chapter  8
20 Pages

Attachment and Sexuality in Close Relationships

ByJudith A. Feeney, Patricia Noller

In recent decades, researchers studying human sexuality have paid increasing attention to its relational context. Attachment theory, which addresses the processes by which bonds of affection are developed and maintained, has particular relevance to this topic. In this chapter,wedescribe studies that link individual differences in adults’ “felt security” to diverse aspects of sexuality, including sexual communication, sexual self-efficacy, attitudes to casual sex, beliefs about condoms, and safer sex practices. These studies have employed a range of samples, researchdesigns, anddata collection methods and suggest that the link between attachment and sexuality is relatively robust. Further, the findings support the proposition that attachment-related differences in sexuality reflect the interaction goals of the different attachment styles, particularly with regard to intimacy and autonomy. We argue that the attachment perspective extends recent efforts to provide theory-based explanations of sexuality and offers the advantage of integrating early and later relationship experiences.