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Attachment Styles in Relationships

There are four main attachment styles:  Anxious (also called preoccupied), Avoidant (also called dismissive), disorganized and secure.

A person’s attachment style can have a big impact on how they deal with and approach sex and intimacy. Insecure attachment styles such as anxious, dismissive and fearful avoidance can have a particularity hard time dealing with it. People with these type of attachment styles have been found to be less satisfied.

Our attachment styles are created during early childhood depending on what our relationship was like with our parents or caregivers. These styles then stick with us through early adolescence and then adulthood. Attachment styles effect how we perceive ourselves and how we handle social bonds with others.

Anxious Attachment

A person with an anxious attachment style generally falls in love very easily and doesn’t trust their partner. They may excessively worry about how others perceive them and foster and extreme desire to always be in close proximity to their partner. The person may become emotionally labile and obsessive within the relationship. This is due to a strong fear of rejection. They may be jealous and show signs of anger.

A person with an anxious attachment style often engages in sexual activity for two main reasons. The first is to manipulate their partner and provoke attentiveness. The second is to ensure proximity to their partner so they feel reassured.

Avoidant Attachment

A person with an avoidant attachment style generally doesn’t fall in love and is far more likely to take part in casual sex. They do not like close proximity or intimacy and actively try to avoid emotional situations. This often makes them appear cold and distant.

They have a fear of intimacy and avoid close relationships. When they do find themselves in a relationship the often-self-sabotage and display destructive behaviour.

Due to the nature of sex and the close proximity it often makes a person with avoidant attachment style feel very uncomfortable. This means they rarely enjoy their sexual encounters. They may also dislike foreplay. They’re more likely to have an affair and engage in short-term sexual relationships.

Disorganized Attachment

A person with disorganized attachment style generally feels like they’re unworthy of love and are more likely to engage in casual sex or may even have a sex addiction.  They often have high anxiety levels which mean they’re often a mix of the two other attachment styles: anxious and avoidant. They often switch between the two styles creating unstable behaviour. This can even occur during sex for example they may show signs of extreme passion then suddenly shut down due to their fear of intimacy. The person normally has low self-esteem and have difficulties trusting their partners. This leads them to engage in emotion-free sex with strangers which can often lead to a sex addiction.

Secure Attachment

A person with a secure attachment style often experiences fulfilling sexual encounters. They seek long-term relationships and rarely engage in casual sex. They show low levels of anxiety and avoidance. They often seek intimate long-lasting relationships.

They generally prefer to have sex with a person there in a committed relationship with and enjoy the experience. They’re comfortable with their body and enjoy foreplay and trying new things with their partner.

Anastasia Filipenko

Anastasia Filipenko is a health and wellness psychologist, dermatolist and a freelance writer. She frequently covers beauty and skincare, food trends and nutrition, health and fitness and relationships. When she's not trying out new skincare products, you'll find her taking a cycling class, doing yoga, reading in the park, or trying a new recipe.

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