Last week, Kim Bagato shared a post about healing ‘mother wounds.’ Her intention was not to shame or discourage mothers, but rather to highlight how the challenges individuals face today are often deeply influenced by traumas, pains, and problems from their past. This concept is crucial to understand, as individuals struggling with issues such as porn and sex addiction often tend to harbor feelings of shame and self-loathing, rather than recognizing that their struggles, while problematic, have a genuine and rational basis.

This rational basis often lies in an individual’s attachment style, a central concept in attachment theory.

Attachment theory is a fundamental aspect of psychological development that suggests the quality of our early relationships (especially parental) shapes how we pursue and perceive relationships later in life. It also directly influences our behavioral patterns, including maladaptive behaviors like porn and sex addiction.

Understanding your attachment style is crucial, as it’s typically developed during childhood and falls into one of four categories: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized.

  • Secure Attachment: This style is marked by a sense of safety and trust in relationships.
  • Anxious Attachment: Individuals with this style often experience fears of abandonment and a strong need for reassurance.
  • Avoidant Attachment: People with an avoidant attachment style tend to avoid close relationships, often due to a fear of intimacy.
  • Disorganized Attachment: This style is a mix of anxious and avoidant behaviors, often stemming from inconsistent caregiving.

That said, individuals with insecure and/or disorganized attachment styles are generally more susceptible to developing compulsive unwanted sexual behaviors. 


Because their behavior often serves as a coping mechanism to fulfill an emotional need or address a crisis stemming from their unhealthy attachment style.

For example, those with anxious attachment may seek out sexual experiences to alleviate feelings of insecurity, seek validation, or suppress feelings of low self-worth. Conversely, individuals with avoidant attachment may use sex as a means to maintain emotional distance and avoid intimacy. These behaviors can create a cycle where sex is used as a coping mechanism, leading to compulsive and unhealthy patterns in some cases.

Moreover, attachment issues can significantly influence how individuals form and manage their relationships, especially those that are most important to them. Consequently, individuals with insecure attachment styles may find it challenging to establish meaningful connections, potentially leading to a reliance on superficial or transactional sexual encounters as a way to manage their emotions and relational frustrations. 

This reliance can contribute to the development of compulsive and addictive sexual behaviors, such as porn use and masturbation.

However, it’s essential to point out that porn and sex addiction are complex issues with multiple underlying factors, and not everyone with attachment issues will develop an addiction. However, understanding the link between attachment styles and one’s unwanted sexual behaviors can provide valuable insights for the purposes of recovery.

For those struggling with secure attachment and compulsive sexual behaviors, exploring the following options can be beneficial:

  • Professional counseling/therapy: Therapeutic approaches that address attachment issues, process past traumas, reframe negative beliefs about oneself and relationships, and improve communication skills can be highly effective.
  • Support groups and communities: Connecting with others who have similar experiences can provide valuable support and validation, reducing feelings of isolation and shame commonly associated with sex addiction and attachment issues.
  • Establishing healthy accountability: Engaging in a personal accountability-focused relationship can be helpful. These relationships allow for conversations that not only help individuals focus on their goals but also provide safe spaces to process difficult emotions related to their relationship deficiencies and frustrations.

Again, just because you may struggle with relationships and/or “attachment” does not mean you are destined to develop addictive habits like compulsive porn use. However, it’s important to recognize that attachment issues and sex addiction can be closely intertwined. Early experiences with caregivers, in particular, can significantly influence adult behaviors and relationships.

By understanding and acknowledging the potential link between your attachment style and unwanted, compulsive sexual behaviors, you can gain deeper insights into yourself and your maladaptive behaviors. This understanding can help reduce feelings of shame and guide you toward more productive recovery strategies.