Anna Lawlor x Ann Summers

Our August guest editor is the brilliant Anna Lawlor, otherwise known as @thelongmum. She's here to talk Sex After Separation, how a break up doesn't need to mean a break down of your sex life, and how, in fact, with a little guidance and a few treats, you can get ready for your best orgasms ever. Ex? What ex?

What is something you’ve learned about dating as a single mother?

That I don’t feel I have to settle for someone that’s not good for me or deserving of me because I’m feeling lonely, or thinking that I can’t be picky. Dating is so much harder when you have tight constraints on your energy and schedule, and you need to make sure you invite someone into your life who is worthy of the more limited amount of time you may have. Don’t ever feel like you’re less attractive because of your status - although being a single parent can add a new level of complexity to your dating experiences, remember it would be a privilege to any person to have you in their lives! I’m no longer staying in relationships that don’t serve me as they should.

How have you got over break up’s previously?

The old me would probably wallow for far too long, and continued to pursue something that wasn’t right for me or meeting my needs. It's fine to lie in bed and have a good cry - there’s really no time limit on processing a break up, but remember we should be investing our energy and attention into ourselves. At the same time, I do think it can be helpful to get yourself back out there, because dating can be fun, you’ve just got to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone going through a break up right now?

It’s ok to feel your feelings, and from experience I know heartbreak is the worst! Lie in bed, cry, scream into a pillow if you need to, delete those messages and don’t pour over their social media. Get comfortable in your own company - it’s absolutely ok to be single, it’s not a reflection of your unworthiness. This time next year you’ll be in a different place, I promise, and this is coming from someone who had a breakdown after being ghosted…I’ve since learnt not to take such rejection so personally! Therapy was also a godsend, although I understand it’s not accessible to all.

What has been your experience in finding yourself after a breakup? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

Don't let your relationship status hold you back from doing the things you want to do. I recently took myself on a solo holiday and it was a gamechanger for me. It can be incredibly tough and lonely to relearn who you are as a single, independent person, especially if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, but ultimately it will help you reach a new level of self confidence and it can be gloriously empowering.

What advice would you give to someone on navigating post break up sex / sex as a newly single person?

The thought of having sex with a new partner may feel exciting, as well as scary. Make sure you embark on a new sexual relationship at a pace that feels comfortable to you, and that you are making the right choices about who you are intimate with - it’s great to feel desired again, sure, but ensure that you are not seeking validation through sex. You will feel a connection again, and in my experience it can be even better than before, especially if you’ve taken some time to rediscover your own body and pleasure, and exactly what it is that turns you on.

Is break up sex ever a good idea?

Yes, absolutely, but ideally not with your ex. Also, don’t waste a wax on someone you’re unsure about, or that is unsure about you - this is where solo sex really comes into play. If you’re bored and horny, I’d masturbate first and see how you feel after that before hooking up - at least you’re more likely to have an orgasm.

If you’re both on the same page and feel you can handle just the sexual intimacy, a friend with benefits can be a positive thing. I’ve found that’s been a good way to explore new experiences and it’s definitely given me more confidence in asking for what I want. My sex life has got infinitely better since I’ve been single, and that because I’ve taken the time to explore my own body and desires. It’s been empowering and confidence building. It's YOUR pleasure, and it's important to own it.