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Sex and the Single Widow/er

The surprising connection between sex and grief

Abigail Carter
4 min readFeb 20, 2021


Sex and widow are not words you often hear together. Bit of an oxymoron actually. And yet. It's been a dry spell, so maybe this topic is on my mind more than it ought to be. I am pretty certain there is an interesting link here. I have come up with a bunch of reasons why sex would play a large role in a widow/er’s life:

  • Replace lost intimacy
  • Feel alive
  • Stave off loneliness
  • Be touched
  • Feel comforted
  • As a way of giving love that no longer has a place to go
  • Rediscovering oneself after a long marriage
  • A release of sexual repression
  • A form of spirituality
  • Overcome separateness

Wild Thang

In my experience, and judging from some conversations I’ve had with other widow/ers, sex often becomes a large part of one’s recovery. In fact, widow/ers seem to have a kind of “wild stage” where getting laid takes on greater importance than it has since they were newlyweds. I know that I personally discovered an entirely new side of myself – a sexual side AFTER my husband died. I threw myself into the act, surrendering in a sense, to what? Life maybe? A sort of “I choose life!” kind of declaration? I became ravenous. It was surprising and unsettling. It felt unseemly and I felt guilty that I had become something that I had not been in my marriage. Yet it was comforting – a perfect grief-relieving mechanism. Being single after 9 years was not my plan. I figured I would start dating a couple of years after my loss and probably be married by year 5 or so. I still go to sleep every night with the words “I love you” in my head, not directed at my husband exactly, but to some unknown person who is just not there at the moment. I have love to give, but it has nowhere to go.

Mr. Hitachi

Wait, let me add that to my list above. I’ve wondered if sex might have something to do with my singledom. OK, that brings me to self-love. I have a very good friend, Mr. Hitachi. He’s not exactly quiet in bed, but effective and quick. With a little hit of dark chocolate after…



Abigail Carter

Writing about widowhood, parenting, life, grief, art, writing and publishing. #singlemom #author #memoirist #writer #widow #9/11widow #artist