Dr. Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, and colleagues Dr. Peggy Giordano, distinguished research professor emeritus of sociology; Dr. Monica Longmore, a professor of sociology; and former postdoctoral fellow Sarah Halpern-Meekin used data from The Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study.
The random sample of nearly 800 students ages 17-24 was drawn from Lucas County, Ohio.
The study, scheduled to be published in the March edition of the Journal of Adolescent Research, found approximately 44 percent of emerging adults who have been in a romantic relationship in the past two years experienced at least one reconciliation -- a breakup followed by a reunion.
Fifty-three percent of those who experienced reconciliations also reported having had sex with this ex.
Overall, more than a quarter of the respondents had sex with an ex, with similar proportions of men and women responding positively. Those who had sex with an ex were more likely to be older and in a cohabiting relationship, the study said.
Taken together, 48 percent of the total sample experienced some form of relationship "churning," while 24 percent experienced both forms, the researchers said.