Sexual Symptoms of Avoidant Attachment
Doesn’t it make sense that if a person is avoidantly attached, they might have issues around being lovingly sexual? Maybe you’ve been with a man who seems to disappear when you’re having sex. He does the acts, but he could be anybody. Or she just lies there, doing nothing, waiting for it to be over.
Elizabeth Wedington and I created a Practice presented in our book, Stop Depriving Yourself: A Self Care Practice to Remove the Obstacles to Living Life Fully available November, 2018. It includes a 10 step guide at the end so that you can engage in the Practice on your own – often preferred by those liking the avoidant style. See my post, “Stop Depriving Yourself,” to read the Introduction.
You could ask your lover to learn about a way to meditate on changing their style. Meditate Away Your Avoidant Attachment.
Below are nine results of avoidant attachment. There are many more. Don’t assume that if your partner does one of these that he or she is avoidantly attached. There are other causes, such as sexual shame. These nine are common for avoiders.
- NO SEX Countless people among us don’t want to have sex. Some make it to my office to work on it. Others are married to one of the 30,000,000 people on married people dating sites.
- DUTIFUL SEX Some who don’t want sex will do it anyway because they are married or think they need to be sexual beings. So they schedule sex. They make sure they “give it” to their partner once a week or once a month. The partner doesn’t receive loving. He or she is just serviced.
This can be based on sexual shame. It is also a common outcome of a relationship in which sexual behaviors reflect negative emotions or neediness that can turn a off partner to sex.
- NEEDING PORN TO GET AROUSED Some people who don’t get easily aroused with their partner due to their avoidant style, or sexual shame, may want to watch porn as an introduction to sexual activity. If they had no shame, and were feeling loving with their partner, they would not find porn useful. They wouldn’t need the outside-in stimulation because the natural form would be plentiful.
- INTIMACY DISCOMFORT The people who fall asleep after orgasm, or turn away or leave the bed are seen as selfish or cold. Those adjectives don’t explain why he or she is that way. When we consider an avoidant style, it can make sense. Have sex, yes. Get aroused, yes. But when the arousal is gone, then it is all over and the avoidant experience becomes appealing. Especially if the sex was connecting.
- HIGH FREQUENCY Then are those who want a lot of sex. Can they be avoidants? Yes. If he or she has a lot of sex, but after each time feels the need to disconnect, they may very well live an avoidant attachment style of relating. The connection feels very good because the person is able to feel love in ways they find unusual. Sex overrides the avoidance. But with orgasm, the arousal is no longer functioning to create feeling safe.
Sex addicts who are addicted to sexual activity with a partner will want lots of sex, too. But the nature of the addictive focus is not in the form of attaching, so is easy to achieve. Addicts are avoidantly attached. (See Addiction as an Attachment Disorder)
- NEEDED FOR CONNECTION Some avoidants find sex to be extremely important because it is the only way they can feel connected. They may demand and plead for it because without it they feel deprived of love. They may very well begin quickly, and move right on to sexual activity without conversation and eye contact that make people feel cared for. The partner may not like sex this way, and the resulting deprivation felt by the avoidant makes him or her angry and resentful. Without understanding what is going on, these kinds of conflicts can lead the ended marriages.
- NO INTIMACY People can avoid loving sex by going to prostitutes or other paid services. No intimacy. They feel safer when it is just sex.
- HAVING AFFAIRS Sexual intimacy is also avoided by going online to sites for just sex or married affairs. It can seem intimate, but both people know they will walk away after the sex. This feels emotionally safe.
- ACT LIKE YOU WANT IT, BUT DON’T Avoidant men are able to look like they want a lot of sex while making sure that their partners don’t respond. They say they want sex, and are repeatedly deprived. But on close examination in my office, it becomes clear that they really want to be told no. They aren’t comfortable saying they don’t really want it because men are suppose to always want it.
They can do this by demanding sex in a non-loving way. Asking at off times when the partner can’t have sex. Blaming the partner for not wanting more.
If a woman responds out of obligation, she may feel resentful or guilty. And he is doing something he really didn’t want to. This is a set up for bad sex. Very bad sex. Then neither of them want to do it again. And around and around.
Aren’t these good reasons for healing avoidant attachment? Taking a look at these behaviors can be a great way to start seeing how your own, or your partner’s, style may be impacting life. When you can see, then you have the chance to do something differently.
You could invite the both of you to examine your sexual relating from this perspective and invite change. For example, if one of you rolls over to sleep to avoid intimacy when not aroused, you could together try cuddling for a little while to see what happens. Not long. Just a couple of minutes. Let the distress emerge, if it does, and discharge it from your hearts.
And there’s more!