This article is part 1 of a series of 3 articles from our upcoming book, “
Attachment and the emotional bonds we establish as children carry on as we develop into adults. The way in which we relate to others and try to get our emotional needs met depends on the attachment style we developed in infancy and childhood. But how does that translate into the physical aspects of our adult relationships? More specifically...
What does that have to do with sex?
A lot actually. As adults, we all seek to meet our emotional needs through physical intimacy in some way. Physical touch and closeness answer, without words, some of the most fundamental attachment questions we all have.
Are you there for me, when I need touching or cuddling?
Are you emotionally present, and responsive to my affection?
Do you see, value and love me?
Do you get excited by me?
Am I the most important person in your life, the one that moves you?
A relationship is, at its most basic, an agreement between two people that “I am here for you and your needs, and you are here for me and my needs.” Not only do those needs include sexual needs, but sexuality also encompasses a deeper expression of our needs. Physical intimacy and sex answer our fundamental attachment questions, fulfilling our emotional needs.
Through wrapping our arms around our partner we tell them “I’m here, I care for you, you are important to me.”
With a kiss we say “You are special to me, I find you attractive, being close to you feels good.”
Through sex we express “I trust you, I enjoy you, you make me feel significant and alive.”
When sexual intimacy is disrupted or misused, through passive aggressive behaviors like withholding sex or using sex as a tool for control, the answers to those questions are confusing or missing altogether and our emotional as well as our sexual needs go unmet. The agreement is not being upheld, and the relationship suffers.
Our attachment questions are not like a school quiz, answered once and then forgotten. We need to be reminded of the strength of our bond, of our relationship, over and over again. Sometimes we seek the answers multiple times a day. Ever felt stressed and needed more hugs than usual? Wanted a backrub or cuddling on the couch after a bad day? Desired sex when frustrated or tense? Ever heard of “make-up sex?”
This is your inner self crying out for the security of your attachment bond, your basic being asking if your foundations are solid. Emotional connection and physical intimacy helps us stay strong to face the challenges of our lives. We ask through words and touch to be reminded that we are important, valued, supported, safe - we need to be important, valued, supported and safe.
Are your emotional needs being met? Are you finding the answers to your questions in your physical relationship? What does that mean? What can you do about it? To participate in a web discussion on this topic, please join the conversation. The next article in this series will be published soon, for more on Intimacy and Passive Aggression: “I Want You Close to Me. Stay Away From Me.”
The brilliant new ebook is out now, you can go to this link for a deeper look at:
So, you can learn even more abut the connection between attachment and emotional needs!