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J Sex Med. 2012 Oct;9(10):2499-507. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02843.x. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Adult attachment and sexual functioning: a review of past research.

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



The association between adult attachment and sexual functioning is an important area of research. However, there has been no previous attempt to systematically review the available literature between these dimensions, and how their interrelationships may vary within different populations.


To provide an in-depth critical investigation of the literature on the association between adult attachment and sexual functioning (satisfaction, dysfunction, and behaviors).


A systematic literature review of research reported in PsychINFO, Scopus, PubMed, and Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection from January 1, 1990 to November 8, 2011.


The results demonstrated that higher levels of anxious and avoidant attachment were related to less satisfying sexual relationships, higher levels of sexual dysfunction, and different sexual intercourse frequencies and motivations for sex.


There is a need for further research to target the sexual functioning of males and to incorporate representative samples (ethnicity, sexual orientation, and relationship status) into the analyses. Moreover, measurement of sexual behavior needs to encompass a range of sexual functioning variables.

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