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The impact of attachment style on sexual functioning among men and women

Maatouk, H1Amri, M2; Guadria, A1; Nabi, S3; Mhalla, A1; Ben Khalifa, B2; Naouar, S2; Salem, B2; Elkamel, R2; Guaddour, N1; Gaha, L1

1: Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Monastir, University of Monastir, Tunisia; 2: Ibn El Jazzar Teaching Hospital of Kairouan , Tunisia; 3: Basic health care department. Monastir Tunisia

Objective: The aim of our study was to determine the way that attachment style may impact sexual life in a sample of men and women.

Material and Methods: The study was conducted from June 2017 to December 2017 and included 42 women, and 30 men, required in a basic health care dispensary in Monastir. All individuals of our population met the inclusion criteria of this study and did not had a psychiatric or a chronic organic disease in their medical history. The sociodemographic data of the patients were collected using pre-established questionnaire. Women were asked to complete the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): a brief questionnaire measure of sexual functioning. Men completed the Arizona Sexual Experience Inventory Scale (ASEX) to assess sexual functioning. Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) was administered to all patients to measure adult attachment styles. All questionnaires were in Arabic language. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 21.

Results: Our male population was aged 29-59 years (mean age = 42.57). Scores of the ASEX ranged from 12 to 23. 13.3% of men had a sexual dysfunction. 76.7% of this male population had a secure attachment, 13.3% had an avoidant attachment and in 16.7% of cases it was an anxious attachment. Our results show a significant correlation between sexual dysfunction and anxious attachment (p= 0.08).For female population, women were aged from 33 to 50 years (mean age = 41.24). Results had shown that28.6% of them presented sexual dysfunction and scores of the FSFI ranging from 23.2 to 36. Although insecure attachment was not correlated with sexual dysfunction, satisfaction subscale was lowly scored for women with anxious attachment.

Conclusion: Attachment style appears to be an important contributing factor in sexual life for both men and women.Researchers and practitioners would benefit from incorporating psychological risk factors in their assessment and interventions of women's and men’s sexual concerns.


Work supported by industry: no.

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