Created By: Westrim on January 15, 2012 Last Edited By: Westrim on January 24, 2012
Troped

Sex With the Ex

Things may not have worked out romantically, but they can still get along carnally.

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Trope
Two characters that used to be a couple broke up. They got bored of each other or argued too much, he just wouldn't put the seat down, she used too much toilet paper, whatever. Emotionally or mentally they didn't think they were right for each other. Sexually, however, they still get along just fine.

They may only they only get to kissing each other or get further than that, but as long as they're reinitiating a physical relationship it's fair game. It can naturally take on a variety of forms, as people are complicated; it may just be sex and friendship, it may be a pattern of hooking up, swearing to never see each other again, and hooking up again, or they could go back into a relationship.

May lead to getting back together, particularly if it starts after a separation or after they've moved on to other people for added drama/comedy. Naturally, a common sitcom trope.

Subtrope of Amicable Exes (to be launched shortly), where they're really amiable. Supertrope to New Old Flame.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Lupin and Fujiko engage in this, due to the nature of their on-again off-again relationship. The most notable instance occurs in The Secret of Twilight Gemini. They go at it twice, during one of their off periods, despite Lupin's interest in Lara. The first attempt gets averted by Sadachiyo and his men, who crash their hotel room to assassinate Lupin. The second attempt, however, goes off without a hitch. He bangs her in the file room of a Moroccan police station!!

Film
  • In The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler's ex-girlfriend takes advantage of his drunken blackout to have a one-night stand with him. He rejects her once he sobers up the next morning.
  • Hou$e Of Lie$ has the Don Cheadle character waking up in bed with his ex-wife as the very first scene. He then attempts to make it look like they weren't having sex.
  • Happens between the title character and his ex-wife in The Lincoln Lawyer.

Joke
  • There is an old joke about a woman who visits a friend she didn't see for years, and sees several children who look just like the husband their mother divorced years ago. When questioned, said mother says "He sometimes visits in order to apologise".

Live-Action Television
  • Used as a plot device in the Pilot Episode of Cheers, where Diane's fiance jilts her so he can run off on their planned honeymoon with his ex-wife, thus forcing her to work at Sam Malone's bar for several years' worth of UST.
  • Friends: Ross and Rachel were guilty of this, several times, during break ups.
    • When Monica and Richard break up the second time she offers him one last night together.
  • The Golden Girls had an entire arc of it with Dorothy and Stan, leading up to the intended, but called off, re-marriage.
  • Used to definitely break up Rachel's relationship at the end of the first season of How To Make It In America. She ponders over breaking up with her boyfriend, gets drunk, sleeps with her ex Ben then tells her current boyfriend its over and underlines how over it is by mentioning she slept with Ben.
  • Scrubs: Dr. Cox started sleeping with his ex-wife Jordan, who is one of the few people with a strong enough personality to keep up with him. After about a season and a half of this just loathing himself and sabotaging any attempt at a new relationship, they get back together officially when Jordan becomes pregnant and remain together officially unmarried the rest of the series.
  • My Name Is Earl: Earl's wife Joy divorced him in the first episode and those early episode had a very rocky relationship. When Earl accidentally ruined Joy's marriage to Darnell he set out to make it up to her, which managed to get them back together as friends and accidentally sparked a night together, forcing Earl to need to make things up to Darnell.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard and Penny broke up late-third season and in the season finale Penny started dating again, only to find herself unable to go back to stupid guys after dating Leonard (a physicist). Coming home drunk and depressed she took Leonard to bed, which he misinterpreted as Penny wanting to get back together. She was very embarrassed because that was not the intention (she gets very loose when she drinks) and Leonard was upset over being used for sex.
  • Castle and his 2nd ex-wife briefly remembered why they got married and spent the summer in the Hamptons together- which reminded them why they got divorced.
  • How I Met Your Mother had an episode revolving around Ted and Robin having sex in order to avoid arguments (they had broken up but were still roommates).
  • Frasier, at least once, with his ex Lillith Sternin.
  • In one episode, Blossom catches her divorced parents fooling around. They hadn't had sex but may have if they weren't caught.
  • Seinfeld did this, with Jerry and Elaine.
  • Cougar Town did it - Jules and Bobby hooked up after having been divorced for a while. Grayson and Andy wrote a song about it, which they called (appropriately), "Sex with Your Ex." It went:
    Sex with your ex is really great/but sex with your ex is a big mistake/oh no no/sex with your ex.
  • Happened in PanAm when Bridgett came back; screwed up Dean and Collette's relationship.
Bones: Booth has had a couple of "one time only" sleepovers with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son.
  • The one season of Breaking Bad has Walter having sex with his wife again after they split. Also, Raylan Givens in Justified has slept with his ex-wife several times, even though she's now married to another man.
  • Bones: Booth has had a couple of "one time only" sleepovers with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son.
  • Parenthood - Crosby and Jasmine end up in bed together after discussing (over copious amounts of wine) the heartbreak they both felt trying to explain to their son, Jabar, that they wouldn't be getting married.

