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Josephs, L. (2010). D. Diamond, S. J. Blatt, & J. D. Lichtenberg: Attachment and Sexuality. New York: Analytic Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-88163-466-2, 269 pp, $41.95. Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(2):220-222.

(2010). Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(2):220-222

D. Diamond, S. J. Blatt, & J. D. Lichtenberg: Attachment and Sexuality. New York: Analytic Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-88163-466-2, 269 pp, $41.95

Review by:
Lawrence Josephs

Diamond, Blatt, and Lichtenberg have put together an edited volume to try to bridge the gap between attachment theory and research and psychoanalytic ideas about human psychosexual development. The editors’ introduction well frames the essential issues by going back to John Bowlby's original idea that attachment and sexuality are separate but overlapping behavioral systems. Bowlby believed that the relation to early attachment figures provided a paradigm of relatedness that forms a scaffold for the developmental unfolding of sexuality. Nevertheless, the editors note that Bowlby did not focus that much on the issue of sexual pleasure as an intrapsychic organizer of fantasy or intrapsychic experience or the role of sexuality in either forming or disrupting attachment bonds. Thus, the editors frame the relationship between attachment and sexuality as bidirectional: attachment scaffolds psychosexual development, but sexual pleasures and fears may facilitate as well as disrupt attachment relationships.

In chapter 1, Eagle tackles a sensitive issue: the declining sexual interest of men in long-term monogamous relationships. Eagle suggests that there may be an inherent antagonism between attachment and sexuality, at least for men. If the sexual system is activated in men by novelty and variety but attachment is activated by familiarity, the possibility is raised—at least for men if not for women—that adult attachment may eventually lead to a decline of sexual interest. Eagle reviews the evidence that suggests that love and lust appear to be separate operating systems that may be mutually antagonistic. Nevertheless, Eagle proposes that secure attachment may enable individuals to better integrate love and lust in long-term relationships than those less securely attached who may continue to split love and lust.

Mikulincer and Shaver summarize in chapter 2 the considerable research literature that demonstrates the extent to which adult attachment style predicts almost every facet of adult romantic behavior. Securely attached individuals are more likely to be monogamous and less likely to be promiscuous or unfaithful.

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