Description: You have likely heard about research showing that the nature of our early attachment relationships with our primary caregivers have potential implications for our friendships go in grade school , our peer relations go in high school, our intimate relationships go in adulthood and what kind of parents we become if we take on the task of raising children of our own. Our early attachment relationships essentially provide us with a template for human relationships go and it is that template or internal working model of attachment and of relationships (see what Bowlby had to say about this). Securely attached individuals have more stability and success in their adult relationships while insecurely attached individuals have less relationship stability and success. Given this, what might you expect, if anything, in the way of a relationship between attachment style or type and sexual desire/interest among adults? Sex is a part of most healthy relationships and as such the question above is worth asking, though it largely has not been addressed until the research discussed in the article linked below. So, what how do you think these two things might be related? And, would you expect to find any variation in your hypothesized results when considering LGBTQ+ individuals? Once you have your hypotheses in order, read the article linked below to see what the researchers found (and how they went about looking for it).
Source: Does Attachment Style Impact Our Interest in Sex? Sarah Hunter Murray, Myths of Desire, Psychology Today.
Date: December 22, 2018
The first thing to note about the account of the study in question is the important statement that studies of sex and of relationships typically do not include the experiences and perspectives of members of the LGBTQ+ communities. We tend to assume that the stereotypic heterosexual relationship is the one to study (even in the picture included above – do a Goggle image search on relationships and sex and see what is returned). The study discussed in the article linked above did not start with this sort of assumption but instead was able to ascertain that, at least in terms of how they chose to assess attachment and sexual desire there were no differences in terms of sexual preference/orientation. The results they go on to speak about are thus more likely to be generalizable to human relationships, an important point. Their results show a relationship between attachment style and sexual desire that makes sense. If sex is best understood (and works best) in the context of a close, intimate relationship then it makes sense that a secure attachment history is associated with sexual desire through relationship quality.
Questions for Discussion:
- How are patterns of attachment in infancy related to adult patterns of relationship?
- How important is it (or why is it important) to include consideration of sexual desire in our considerations of the variabilities in relationships?
- Why is it important to include consideration of LGBTQ+ choices in our considerations of human relationships and human development?
References (Read Further):
Murray, S. H. (2019). Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Mark, K. P., Vowels, L. M., & Murray, S. H. (2018). The impact of attachment style on sexual satisfaction and sexual desire in a sexually diverse sample. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 1-9.
Collins, N. L., & Read, S. J. (1990). Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of personality and social psychology, 58(4), 644. http://anthro.vancouver.wsu.edu/media/Course_files/anth-260-edward-h-hagen/collins-and-read-1990.pdf
Set, Z., & Altınok, A. (2016). In lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals: Attachment, self-compassion and internalized homophobia: A theoretical study. Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy and Research. Advanced online publication. http://www.ejmanager.com/mnstemps/77/77-1471002702.pdf
Diamond, G. M., & Shpigel, M. S. (2014). Attachment-based family therapy for lesbian and gay young adults and their persistently nonaccepting parents. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(4), 258. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/749c/6531f19df215b7be9d362a5bc11a753c6c82.pdf