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13 June 2011
Sex lives derailed by insecurity, avoidance
by George Atkinson

Men who are insecure, compulsive or controlling in their affection experience more conflict in their sex lives and are less happy in their relationships, say Spanish researchers from the University of the Basque Country.

"Our results show that insecure people tend to be compulsive in their care for their partners, while people prone to avoidance tend to be controlling and to exhibit greater conflict in their sexual desire," said lead investigator Javier Gómez Zapiain.

The research team investigated the level of conflict in people's erotic desire, their degree of satisfaction with their sexual life and other factors related with sexual behavior and care. Of the subjects, 90 percent had a stable partner at the time of the study, with the average length of the relationships being 14 years. "It was very important for us that the people taking part should have an affective bond within a couple that had existed stably for a minimum period of time," explained Gómez Zapiain.

The findings show that the combination of different styles of affection in a couple can explain the degree of conflict within it. An individual who is psychologically healthy can change flexibly from one position to another. The researchers hypothesize that people who display security in their affection are able to do this, but that insecure types (anxious-ambivalent or avoidant) are clearly incapable.

"Each partner must have the ability to support the other when they are feeling down and need emotional support. Similarly, they must be able to place themselves in what we call a 'position of dependency', in other words they must be able to recognize their own need for support and to express this in times of anxiety," Gómez Zapiain explains.

He added that anxious people react by clinging to their partner and caring for them compulsively, while avoidant types react by evading their relationship. Their philosophy being; it's better not to have than to have and to lose. "It is very interesting, from the perspective of a couple, to see how styles of affection combine within the relationship. The most explosive combination occurs when one of the partners in the couple is anxious and the other avoidant. This combination has more likelihood of ending up with the couple seeking help, or even breaking up," Gómez Zapiain concluded.

Strongest relationships come through equal commitment
Sexual satisfaction delivers better health
Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Source: Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

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