Was The Sex That Good, Or Was My Ex Just Toxic?

Wattpad should NOT be the blueprint.

( Becca Tapert / Unsplash )


Lately, TikTok’s been throwing me right back into mid-2010s aesthetic. My middle school self’s (and maybe current-self’s) loves like One Direction/5SOS, alternative 2015 hits, Lana Del Rey and fanfics are trending. While this certainly has me feeling both old and cool as hell, there is one particular trend that’s leaving me with a lot of confusion and rethinking.


In true Wattpad-era fashion, the new and hot conversation on TikTok is the quality of sex in a healthy relationship versus a toxic one. The general consensus of this argument is that once a relationship becomes toxic, the sex will be better. But how much truth does this sentiment hold?


The psychology behind toxic relationships explains a LOT about why physical intimacy with your lackluster ex may be the reason you’re still holding on. Toxic relationships in themselves are usually emotional intimacy roller coasters. Something as physically intimate and vulnerable as sex can become the only form of closeness you can feel at the ending of a relationship. Often times, all of the dopamine and serotonin you released during sex can be glorified, especially if you’re not gaining satisfaction in other areas of the partnership.


Sex, in itself, is a chemically emotional thing — no matter how casual or “moved on” you have become. Sex with an ex can be both cathartic for underlying anger and resentment (you know, good ol’ hate sex), and also act as validation for lingering feelings of abandonment or rejection (aka reclamation sex).


To put things straight, sex with your ex can feel so much better due to the high emotional release and validation you get, that you never received through conversation or any other form of healthy communication


While we can put the blame on ourselves, we also have a few other culprits to look at when it comes to this romanticization of toxic relationships. Let’s look back at the media we were fed at the ripe ol’ impressionable ages of 12-15. (*Cough* Wattpad *Cough*)


Does the phrase “Fooking Trevah” ring a bell for any of y’all? Or maybe, it was Tate and Violet’s relationship that did it. WAIT! I forgot Alex and Piper, Ross and Rachel, Bella and Edward (Alice and Jasper fans rise), even Belle and The Beast were toxic and glorified in the name of romance and swoon-worthy moments.


Our generation has been spoon-fed toxic relationships with a pretty mask of ~~sexual tension~~ to the point where we view that as the standard or “blueprint”. A desirable, aesthetically toxic relationship that will come off as the perfect relationship across the screen, but a terrible and draining reality IRL.


It’s time we stop idolizing the Maddie and Nate’s of the world. It’s 2021; let's let go of the claim of those who have hurt us. <3








Livv Haut is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her passions lie in inclusivity, sketching fairies, watching C-Span, and Joni Mitchell. You can reach her at oliviahaut@ufl.edu or @livvhaut on instagram for more.