The Impact of Attachment Style on Sexual Satisfaction and Sexual Desire in a Sexually Diverse Sample

J Sex Marital Ther. 2018;44(5):450-458. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1405310. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Research has indicated that adult romantic attachment is influential and important to sexual and relationship satisfaction. Sexual desire, although not a direct focus of attachment literature, is highly related to sexual and relationship satisfaction, suggesting it may also be impacted by attachment style in romantic couples. However, the research conducted on sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and attachment has been largely heterocentric, making it difficult to determine whether the findings documented in the literature thus far are relevant in a sexually diverse group of individuals. The current study aimed to better understand the way that attachment style may impact sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction in a sample of sexually diverse men and women. In total, 955 individuals (63.4% cisgender women, 30.7% cisgender men, 6.0% genderqueer, 54.8% straight, 20.4% bisexual, 18.4% gay) participated in a web-based study examining relationship dynamics. Three multivariate regression models indicated that attachment style significantly predicted relationship satisfaction (29% of variance accounted for), sexual satisfaction (19% of variance accounted for), and sexual desire (4% of variance accounted for). Attachment style appears to be a more important contributing factor to satisfaction than desire among diverse sexual orientations. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Libido
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires