Why women feel sexier after divorce

sex after divorce

At least I have my kids.

That’s another thing I tell myself when things are tough. When I worry I’ll never figure out the relationship thing. When I sit back and think, “How the hell did things turn out this way?” No one tells you these things can happen. There isn’t an afterschool special, a pamphlet, a talk with the school counselor that warns you to look out for the dangers of marrying a perfectly nice guy who then falls off a cliff and is irrevocably changed for the worse when he cracks his skull on a rock and nearly dies.

I believe in a God. And there are many days when I think: “Dude. WTF?”

But here is something that I never question: I am so, so glad I have my kids. I always wanted kids. I didn’t really know what that meant until I had them. I wasn’t one of those women who got jealous when a friend got pregnant, or have Anne Geddes pictures posted in my cubicle. But I knew I was supposed to have kids, and I did.

There are all those wonderful thing about children, but I don’t feel like they need to be spelled out here. Because if you read my Facebook feed you can read all about my children’s witticisms and generous hearts. The fact that the species keep perpetuating itself is evidence enough that kids are worth all the work and heartache. True, babies keep getting born because people are horny and none too keen on birth control. But I believe it is mainly because babies and children are unbelievably wonderful.

My point at this moment is that if I were 37, single and childless, I would feel very, very differently about my life. There would be the clock that dictates one’s every date, every interaction with a man, how you spend or save your money, your career choices and the real estate you inhabit. I knew a woman who was a perfectly attractive, sexually-active-in-a-normal-way, 28-year-old professional person, and ALL SHE WANTED TO DO WAS GET MARRIED AND HAVE BABIES. She asked me what I thought about starting a college fund. A college fund. For babies whose father had yet to be identified.

At least I have my kids.

True, dating as a single mom is a whole weird, new experience. It is also awesome. Last time I was dating, I was in my mid-20s and I was looking for a husband and father to my kids. This time around, it’s a totally different show. I don’t need anyone’s sperm — QUICK! before my ovaries shrivel! I don’t need anyone’s money. I need love and companionship and sex. Now my requirements for a relationship are culled from a part of me that is more tender and real and soft than I’ve known until now. I may want to get married again one day – in fact I think that might be just lovely – but there is no big emergency. No clock. That I have my children grants me the luxury of enjoying a man in a way that I never did before.

My kids also grant me the luxury to enjoy all the other parts of my life until I meet one.

Which brings me to what I see in other women's experiences:

There is something amazing and magical that happens when women divorce. They get beautiful. And they get horny.

It's no coincidence these two things go hand-in-hand. Or that they follow divorce. No matter how contentious or acrimonious or downright explosively miserable the end of your marriage was, being divorced is better. It always is. It was sad. It sucked. Now it's better.

After divorce, you feel alive again

When you finally sell off his engagement ring, that heavy, nasty weight of your ex leaves and you realize that you will survive and that life does go on, all of a sudden the sun starts to shine a little brighter. You start to notice the different shades of green of the leaves in that tree that has been outside your house for years and years. Your children seem unbelievably wonderful, and your own reflection in the mirror starts to not look so horrible. It is as if those cracks of light inside of you are now on the outside. And everything about you — on the inside and the outside — everything is better.

And the men. The men! All of a sudden, you start to notice that there are men in the world. Not just people with hair on their arms who smell different that we do. They are men who have bodies and hands and deep voices that offer compliments and eyes — eyes. Eyes that look at you and make you realize that those men are thinking things. Things about you. And that makes you think those things about yourself, too. And about those men. And those men? They're everywhere.

Sex can finally be just about pleasure.

And sooner or later you find ways to be with those men. On dates, and in bed. And you cannot believe how much better it was than the last time around. The last time you were in your 20s! You were silly and looking for a husband and had an agenda! This time? Who cares!? Well, you care — about everything. About all those feelings and the touching and the joy and the thrill and that passion and the love. Love wasn't this great last time, was it? Could it have gotten better? And yet you care about nothing. None of those things that were on your list. You have those things yourself — the kids and the house and the career. You start to see the spots in yourself that a man can fill. And you start to see men in different ways. Because you are different.

