Is Make-Up Sex Really Useful?

Make-up sex is a resource widely used in the world of fiction. Indeed, both cinema and literature regularly use it in their productions. However, what happens in reality? Is it good or bad?
Is Make-Up Sex Really Useful?
Sara González Juárez

Written and verified by the psychologist Sara González Juárez.

Last update: 01 March, 2023

Make-up sex is a really popular concept and is commonly found in books and movies. A couple argues, tempers flare, and they end up in bed together.

Some people even claim that this sex is better than ‘normal’. How is this possible? After all, surely love and passion shouldn’t be compatible with shouting and insults?

Here, we’ll review this subject in depth, since it’s a commonly asked question.

Make-up sex

Make-up sex usually occurs after a severe argument. It’s extremely passionate sex and those who’ve experienced it affirm that their intense feelings of anger are mixed with those of love for their partner.

In fact, it’s the intense nature of this practice that makes many couples consider that the experience of sex is better after a conflict. Unsurprisingly, make-up sex is more common in unstable relationships.

Another reason why couples look favorably on having sex in the middle of an argument is that the sexual encounter changes their prevailing feelings, especially if they’ve been generated by a minor conflict. In effect, it creates a sense of closure, that the problem that, at the end of the day, wasn’t worth arguing over, has been fixed.

Is make-up sex helpful?

The real question is: is sex really a good way to end an argument? Let’s try to find the answer.

It’s often used to ask for forgiveness

Sex serves as a rapprochement tool for some couples. That’s because, after an argument, an emotional gap is created between both partners. Often, pride is a stone on the road to reconciliation and sex can help with this.

However, the negative connotation of this practice is that, as feelings of love and reconciliation emerge, the official apology is often ignored. This can create issues later for some couples.

Make-up sex can make things worse

Sex doesn’t always go well. This is no one’s fault and you can always stop and continue at another time. That said, if you start having sex after a fight and it doesn’t turn out to be satisfactory, it’s likely to make the situation even worse.

It could become a problem in itself

If having sex during arguments becomes a habit, it’s possible that you start to normalize it as a way of solving problems. In fact, some couples end up arguing to maintain their relationships. Or, they only have sex after an argument.

In most cases, this ends up in issues being put on hold. Consequently, they’re not dealt with and become chronic. Couples can also fall into unhealthy dynamics, such as using sex to mask their negative feelings.

It doesn’t make the conflict disappear

While it’s true that passion, as opposed to arguing, can make you forget the conflict momentarily, it won’t magically disappear.

Even if things have calmed down, returning to the conflict is unpleasant for many people. Indeed, it usually causes the entrenchment of problems in relationships.

The possibilities of make-up sex

Despite the dangers that make-up sex may entail, it can be a valid tool in resolving interpersonal conflicts.

Sometimes, couples have arguments about issues that aren’t really important. For example, something that one of them did in the past that’s no longer relevant as they’ve both recognized it as a mistake. In these cases, problems can arise when the sexual act replaces conversation and the search for solutions. On the other hand, the release of tension and the intimacy associated with the sexual encounter can facilitate the resolution of the conflict.

Make-up sex helps to calm the spirits and clear the mind. Therefore, partners can have a calm conversation that starts from positive feelings.

Finally, as in other matters of couples and sex: whether a practice is good or not depends on the variables of the context. Moreover, what works for some doesn’t work for others. Therefore, every couple must find the best way of solving their problems, either with or without sex.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Maxwell, J. A., & Meltzer, A. L. (2020). Kiss and Makeup? Examining the Co-occurrence of Conflict and Sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior49(8), 2883-2892.
  • Sprecher, S., & Cate, R. M. (2004). Sexual satisfaction and sexual expression as predictors of relationship satisfaction and stability. In The handbook of sexuality in close relationships (pp. 245-266). Psychology Press.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.