NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

How An Avoidant Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life - Part 1

In my prior articles, I focused on how an anxious attachment style can affect your sex life (see my articles: How An Anxious Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life - Part 1 and Part 2). 

How an Avoidant Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life

The 3 Insecure Attachment Styles
As I mentioned in my prior article, there are three insecure attachment styles:
  • Anxious
  • Avoidant
  • Disorganized
Most people who have an insecure attachment style are either anxious or avoidant (see my article: What is Your Attachment Style? and How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship).

Characteristics of the Avoidant Attachment Style:
If you have an avoidant attachment style, you might have some or all of the following characteristics:
  • You might have a discomfort with sexual activities that involve emotional closeness, like cuddling, hugging or so on.
  • Similar to the above, you might not enjoy foreplay.
  • You might prefer casual, uncommitted relationships with emotionless sex (e.g, hook ups).
  • You might have sexual affairs outside of your relationship.
  • You might use sex mostly as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • You might use sex as a way to gain status among your peers (e.g., bragging about how many people you slept with, and so on).
  • You might have fantasies about having sex with other people (other than your partner) as a way to emotionally distance yourself from your partner.
  • You probably have a hard time relating to a partner who likes to feel emotionally close during sex.  This is especially problematic if your partner is someone who has an anxious attachment style and needs to feel emotionally close during sex.
  • You tend to prefer relationships where there are few emotional demands being made on you.
People with an avoidant attachment style were often raised in a household where their emotional needs were dismissed because of the primary caregiver's own discomfort with emotional closeness.  This is how an avoidant attachment style continues from one generation to the next.

Adults with an avoidant attachment style have problems trusting and relying on their romantic partner.  This is often due to their early experiences in childhood of being forced to rely on themselves (and not their primary caregivers) for their own emotional well-being, which is traumatic for a child (see my article: What is Childhood Emotional Neglect? and Growing Up Feeling Invisible and Emotionally Invalidated).

In my next article, I'll provide a clinical vignette to illustrate how these dynamics play out sexually: How An Avoidant Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life - Part 2.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you identify with some or all of the characteristics mentioned above, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who has an expertise in working with individuals with an avoidant attachment style.

With help from a skilled psychotherapist, you can learn to overcome these problems so you can have a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

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.