And the men — they are better, too.

There is no speculating this time, no guessing about what he might look like in middle age, or whether he will fulfill all those dazzling plans he lays out, or whether he has the capacity for love and friendship and joy. Because now they have track records and portfolios. Of life. And you shop for them, and try them on and enjoy them. Meet awesome men on Elite Singles, one of my favorite dating sites. That is the thing about being divorced and dating. You enjoy men. Because you enjoy yourself. And life is full and secure like it wasn't before. And what is more beautiful than that?

Are you not so sure about dating again? Read this post about 9 ways to feel confident when you feel old, gross and fat.

Also check out my video course: How to get back into dating for single moms

Related posts:

Which dating sites should single moms use?

9 reasons dating is better as a single mom

Dating as a single mom is like dating as a teenager

It's not all romance and orgasms. Single-mom sex can be hilarious. Now that you are older, have gone through it, and came out the other side alive,  you have the self-comfort to laugh at all the crazy shizzle that happens to us in bed.

10 crazy sex things that happen to single moms

All or some or none of the following may or may not have happened to me or women I know or met or heard of. You know who you are.

  1. Late-night phone sex is interrupted by your kid barfing.
  2. You discover at an inopportune moment that you have 27 My Little Pony stickers attached to your legs.
  3. You discover at an inopportune moment that even though you stopped nursing a year ago, you are indeed still lactating.
  4. You grab what you think is a pen from your purse to write your number on his hand, only to find yourself gripping a GI Joe.
  5. You dig into the nightstand drawer for a condom, only to have to sort through LEGOs and crayons and Barbie accessories to find them wedged in the far back corner.
  6. Just as things are getting frisky you get a text from your ex because your kid is freaking out and misses you and will you please call and calm him down? Like, now?!
  7. Somehow a Wiggles song makes its way onto your “Smooth Jamz” playlist.
  8. You leave the party to fool around in the car, but there are car seats in the backseat. And Cheerios in the other seats. And the car kinda smells like toddler pee. And maybe something rotting under the seat? Man, how long has this banana been under here? Let's just forget it, OK? It was nice to meet you, too.
  9. You're with someone new and you have to face the fact that your business is just not what it was. Either you have a scar above (or hidden by?) your furry bits, or your junk has been sewn up like a cross-stitch sampler, or things just aren't the same downtown.
  10. Despite it all, you can still stand naked in front of a man who will say (and mean it), “You have a beautiful body.”

Do you feel sexier after divorce? Is post-divorce sex really hot for you? Share in the comments!

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Erica on March 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Gotta say this article got me all turned on :) I’ve only had one little fling since my marriage ended and it reminded me how fun it was and that I need to get back out there. I even just joined OKCupid. Unfortunately, even though I know you think it’s BS there really don’t seem to be a lot of good guys looking for a single mom (I combined two of your excuses into one! :)). Don’t worry, I’m going to be be patient, trying to be relaxed about it. But I do live in a small town and there just aren’t a lot of fish the sea here.

    • Emma on March 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Erica – I try not to take for granted that I have a nice dating pool in NYC. I have lived in so many small towns and smaller cities, and you are correct, it is much tougher in smaller places. But I do believe in the magic of things. So many great success stories – why shouldn’t you be one of them?

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    • Paul jackson on February 17, 2019 at 9:18 pm

      give me a break. you completely missed out on the fact that you had to take all the money from your husband for any of this to be true. if you were broke after the divorce. sex would be the last thing on your mind. i guess the article is true if you got all the money in the divide which of course all woman do. well i guess it is true then.

