Out-of-control sexual behaviour (OCSB) involves a continuum of sexual behaviour that results in distress or functional impairment. Several factors have been considered relevant to the etiology of OCSB, including attachment style, or the experience of intimacy-related anxiety and/or avoidance (Bowlby, 1969/1982, 1973, 1980). The present study explored OCSB and adult attachment amongst 621 New Zealanders using an online questionnaire. Using the SAST-R (Carnes, Green, & Carnes, 2010) to form groups, the OCSB group (n = 407) reported lower secure and higher insecure adult attachment than the non-OCSB group (n = 214), and this finding was strongest for women. This supports the notion that OCSB is associated with intimacy-related anxiety or avoidance, but further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms of this relationship in terms of whether attachment problems are a cause, consequence, or complex mixture of both in the development and maintenance of OCSB. Such knowledge would contribute to the development of etiological understandings of OCSB and inform future intervention approaches.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 2012, 41 (1), pp. 19 - 29