attachment and sexuality

Attachment and Sexuality

Attachment and Sexuality

Attachment and sexuality are two distinct but interconnected aspects of human behaviour and psychology.

For most people, most of the time, sex is a natural, enjoyable, pleasurable experience. It certainly is one of the strongest drives and motivators for people (coming in a very close second to fear and anxiety).

Given that it is so natural, it seems that we all should know how to navigate the social/sexual environment, but for many people, particularly those with insecure attachment styles, navigating the social/sexual environment can cause confusion, heartbreak, and pain.

If only you could simply meet your true love and have amazing sex forever. Or, if you could just opt for a life of celibacy and happily be free of this sex curse forever. Unfortunately, biology won’t release most people to do that. So, learning to negotiate the social/sexual environment is necessary, particularly for those with certain, and insecure, attachment styles.

Here’s some basic points to think about.

Attachment refers to the emotional bond that forms between individuals, typically beginning in infancy with the bond between a child and their primary caregiver (often a parent). This bond is crucial for the child’s emotional and psychological development. Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby and further expanded by Mary Ainsworth, describes various attachment styles that individuals might develop based on their early care giving experiences. These attachment styles include:

Secure Attachment
Individuals with secure attachment feel comfortable exploring their environment while knowing they have a reliable and responsive caregiver to return to when needed. They tend to have healthy relationships and self-esteem.

Anxious attachment
People with anxious attachment may worry about their relationship’s stability and seek constant reassurance. They may be overly dependent on their partners and have a fear of abandonment.

Avoidant attachment
Those with avoidant attachment might feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness and try to maintain a sense of independence. They may struggle with intimacy and have difficulty trusting others.

Disorganised attachment
This style involves a mix of behaviours, often stemming from inconsistent or traumatic caregiving experiences. People with disorganised attachment might display contradictory behaviours in relationships.

Sexuality refers to a person’s sexual orientation, desires, behaviours, and attitudes related to sexual activity and relationships. It’s a complex and multifaceted aspect of human identity that can encompass various aspects:

Sexual orientation
This refers to an individual’s emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to individuals of the same and/or different genders. Common sexual orientations include heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and asexual.

Sexual behaviour
This encompasses the actions individuals engage in to express their sexual desires, including activities such as kissing, touching, sexual intercourse, and more.

Sexual identity
Very important nowadays, this is how individuals personally understand and label their own sexuality. It may or may not align with their sexual birth gender or orientation and behaviour due to factors like cultural or societal expectations.


Attachment and sexuality can influence each other in various ways.

Attachment style and intimacy
An individual’s attachment style can impact their ability to form and maintain intimate relationships, which can include sexual intimacy. Securely attached individuals might find it easier to establish healthy, satisfying sexual relationships, while those with anxious or avoidant attachment styles might face challenges.

Sexual identity and acceptance
An individual’s attachment experiences, particularly with caregivers, can influence their self-esteem and acceptance of their sexual identity. Supportive and accepting care giving can contribute to a more positive self-concept, including one’s sexual identity.

Impact of trauma
Traumatic attachment experiences can potentially impact an individual’s sexual attitudes and behaviours. For instance, individuals with a history of attachment-related trauma might struggle with trust and intimacy, affecting their sexual relationships.

Cultural and social factors
Cultural norms and societal attitudes toward attachment and sexuality can interact to shape an individual’s beliefs and behaviors. These factors can influence whether someone feels comfortable expressing their sexuality or discussing their attachment experiences.

It’s important to note that both attachment and sexuality are complex and highly individualised aspects of human experience. They can vary greatly from person to person and are influenced by a range of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors.


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