Sexuality & Couples

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D


A few associations between oversexualization, romantic attachment, and intimacy

A recent study has examined oversexualization and its relational implications. While hypersexualization of minors has often caught public attention in Quebec and Canada, oversexualization rather applies to young adults. This phenomenon is characterized by attitudes and behaviors that are strongly influenced by sexualized messages conveyed in the media, an objectified appearance, and a tendency towards seductive interpersonal relationships. This study builds around the following question: How are oversexualized behaviors associated with romantic attachment and intimacy? To answer this question, 494 women and 93 men aged between 18 and 29 completed a series of online questionnaires assessing oversexualization, romantic attachment, and intimacy.

What are the results?

Regarding attachment, results show that attachment-related anxiety is associated with overinvestment in one’s sexual appearance, sexual self-objectification, and performance-based sexuality. This last association appears stronger for men. Attachment-related avoidance is associated with seduction and lower meaningfulness of sexuality. Regarding intimacy, sexualized language is related to a perception of higher emotional, social, sexual, and recreational intimacy. Meaningfulness of sexuality is associated to a greater sense of intimacy on all dimensions. Conversely, sexual self-objectification is related to lower recreational intimacy (i.e., shared activities with one’s partner), seductive attitude is related to lower emotional intimacy, and overinvestment in one’s sexualized appearance is related to lower sexual intimacy.

Overall, the associations among oversexualized behaviors and many aspects of intimate relationships were found, that can vary according to gender.

To learn more about this topic, read the full article: 

Brassard, A., Perron-Laplante, J., Lachapelle, É., de Pierrepont, C., & Péloquin, K. (2018). Oversexualization among emerging adults: Preliminary associations with romantic attachment and intimacy. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27(3), 235–247. doi: 10.3138/cjhs.2017-0031

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