Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Andrew Butler


Though research has explored the domain of attachment style in regards to romantic relationships and sexual behavior, little has been done to connect the two areas of study. Studies indicate that an individual's attachment style can influence their level of sexual intimacy (Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Feeney & Noller, 1990; Bogaert & Sadava, 2002; Gentzler & Kerns, 2004; Birnbaum et aI., 2006) as well as their sexual health behaviors (Gentzler & Kerns, 2004; Davis et aI., 2006; Butzer & Campbell, 2008). However, the current literature has not examined these findings in light of other variables that influence sexual satisfaction, sexual behavior, and the quality of romantic relationships: sexual communication, or conversations about sexually based matters. The present study explored the relationship between three areas of study: attachment style, sexual communication, and sexual health. Data was collected from 243 college-aged individuals in romantic relationships at a Midwestern undergraduate institution. Participants responded to an electronic questionnaire inquiring about demographic and relationship information, sexual behavior, sexual health information, and sexual communication, and completed measures to determine their communication and attachment styles. Significant relationships were found between overall communication, sexual health behavior, sexual satisfaction, and sexual communication. Participants were significantly different in their overall communication, according to their attachment style scoring. Suggestions are made for couples therapists and peer educators on how to inform therapy and wellness intervention approaches to accommodate differences in attachment style, so that individuals are empowered to improve their sexual health and improve sexual and relationship satisfaction.