NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, March 31, 2022

How An Anxious Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life: Part 1

This is the first article in a series on how your attachment style affects your sex life. In the current article, I'm focusing on anxious attachment, which is one of the insecure attachment styles (see my articles: How Early Attachment Bonds Affect Adult RelationshipsWhat is Your Attachment Style? and How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship).

The Anxious Attachment Style
Each attachment style has its own characteristics.  

How Your Anxious Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life

If you have an anxious attachment style, you probably:
  • Use sex to get approval
  • Fall in love easily
  • Tend to mistrust romantic partners
In addition, if you have an anxious attachment style, you:
  • Feel anxiously insecure
  • Worry about what others think about you
  • Become preoccupied or even obsessive about your romantic partner
  • Have a very strong desire to be physically close to your partner due to your insecurity
With regard to your overall satisfaction with your relationship, you:
  • Tend to feel dissatisfied with your partner and you can be difficult to please
  • Feel misunderstood by your partner
  • Feel unappreciated by your partner
Similar to many people with an anxious attachment style, you might:
  • Be clingy
  • Be dependent
  • Demand a lot of attention and care
  • Have a strong fear of rejection
  • Be extremely jealous if your partner doesn't spend as much time with you as you would like
  • Engage in mate guarding (see my article: Irrational Jealousy and Mate Guarding)
  • Be overly worried about your appearance and might need a lot of reassurance that you're attractive
How Anxious Attachment Affects Your Sex Life:
If you have an anxious attachment style, you probably engage in some or all of the following behaviors:
  • Engage in Sexual Activity, Even When You Don't Want To: You do this because you think it will prevent your partner from abandoning you. This includes becoming sexually active an at earlier age than most other adolescents--not because you want to--but because you feel you have to in order to hold onto someone you're interested in.  This often means you did things you didn't really want to do sexually.
  • Use Sex to Get Your Partner's Attention: This includes attempts to get your partner to be attentive and show s/he cares about you.  Sometimes, this takes the form of manipulative behavior.
  • Use Sex to Try to Get Close and Seek Approval: You engage in seductive behavior to get your partner to be close to you and to get his or her approval.
  • Have a Negative Perception of Your Sexual Experiences: Due to your insecurity, you have a negative view of yourself and your sexual experiences.
  • Have Self Doubt and Low Opinion of Your Attractiveness: You need your partner to constantly reassure you that you look good because of your low self esteem.
  • Have Emotional Lability: You have emotional ups and downs based on how insecure you might be feeling.
In my next article, I'll provide a clinical example to illustrate how an anxious attachment style affects your sex life: How Your Anxious Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life - Part 2.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you identify with the characteristics described in this article, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who has an expertise in working with anxiously attached clients.

Rather than struggling alone, seek help so you can have a more satisfying life.

About Me
I am a New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during regular business hours or email me.