Memoir
  • In Suzanne Finnamore's 'Split,' she admits to having sex with her ex in the midst of their messy divorce, even though he's theoretically with The Other Woman (the same one he left Suzanne for) and she claims that sex is the Best. Ever.

Video Games
  • In Fahrenheit, Lucas can bed his ex-GF Tiffany when she comes to pick up the last bits of her stuff from his apartment mid-game.

Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • January 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Too bad we can't call it Put The Ex In Sex because that doesn't convey the definition.
  • January 15, 2012
    chicagomel
    The Golden Girls had an entire arc of it with Dorothy and Stan, leading up to the intended, but called off, re-marriage.
  • January 15, 2012
    Falco
    Used to definitely break up Rachel's relationship at the end of the first season of How To Make It In America. She ponders over breaking up with her boyfriend, gets drunk, sleeps with her ex Ben then tells her current boyfriend its over and underlines how over it is by mentioning she slept with Ben.
  • January 15, 2012
    MiinU

    Live television

    • Friends: Ross and Rachel were guilty of this, several times, during break ups.
  • January 15, 2012
    nman
    We talking ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, ex-wife or ex-husband, either, or what?
  • January 15, 2012
    Westrim
    Any romantically involved ex.
  • January 16, 2012
    KJMackley
    The description could use a little more elaboration on what narrative purpose it has, but I think the basic idea is good. For instance what is the exact situation, do they break up and continue a Friends With Benefits relation? Is it a series of "bad mistakes" whenever both are feeling lonely? Is it a renewal of their relationship? I think all parts are valid but that needs to be a part of the description. For some examples:
    • Scrubs: Dr. Cox started sleeping with his ex-wife Jordan, who is one of the few people with a strong enough personality to keep up with him. After about a season and a half of this just loathing himself and sabotaging any attempt at a new relationship, they get back together officially when Jordan becomes pregnant and remain together officially unmarried the rest of the series.
    • My Name Is Earl: Earl's wife Joy divorced him in the first episode and those early episode had a very rocky relationship. When Earl accidently ruined Joy's marriage to Darnell he set out to make it up to her, which managed to get them back together as friends and accidently sparked a night together, forcing Earl to need to make things up to Darnell.
    • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard and Penny broke up late-third season and in the season finale Penny started dating again, only to find herself unable to go back to stupid guys after dating Leonard (a physicist). Coming home drunk and depressed she took Leonard to bed, which he misinterpreted as Penny wanting to get back together. She was very embarassed because that was not the intention (she gets very loose when she drinks) and Leonard was upset over being used for sex.
  • January 16, 2012
    Koveras
    • In Fahrenheit, Lucas can bed his ex-GF Tiffany when she comes to pick up the last bits of her stuff from his apartment mid-game.
  • January 16, 2012
    SKJAM
    • House Of Lies has the Don Cheadle character waking up in bed with his ex-wife as the very first scene. He then attempts to make it look like they weren't having sex.
  • January 16, 2012
    SorciaMacNasty
    Memoir: In Suzanne Finnamore's 'Split,' she admits to having sex with her ex in the midst of their messy divorce, even though he's theoretically with The Other Woman (the same one he left Suzanne for) and she claims that sex is the Best. Ever.
  • January 16, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Castle Castle and his 2nd ex-wife briefly remembered why they got married and spent the summer in the Hamptons together- which reminded them why they got divorced.
  • January 16, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    Also in Friends after Monica and Richard break up the second time she offers him one last night together.
  • January 16, 2012
    AP
    • How I Met Your Mother had an episode revolving around Ted and Robin having sex in order to avoid arguments (they had broken up but were still roomates).
  • January 16, 2012
    Kinswaous
    Frasier, at least once, with his ex Lillith Sternin.
  • January 16, 2012
    Waterlily
    In one episode, Blossom catches her divorced parents fooling around. They hadn't had sex but may have if they weren't caught.

