes a point in almost everyone’s sexual life where there’s a serious pang of regret. Whether it stems from pushing boundaries too far, the internalization of certain religious or cultural beliefs, or finding the person you just hooked up with totally repulsive in the light of day (and sans the intense vodka buzz), it’s not uncommon to feel regret or shame after consensual sexual activities. It can be a really unsettling experience, especially if you were enthusiastic about it in the moment. Studies have indicated there’s a link between post-sex regret and casual sex (while I’m not one to discourage casual sex, I will always wholeheartedly encourage you to examine whether or not it’s good for you). That said, in the moment, we can all make choices that don’t ultimately sit well, so let’s delve into the process of getting over the gnawing feeling in your gut that you’ve done something terribly wrong

1. Wallow
I used to be an expert wallower back in my ill-advised “no strings attached” days. I’d curl up in bed in the fetal position and let my mind race until I drove myself to the brink of a meltdown. That was my way of processing everything. It’s okay to let your emotions overwhelm you for a little while – it’s better to acknowledge them than to completely avoid them. Whether it’s anxiety or shame or embarrassment, let it marinate.

2. Distract yourself. 
Wallowing is only productive for a few hours, max. All that angst can be really draining so pop in your favorite DVDs, zone out on Tumblr for a few hours, reorganize your closet…do something nice and relaxing for yourself.

3. Talk about it.
Whether it means divulging everything to your besties and analyzing it or whether it means pulling out your pen and paper (or laptop) and frantically writing out everything you’re feeling. It’s a really cathartic way to start letting it go and moving on.

4. Identify what it is that triggered your reaction.
Maybe it’s because you went to Catholic school, or you drank too much and you feel your behavior was out of character, or you know that the person you hooked up with is never going to acknowledge you again… whatever it is, pinpoint it. This is crucial to helping you not make the same mistake over and over and over again.

5. Let it go.
It happened. You can’t revise the past. If you enjoyed things in the moment, that’s great. Embrace those memories. If the whole experience sucked, learn from it and move on with your life. We all make questionable decisions in all aspects of life, but as long as you were safe and it was consensual, you can totally write it off as one of those lame experiences we all endure and treasure it as an opportunity to learn.

[Lead image via Shots Studio/Shutterstock]

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