Attachment and the oedipus complex: Attachment orientations moderate the effects of priming oedipal representations on sexual attraction

Limor Biton-Bereby, Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report 2 preliminary studies examining attachment-related individual differences in the ways in which contextual reactivation of oedipal issues in adulthood affects men's sexual attraction to women. In these studies, we measured male participants' attachment orientations, subliminally primed oedipal or neutral issues, and examined the effects of the primes on sexual attraction to women appearing in ads (Study 1) and women who were purportedly interested in romantic dating (Study 2). Across the 2 studies, men who scored higher on attachment anxiety reacted to the oedipal prime (as compared to control primes) with heightened sexual attraction to women. Less attachment-anxious participants showed the opposite reaction to the oedipal prime: Reduced sexual attraction. The discussion focuses on integrating attachment and psychoanalytic theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Insecurity
  • Oedipal representations
  • Security
  • Sexual arousal

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