Attachment style and subjective motivations for sex

  • Davis D
  • Shaver P
  • Vernon M
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The relation of attachment style to subjective motivations for sex was investigated in an Internet survey of 1999 respondents. The relations of attachment anxiety and avoidance to overall sexual motivation and to the specific motives for emotional closeness, reassurance, self-esteem enhancement, stress reduction, partner manipulation, protection from partner's negative affect and behavior, power exertion, physical pleasure, nurturing one's partner, and procreation were explored. As predicted, attachment anxiety was positively related to overall sexual motivation and to all specific motives for sex, with the exception of physical pleasure. Avoidance was negatively related to emotional closeness and reassurance as goals of sex and positively related to manipulative use of sex but minimally related to most other motives. Sexual passion was positively related to attachment anxiety and negatively related to avoidance, and anxiety was related to the maintenance of passion over time, whereas avoidance was related to loss of passion over time.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attachment
  • Manipulation
  • Motivation
  • Passion
  • Reassurance
  • Sex

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  • Deborah Davis

  • Phillip R. Shaver

  • Michael L. Vernon

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