My First Time is a column and podcast series exploring sexuality, gender, and kink with the wide-eyed curiosity of a virgin. We all know your "first time" is about a lot more than just popping your cherry. From experimenting with kink to just trying something new and wild, everyone experiences thousands of first times in the bedroom—that's how sex stays fun, right?
For Valentine's Day, Broadly will be celebrating breakups all week as part of our Love Bites coverage. Today, we're talking to beauty and lifestyle blogger Amelia Perrin about her experiences of breakup sex. You can listen to My First Time on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. This interview was edited or condensed for clarity.
I never normally have breakup sex, because most of the time when I break up with someone—or they break up with me, more commonly—I never hear from them again. They dump me and then disappear into the ether.
I was going out with [this guy] for a year: We’d moved in together, we’d even built a shared walk in-wardrobe in my flat. He was a great boyfriend for the first six to eight months of our relationship. I’m not going to sit here and say it was all bad and he was shit, because he was kind and generous and made me laugh. He did the nicest things for me. But then it just flipped. It was like he had a different personality at the end of our relationship, although that's probably just who he was all along.
In retrospect, we moved in together too quickly. He would be sensitive to small arguments that I perceived as minor: rows over chores or things like that. One time, we were getting food, and we had one of those arguments that just unravels. I can’t even remember what it was over, but I know it wasn’t anything important. After we’d made up, he convinced me to go to a travel agent and we ended up booking a holiday to Morocco then and there.
It probably wasn’t the best idea to book a holiday with someone I’d just have a fight with, but I thought, OK, this holiday is going to fix it. We’re going to go on this holiday, and it will be fine. I thought we were bickering because we weren’t having any quality time together, and the holiday would address that.
A few weeks after we booked the holiday, we were sitting on the sofa, just watching TV, and he turned to me and said, “I think you need to move out. I’m not happy.” I was stunned. When I asked him for his reasons, all the stuff he outlined was so minor. He’d cite reasons we shouldn’t be together, and I’d offer practical solutions to fix the problem. But he wasn’t listening—he’d decided he wanted to end things.
That left the issue of: What do we do about our holiday? My first reaction was to say, “You need to give me your half of the holiday, so I can go on it, because you’re the one who broke up with me.” But he refused and claimed he was going to sell the holiday, but never actually did. So that’s how I ended up going on holiday with my ex-boyfriend.
We basically ended up cosplaying like we were in a relationship for a week. He stayed over the night before; we went to the airport together; we laughed all the way out there on the plane. Everything was exactly how it would have been if we were still together. From the outside, you wouldn’t believe we weren’t a couple. I remember we even sat at Starbucks, talking about how fucked up it was we were going on holiday as a non-couple, and the table next to us were so obviously eavesdropping on our conversation.
When we arrived in Morocco, we checked into the hotel and went out for dinner and then came back and had sex. Having sex with him felt comforting. It’s easy having sex with someone you’ve had sex with so many times before, especially because you know each other sexually. Because we’d been in a relationship together, we were so comfortable around each other. I mean, I was literally walking around the hotel room naked and peeing with the door open. It’s not like you’re suddenly going to act like you’re strangers with each other. So we just slipped into acting like a couple.
While we were away, we talked about our relationship all the time. We said to each other, “This is a fucked up situation, and we’re making it harder for ourselves.” After a while I suggested we just deal with everything when we got back home. We basically behaved exactly how couples behave on holiday: We had a massive hotel room and had sex all over it!
During the week we went away, he changed his mind. He wanted to get back with me. It was November and it was coming up to Christmas. I thought to myself, Should I hold on for Christmas?Everyone said, "This is such a fucked up idea. You're continuing a relationship for one more month so you won't be lonely over Christmas." But we came back from the holiday, I realized I didn't have anything else tying myself to him—I'd moved out of his house—and I turned the other way.
I said to him: "Let’s not get back together." Neither of us took it particularly well. I would put up stuff on my Instagram stories of me going on dates, and he’d retaliate my blocking my profile and following a bunch of girls. I just thought, You broke up with me for no reason and now I’m not allowed to go on a date?
Now I look back at it, I wish we hadn’t gone on holiday together. I wish I had point blank cut him out of my life, the first time he broke up with me. It would have been a lot easier to move on, as my last memory would have been of him kicking me out of the house, and I’d have been able to solidify that hatred for him in my mind. I do regret having breakup sex with him, because of how complex it made everything.
If you’re having regular breakup sex with your ex, you need to work on figuring out the root cause of why you’re doing it. Is it because you both want to get back together? Is it because it’s comforting and easy? My takeaway from my whole experience has been: don’t go on holiday with an ex, and don’t have breakup sex. Just leave it alone.