  2. finallyfree on December 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

    After 10 years 2 kids and an affair, after spending nights alone crying, to finally leave and fight for what I was entitled to in divorce, I thought I was done. Life as I knew it was over. I was meant to wander through life with no purpose. Damaged. I started thinking I needed to race into another relationship so that people would see me as whole. Then I smartened up and made MYSELF whole. Made MYSELF happy. Everyone notices. I thought that 2 carat diamond made me important. I exchanged them for earrings. I don’t want a relationship. I like my freedom and making my own decisions. There are still men in my life, but on my terms. In what capacity I choose. I am mom still, ferocious amazing mom who bakes the cupcakes and signs the Christmas cards and attends the mom groups lol. In the beginning I wanted full custody. He didn’t deserve them. But I let go and learned that they still love him and see him as an amazing person. Kids need dad time too. 50% custody. I get to be supermom, and the other 50% is all about me. I get to be me completely. I don’t hide behind an apron or an ironing board. I have more love and happiness and fulfillment from the new people/friends/family in my life then I ever had as a married person. I still believe in happy marriages…this isn’t one of “those” comments. A happy marriage is a beautiful thing. But if its not happy, its not beautiful. Once you realise that your life isn’t over after the divorce pain, it does get better-I am having the time of my life-I have it all……and funny….It drives my ex nuts that he settled for a trashy waitress and he is miserable, while I am single, and so VERY, TRULY, happy. There needs to be more articles like this…..because this is what really happens after the darkness…It gets better, better than you could ever think possible :)

    • Marta on October 23, 2017 at 7:38 am

      Thank you for this comment!
      I’m in the midst of the dark side right now … And so want to believe it will get better …

    • Christine on February 11, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Wow that was good!!!
      2 years post divorce and starting to date. I have something to give and on my terms! Loveit!

    • Dee on March 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Yes! I feel the same way! It’s such a wonderful life

    • Rachael on September 15, 2018 at 8:14 am

      I loved reading this! This is where I am headed and it gives me inspiration! You’re awesome and inspiring…keep living!

  3. Emma on December 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! What a great perspective – so many people cannot imagine life without a spouse, or a life after their marriage. Which is why so many jump into second marriages that aren’t right for them. But life is so full of surprises and joys if you just lean in and roll with it – and get over the idea that it single=shameful. GOOD FOR YOU!!!! And I totally agree – there are wonderful marriages out there, and I too believe in those. Just not the rest :)

    >>It drives my ex nuts that he settled for a trashy waitress and he is miserable, while I am single, and so VERY, TRULY, happy.


  4. Emilia on March 27, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I have been in this ambivalence since I divorced. I am happy!!! I have never been happier in my life! Everything~ better mommy, smiling, free, look and feel beautiful, men galore, got a dog (a dream for me AND my girls)…but there is no such literature on women and children thriving after divorce!! Lead me to more of this type of reading!! I love!

    • Emma on March 27, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Emilia! I love you!! I find so many women experience this …. it is more than the calm after the storm. More like MARDI GRAS after Hurricane Katrina! I agree, not much is written about it — so keep coming here for more :)

  5. Gene Aldred on January 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Well I am reading this and sorry ladies but I am a man. The divorce is almost complete. It was so agonizing but I am 56 and I am starting to feel like I was 30. It isn’t so much the intimacy that I never had, I wont be seeking that out anytime soon. It is just the feeling that my life is mine to create. I am terrified most days. Of course I am no spring chicken but having friendships with women who like to communicate and share is an incredible thing. Of course some day if it gets romantic that will be a joy to partake in then. It is really the ability form relationships and feel that warmth which is the thrill.

    • Gabriella Martin on August 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Yeah, of course….you are the victim

      • Laura on July 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm

        So is it unacceptable for a man to be happy after a divorce? A bad marriage is bad for everyone involved.

      • Justanotherdude on November 7, 2017 at 6:44 pm

        Yeah that’s right… because it is invariably the man’s fault for the divorce.

        Here’s to your impending spinsterhood.

        • Alexandra on February 23, 2018 at 7:47 pm

          Nicely said

      • Brittany on September 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        What is wrong with you? Are you that miserable? When did he claim to be a victim? He’s only saying what EVERY other woman on here is saying? But it’s wrong because he’s a man? Get outta hea.

