39% of Men, 30% of Women Have Slept with an Ex

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of DatingAdvice.com's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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This is an exclusive study conducted by DatingAdvice.com, which surveyed respondents over the course of three weeks to reflect an accurate representation of the U.S. population.

The lure of the familiar can be a powerful thing, as demonstrated by new research that shows just how many Americans have slept with an ex-lover.

In a sweeping study conducted by DatingAdvice.com, 39% of men and 30% of women said they’ve slept with at least one former partner.

The results also show marital status is a large component, as divorcees were among the most likely groups to rekindle the flames with a past love.

Divorced men and women were 58% more likely than their married counterparts to have slept with an ex.

Dr. Wendy Walsh, clinical psychologist and DatingAdvice.com expert, said divorcees often turn to past lovers again as potential mates, looking past why the relationship failed in the first place.

“The high number of divorced people seeking out sex with an ex reflects a trend in our culture called ‘retro sexual,'” she said. “Usually after consummating things, the bubble bursts and they realize they are in the same old relationship they thought they’d left behind.”

“African-Americans had the highest response

at 52 percent – triple the rate of Asians.”

African-Americans also had a high response rate at 52%, two-thirds higher than whites and Hispanics and almost triple the rate of Asians.

Among the least likely groups to admit to having sex with an ex was older Americans.

A little less than a third of 54- to 64-year-olds answered in the affirmative, but that number drops to only 16 percent for those over 65.

Dr. Walsh said since the definition of commitment varies in the minds of men and women, sleeping with an ex can sometimes be emotionally and physically dangerous.

“Men are more likely to consider a woman an ex when the relationship is in the on-again, off-again stages, while women might assume they are having sex with a boyfriend who they are negotiating exclusivity with,” she said. “The very definition of ‘sex with an ex’ says partners are not in an exclusive sexual relationship with each other, increasing the likelihood of getting an STD.”

The Breakdown: Americans Who’ve Slept with an Ex

By gender:

  • Male: 39%
  • Female: 30%

By sexuality:

  • Straight: 34%
  • Gay: 49%

By marital status:

  • Single, Never Married: 40%
  • Married: 29%
  • Divorced: 44%

By age:

  • 18 to 24: 34%
  • 25 to 34: 43%
  • 35 to 44: 41%
  • 45 to 54: 41%
  • 54 to 64: 27%
  • 65 and older: 16%

By race:

  • White: 31%
  • African-American: 52%
  • Hispanic: 40%
  • Asian: 18%

By income:

  • Under $25,000: 32%
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 35%
  • $50,000 to $74,999: 43%
  • $75,000 to $99,999: 37%
  • $100,000 to $124,999: 34%
  • $125,000 or higher: 23%

By region:

  • Northeast: 32%
  • Midwest: 25%
  • South: 39%
  • West: 37%

Visit DatingAdvice.com/Studies for more research on dating and relationship topics. Relationship expert Dr. Wendy Walsh is a frequent contributor on CNN and other major networks and is the author of the new book “The 30-Day Love Detox.”

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