The Avoidant’s Sex Life

The Avoidant's Sex Life

The Avoidant’s Sex Life


Adults with an avoidant attachment style do not connect in healthy, helpful and mature ways with others or themselves. Fearful or dismissive thinking gets in the way of being willing and open to experience closeness, connection and intimacy. Old thinking patterns that are deeply rooted within the avoidant’s threat response take over and block access to a human’s innate connectedness and ability to give and receive love.

Avoidants report the lowest satisfaction rates within relationships and easily dismiss the value of human connection. They did not experience emotional attunement and consistent caregiving when growing up so intimacy is perceived as something dangerous. Avoidants fear engulfment, enmeshment, emotional suffocation and commitment. They are torn between their natural state of connectedness, their usually unconscious and naturally human desire for intimacy and they extreme fear of rejection, abandonment, criticism and abuse by others.

Most avoidants do not feel that they have a problem and so do not seek therapy. Many would never even consider changing this aspect of their life. Being emotionally disconnected from themselves leads to decreased self-awareness and little motivation to changing something that is not seen as problematic or unhelpful from this level of consciousness.

However, from an outsider point of view, avoidants pay a high price for their attachment style. The constant running of safety behaviours and control or distancing strategies against our innate drive to connect is exhausting and depleting. Solace is not sought in others and the soothing benefits of human support and loving connection are not experienced. Life can feel very lonely and meaningless at times.

Relationships are one of life’s greatest pleasures (and growth opportunities!) yet avoidants face them with dread and usually shy away from anything deep, intimate and meaningful. One area of life that is greatly affected is the avoidant’s sex life. Something that is greatly valued as a gift to humankind is severely impeded as sexual connection requires emotional connection.


What Your Avoidance Costs You Sexually

  • committed, consistent and often meaningful physical pleasure
  • making love
  • developing a deeper connection
  • deepening your sexual experiences and repertoire
  • limiting yourself to superficial and quick sexual encounters
  • higher levels of inhibition
  • isolated and lonely sexual experiences (i.e. compulsive masturbation)
  • decreased sexual arousal and pleasure
  • a whole and complete intimate relationship
  • a lack of closeness
  • experiencing sex as something deeper and sometimes more spiritual
  • decreased relationship satisfaction
  • dissatisfied spouses
  • disconnection in relationships
  • more frequent break-ups
  • more short-term relationships; low number of long-term relationships


A Compassionate Solution

We are not to blame for our attachment styles. No blame needs to be assigned. And whilst attachments styles were seen as rigid and cemented, we now know that humans have great abilities to develop, change and grow.

What is vital for avoidants is the realisation that there is so much more to life than avoiding emotional experiences and protecting themselves from projected hurts that have occurred in the past.

The ways in which our thinking was shaped during childhood is very powerful and yet we can become aware of the lies our mind tells us and open ourselves up to new experiences once we realise that feelings cannot harm us.

Reducing avoidance within relationships is the first step towards improving the avoidant’s sex life. Emotional inhibitions and fears have to be faced and overcome by engaging in new behaviours and new ways of relating.

Avoidants can learn to open up and be more emotionally and sexually expressive. Learning to connect with themselves and their bodies greatly helps in terms of self-awareness, self-acceptance and personal growth.

We are not fixed and broken beings. Our ways of thinking, behaving and relating are not set in stone. We are fluid and have ever-changing abilities. There is no need to judge or shame ourselves or others for our attachment styles. But there is a need to be honest with ourselves and realise that what we have always feared is in the past and that all that remains is the fear that is innocently created in our minds in the present. Once we realise the fear is no longer tied to reality, it is easier to let go and open up.

As humans we can stop and restart at any point in our lives. We can stop and realise that the connection we have always yearned for but feel disconnected from has always been there and will always be there. Avoidance of attachment goes against our human nature. It is a denial of the reality of human nature and our innately connected states of humanness. It is yet another lie of the mind.


Marlena Tillhon

Marlena is a progressive psychotherapist and relationship coach and passionate about helping people connect with their innate wellbeing.

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