  6. Gene Alfred on January 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm


  7. Augustine on February 12, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Problem s other word women.because god fail to give brain to women for think and determines themselve

  8. TheGoddessPrinciples on February 22, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! No woman ever died from divorce! If anything, we are stronger, and sexier than ever! What seemed to be the end of my life, tuned out to be the best hing that ever happened to me! I am young, I am HOT, and I date more younger men than I know what to do with! My life is absolutely awesome, and I speak and i mentor women on the subject. Thank you for posting this. It is so important that those of us who woke up, help women who don’t believe that life begins after divorce. I love your article, and would love to share it with my readers on my blog (if you choose). Divorce empowered me, helped me get in touch with my true self, and I am better than ever!

    • Alexandra on February 23, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Hi What is your blog?

  9. Gabriella Martin on August 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Yes, my role of a wife is done and over!! I get to be me. I don’t have to dumb down anymore….and share my energy with a so called victim.
    Thank god I got BA, and my ex-remained a mechanic…now dating/living with a heavy set lady.
    Now, he left me and our two kids for another (girl) .. Well by the time our divorce started I got promoted $$!! and now living by the water…beautiful!!
    My days are so productive and joyful..I’ve started running because I want to live life.
    My life has gotten better…he’s bitter and angry. I don’t know why? He should be happy..he was the one that left me ( left me and my kids to fend to life).
    Now I put on my suit; heels; and my victory face…
    I’m not dating just yet…. not ready to share my time or emotions just yet. Plus my kids need me. Maybe in few months. I’m size 6 maybe when I’m size 4!!!

    • James on June 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      I bet you never wanted to have sex or be nice after you were married. Sex only to pro-create. I feel sorry for whatever man eventually runs into you.

  10. kalpesh on September 5, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Hat up to the women who have struggled to adjust to save their marriage first and last they take final step of divorced I respect women lots but I am single then also I understand the feeling of women /wife what they go through if I hurt anyone please excuse me

  11. Laura on July 21, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I’m happily divorced and agree that finally ending a bad marriage is very liberating.
    I have to say to those ladies and gentlemen posting bitter, angry comments about their ex spouse that you’ll be even happier if you let go of your anger. And no it doesn’t matter how justified you think it is. It’s still dragging you down.

    • Brittany on September 16, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      +1. Very well said. You ain’t hurting him/her by holding on to that anger. You’re carrying that burden. And for those of you that are bitter towards ALL women/men because of your divorce, but want to start dating again, how do you expect to find someone if you’re going into it with THAT attitude?

  12. Justanotherdude on November 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Hilarious… “why women feel sexier” is not the same as women BEING sexier… the smart guys in the room know how to play off the implied insecurity to their own reward.

    To be blunt: if you start screwing like a whore because of self-esteem issues, don’t expect to be treated as anything but by the men using you. But if you’re honest with yourself and that’s okay with you, then it’s okay with you.

  13. Sue on November 12, 2017 at 7:23 am

    So when my divorce is final I’ll become a huge slut?! That’s awful. That’s what the article is saying and most of the response aren’t helping. I’d rather stay married. Enjoy getting herpes and AIDS. I will keep my legs closed thank you very much.

  14. josh on October 23, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Divorced women feel sexier than in marriage. Also they looking smarter and fresh. I prefer dating a divorced women .

    • YeahUhHuhSure on December 3, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Depends on what you’re looking for. Generaluzations about divorced women looking smarter, fresher, sexier is just a generalization that’s only true some of the time with some women. Same us true of divorced men. The singles I know of both sexes enjoy their autonomy and independence but they also struggle with mutual transparency about their shared expectations, especially when the desires for an improved or more intimate relationship are mismatched. Often the relaxed dynamics around a no-strings attached start prevent and natural escalation. This I’d aggravated by the unlimited choices everyone seems to have and how that alters their perceptions about working through fairly common growth and development milestones relationships go through (communicating values, being held accountable for attitudes and behaviors, mild to serious disagreements, conflict resolution, patience , sacrifice, compromise and of course fidelity – if that’s important to the couple). I’ve seen so many folks who want to elevate their Friends With Benefits relationships to something more (but less than marriage) with people who are all but committed in everything but name, but because they started on such loose footing – they have no clear way to break out of the friend zone.

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