    Does that count?
  • January 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I say it does, since Blossom and Tony are later talking about the Parental Sexuality Squick issues it brings up.
  • January 18, 2012
    X2X
    Compare/contrast Friends With Benefits.
  • January 18, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime

    • Lupin and Fujiko engage in this, due to the nature of their on-again off-again relationship. The most notable instance occurs in The Secret of Twilight Gemini. They go at it twice, during one of their off periods, despite Lupin's interest in Lara. The first attempt gets averted by Sadachiyo and his men, who crash their hotel room to assassinate Lupin. The second attempt, however, goes off without a hitch. He bangs her in the file room of a Moroccan police station!!
  • January 18, 2012
    MasterShizzle
    Seinfeld did this, with Jerry and Elaine.
  • January 18, 2012
    justpeachy
    Cougar Town did it too--Jules and Bobby hooked up after having been divorced for a while. Grayson and Andy wrote a song about it, which they called (appropriately), "Sex with Your Ex." It went: Sex with your ex is really great/but sex with your ex is a big mistake/oh no no/sex with your ex.
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Anything where the bases are involved- mouth to mouth kissing on up- between people that were in a previous relationship counts. How long afterwards and how far they get romantically or sexually aren't factors. The main point is that they have reinitiated a physical relationship, however briefly.
  • January 18, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    Film - Live Action
    • In The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler's ex-girlfriend takes advantage of his drunken blackout to have a one-night stand with him. He rejects her once he sobers up the next morning.

    Live Action TV
    • Used as a plot device in the Pilot Episode of Cheers, where Diane's fiance jilts her so he can run off on their planned honeymoon with his ex-wife, thus forcing her to work at Sam Malone's bar for several years' worth of of UST.

  • January 18, 2012
    JonnyB
    Happened in PanAm when Bridgett came back; screwed up Dean and Collette's relationship.
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Added in all the examples, fleshed out the intro some more.
  • January 18, 2012
    SKJAM
    House Of Lies is live action TV (appearing on the Showtime network.)
  • January 18, 2012
    Falco
    • Bones has Brennan sleeping with her ex (and also her former thesis supervisor) when he comes into town. It doesn't end well when they end up on opposing sides during a case, and underlines Booth's importance to her in her life when he gives her the emotional support her ex won't.
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    The past six comments have been examples, it's formatted by medium and I've addressed all the other concerns about clarity. Is this ready to launch?
  • January 20, 2012
    David7204
    The latest season of Breaking Bad has Walter having sex with his wife again after they split. Also, Raylan Givens in Justified has slept with his ex-wife several times, even though she's now married to another man.
  • January 21, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ Did you see the five hats? Just Launch It Already.
  • January 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Bones: Booth has had a couple of "one time only" sleepovers with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son.
  • January 21, 2012
    vynsane
    • Parenthood - Crosby and Jasmine end up in bed together after discussing (over copious amounts of wine) the heartbreak they both felt trying to explain to their son, Jabar, that they wouldn't be getting married.

    Add it before launch, or launch and I'll add it.
  • January 21, 2012
    Omeganian
    There is an old joke about a woman who visits a friend she didn't see for years, and sees several children who look just like the husband their mother divorced years ago. When questioned, said mother says "He sometimes visits in order to apologise".
  • January 22, 2012
    Sackett
    Isn't this related to New Old Flame?
  • January 23, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    Happens between the title character and his ex-wife in The Lincoln Lawyer.
  • January 24, 2012
    Westrim
    Launching.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gv2aj3s9unk3xgdutwsavjue