The authors examined the effects of relationship threat on sexual motivations. In two studies, participants imagined relationship or non-relationship threat scenes and then rated their desire to have sex (Study 1) and the reasons for doing so (Study 2). The results indicated that relationship threat prompted both enhancement and relationship-based motives, suggesting that people use sex to both feel better and repair the threatened relationship. Avoidantly attached individuals were least likely to desire their partner, implying that they use distancing strategies when confronted with relational threat. Anxiously attached individuals were least likely to be motivated by hedonistic reasons, possibly reflecting their difficulties in enjoying sex when flooded with relationship worries. Implications for understanding the functional meaning of sex in romantic relationships are discussed.
- romantic relationships
- sexual desire