Sexual Health
Laboratory

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D

SCOUP News

Did you know that attachment is related to sexual functioning in couples seeking fertility treatment?

It is now recognized that sexual difficulties are common in the context of infertility, but factors related to these difficulties remain unknown. Research conducted in Katherine Péloquin's lab looked at sexual difficulties in women and couples involved in fertility treatment. More specifically, this research examined the links between attachment insecurities (attachment-related anxiety and avoidance) among couples and their sexual functioning (sexual problems and sexual dissatisfaction). To do this, 88 women and 45 couples in fertility treatment completed questionnaires on attachment and adult sexual functioning (desire, arousal, erection, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and sexual pain).

What did we find?

We found that just over half of women would experience sexual difficulties (e.g, low desire, difficulty with arousal, dissatisfaction) during fertility treatment, whereas over one quarter of men experience these difficulties.

Our results also show that attachment insecurity is related to sexual functions in men and women. In fact, avoidance of intimacy in women (discomfort with intimacy and emotional distance) is associated with more sexual dissatisfaction and pain during sex. In men, anxiety over abandonment (doubts as to one’s personal value and fear of being rejected by the partner) is linked to erectile difficulties and difficulties in reaching orgasm, whereas avoidance of intimacy is linked to difficulties in achieving orgasm for their female partner.

For more details, we invite you to consult the full article:

Purcell-Lévesque, C., Brassard, A., Carranza-Mamane, B., & Péloquin, K. (2019). Attachment and sexual functioning in women and men seeking fertility treatment. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 40(3), 202-210. https://doi.org/10.1080/0167482X.2018.1471462.

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