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The best part of arguing, some might say, is what comes after: makeup sex so good it could heal all wounds. "Make-up sex is a way to maintain your intimacy and bond together despite the disagreement," Jane Greer, Ph.D., sex and relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. But before you jump into bed after a bickering match, our experts say, there are a few rules you must follow.
1. Never have make-up sex out of spite.
You can't carry your anger into the bedroom, our experts warn. "It can backfire," explains Kat Van Kirk, certified sex therapist and author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life. Instead, she suggests, "learn to channel your anger and frustration into passion. It's all just energy. Make-up sex can be healing — if you allow it to be. Allow your vulnerability to shine through."
And while you can't go to bed still bickering, Greer believes make-up sex can be more passionate than your normal between-the-sheets action. "It's okay if this sex is a little more intense or aggressive, or not necessarily your usual style," she says. "Both parties are coming at it with heated feelings that may still be bubbling up from your disagreement. It's okay to release that in your lovemaking."
2. Don't assume just because you are having sex that the issue is resolved.
Tabling your serious talk for dirty talk doesn't mean you've magically healed your heated argument. Do not think make-up sex is a substitute for problem solving the underlying issue," Greer says. "It's a bridge to help you get to where you're going, but it's not the destination."
Instead, think of make-up sex as a magic pause button that will help you bond before you get back to the real issue. "Sometimes make-up sex can be a pause from your argument so that you can come to a resolution," says Van Kirk. "You don't have to agree about what you were fighting about to have make-up sex. It may allow you to agree to disagree."
3. Make-up sex shouldn't be the only kind of sex you are having.
You need a regular repertoire of sex that includes making up, our experts say, but is not defined by it. "Some couples notice that they develop a dysfunctional pattern of needing to fight before sex in order to have any passion," describes Van Kirk. "If this is your default type of sex, you may want to look at the relationship as a whole."
You should also never pressure your partner into make-up sex if he or she isn't feeling this healing experience. "If they don't want it, respect their feelings and needs," Greer says. "Perhaps they need to maintain their space by not being physical."
4. Make-up sex can be a tool to help you forgive.
It's important to use sex as a tool to heal your hurt in the same way you do using open and honest communication. Not only can an orgasm relieve the tension you're likely feeling post-fight, "make-up sex can allow you to connect with your partner's vulnerability and remind you what you love about them," Van Kirk says. "Getting physically intimate can actually calm your central nervous system and help you derail hurtful dialogue by doing something more positive."