Can sex with the ‘right’ star sign be a fast track to love?

The Soho Sex Column: Can you really be friends with an ex? | Soho House

Our resident sexpert Olivia Petter is here to answer members’ questions. This week, how much should we buy into astrology and relationships?

Friday 7 October 2022   By Olivia Petter   Illustration by Darren Shaddick

The timing of these columns never fails to amaze me: the subject is almost always something I’m currently thinking about myself, which is odd considering we choose them weeks in advance. Call it coincidental or cosmic. This week, I will be choosing the latter.

I’m writing this from the famously spiritual streets of San Francisco, California, fresh from an astrological reading I had in the legendary occult store, The Sword and Rose (Phoebe Bridgers follows it on Instagram). Not to be a total millennial cliché, but I am getting increasingly into astrology and other such woo woo, as some may call it. So, when a reading of my birth chart was on offer, I jumped at the chance. 

I’ve always known I was a Gemini – we get bad press, I know – but I was intrigued to discover that my rising sign was Leo and my moon sign was Scorpio. To the uninitiated, this might sound like nonsense. But as Kat, the woman doing my reading, set out to explain how all of this related to my relationships, it started to make a lot of sense. Without going into too much detail, it transpired that a lot of the patterns I had exhibited in my love life were in keeping with my astrological chart. 

The reason why this was helpful was not because it might help me predict when I will enter into my next relationship, or who it may be with. Much like therapy, an in-depth astrological reading provides a deeper understanding into why we are the way that we are. At least it did for me. 

For a long time, I thought the benefit of applying astrology to relationships was about compatibility. And to a point, that is helpful. For example, I know that I am most likely to be compatible with an Aquarius, or a Libra. I also know that I am least likely to be compatible with a Taurus, or a Scorpio, which happens to be the star sign of my ex-boyfriend. Make of that what you will.

But so obsessed was I with the idea that I was meant to be with certain people and not others, that someone’s star sign became an immediate red or green flag. Worse, I would talk to dates about this a little too openly, which is not something I would advise – consider the poor Aquarian I declared my soulmate after we’d slept together twice (there was not a third time). Or the Taurean I exchanged three messages with on Hinge before announcing we probably wouldn’t make it past a first date ‘because it’s written in the stars’. He did not reply.

If the reading taught me anything, it’s that the value of horoscopes is what they tell us about ourselves rather than other people. Having a more intimate understanding of who we are, what serves us and what doesn’t, can lead us to make better choices in life and love. That might come by way of a long chat with a friend, or a 30-minute sit-down about the planets in a dimly lit shop selling crystals and miniature statues of cats. 

Whichever it is, I’d advise against telling your date they’re going to fall in love with you simply because they were born in the front end of February. 

The quick-fire round

I was cheated on before. How do I get past that in a new relationship?
It will not be easy. Once your trust has been broken, it takes time to rebuild. Sadly, that’s the case regardless of the person that broke it. My advice is to make sure you’ve really dealt with the pain from your previous relationship. Have you processed the break-up? Have you made peace with your ex’s actions? Have you let go of any resentment you have towards them? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you should be able to enter into a new relationship with an open mind and heart. And take things slowly – the best things are worth waiting for.

Can you be single for too long?
I don’t like the tone of this question. It suggests that being single for an extended period of time might be something to be ashamed of. Or that it could mean you lose the ability to form a meaningful relationship. Or forget how to have sex. It isn’t. It doesn’t. And you won’t.

Got a question for Olivia? Please email All submissions will remain anonymous. 
Olivia Petter is the relationships writer at The Independent and author of Millennial Love, which is out now in paperback with 4th Estate
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