You haven’t been on my mind lately: Partner responsiveness mediates the link between attachment insecurity and sexual fantasies

Moran Mizrahi, Yaniv Kanat-Maymon, Gurit E. Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual desire between romantic partners tends to decrease over time. A decrease in frequency of dyadic fantasies and an increase in frequency of extradyadic fantasies are typical manifestations of this process. The present diary study adopted an attachment-theoretical perspective to better understand why some people are less likely to fantasize about their partners. Both members of 100 romantic couples completed measures of relationship-specific insecurities, partner responsiveness, and frequency of sexual fantasies every evening for 42 days. Results showed that attachment insecurities were associated with lower frequency of dyadic fantasies. Partner responsiveness mediated these associations, such that attachment insecurities were associated with perceiving partners as less responsive, which, in turn, predicted lower frequency of dyadic fantasies. Men’s avoidance predicted higher frequency of extradyadic fantasies. These findings demonstrated the role of responsiveness in sustaining desire, suggesting that attachment insecurities bias people to perceive their partner as less responsive, thereby hampering sexual desire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-459
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • extradyadic
  • fantasies
  • responsiveness
  • sexuality

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