Is it my overactive imagination? The effects of contextually activated attachment insecurity on sexual fantasies

Gurit E. Birnbaum, Jeffry A. Simpson, Yanna J. Weisberg, Efrat Barnea, Zehorit Assulin-Simhon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three studies examined the effects of explicit and implicit insecurity priming on the content of sexual fantasies. In all studies, participants described a sexual fantasy narratively (Studies 1 and 2) or completed a fantasy checklist (Study 3) following contextual activation of attachment representations. In Study 1, explicit insecurity priming led to fantasies that involved interpersonal distance and hostility themes. This pattern was particularly pronounced among anxiously attached men, implying that they use distancing strategies when confronted with insecurity. In Studies 2 and 3, implicit insecurity priming led to similar distancing themes, regardless of attachment orientations. These findings suggest that sexual expressions constitute a unique route for coping with insecurities, which manifests the goals that are most likely to be challenged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1152
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume29
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • relationship insecurity
  • security priming
  • sexual fantasies
  • sexuality
  • threat

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