Attached at the Lips: The Influence of Romantic Kissing Motives and Romantic Attachment Styles on Relationship Satisfaction

Danica J. Kulibert, Elle A. Moore, Melinda M. Dertinger, Ashley E. Thompson

Abstract


Although romantic kissing is an important part of relationship functioning, little research has focused on motives for romantic kissing and how they may relate to other aspects of romantic relationships. To understand how romantic kissing impacts romantic relationship functioning, the current study assessed the relationship between romantic attachment, romantic kissing motives, and relationship satisfaction. Overall, it was hypothesized that (a) those reporting more sexual/explicit kissing motives and fewer goal attainment/insecurity motives would report higher relationship satisfaction, (b) those reporting a more secure attachment style would report higher relationship satisfaction, and (c) the relationship between romantic kissing motives and relationship satisfaction would vary according to one’s romantic attachment styles. Results from a hierarchical linear regression with 286 adults, all of whom were currently in romantic relationships, revealed that sexual/relational (β = 0.25) and goal attainment/insecurity kissing motives (β = -0.35) predicted relationship satisfaction. However, the impact of kissing motives on relationship satisfaction varied according to one’s romantic attachment. Specifically, the influence of sexual/relational motives was only significant for avoidantly attached individuals, whereas the influence of goal attainment/insecurity motives was significant for avoidantly and anxiously attachment individuals. Overall, this suggests that sexual/explicit romantic kissing motives serve to enhance the relationships of insecurely attached individuals, but not securely attached individuals. Furthermore, goal attainment/insecure motives had a negative effect on the relationship satisfaction of insecurely attached individuals, but not securely attached individuals. This study has important implications for both practitioners working with romantic couples and researchers studying romantic relationships.

Keywords


kissing motives; attachment styles; relationship satisfaction; romantic relationships; romantic kissing

Full Text:

PDF HTML

References


Berant, E., Mikulincer, M., & Florian, V. (2001). Attachment style and mental health: A 1-year follow-up study of mothers of infants with congenital heart disease. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 956-968.

Birnbaum, G. E. (2007). Attachment orientations, sexual functioning, and relationship satisfaction in a community sample of women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 21–35.

Butzer, B. & Campbell, L. (2008) Adult attachment, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction: A study of married couples. Personal Relationships 15, 141-154.

Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss, Vol. 2: Separation. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52, 664-678.

Carver, C. S., Sutton, S. K., & Scheier, M. F. (2000). Action, emotion, and personality: Emerging conceptual integration. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 741-751.

Collins, N. A., & Read, S. J. (1990). Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 644-663.

Cooper, M. L., Talley, A., Sheldon, M. S., Levitt, A., & Barber, L. (2008). A dyadic perspective on approach and avoidance motives for sexual behavior. In A. J.Elliot (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 615–631). New York: Psychology Press.

Davis, D., Shaver, P. R., & Vernon, M. L. (2003). Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 871–884.

Davis, D., Shaver, P. R., & Vernon, M. L. (2004). Attachment style and subjective motivations for sex. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1076-1090.

Derlega, V. J., Winstead, B. A., Pearson, M. R., Janda, L., Lewis, R. J., Dutton, L. B., et al. (2011). Unwanted pursuit in same-sex relationships: Effects of attachment styles, investment model variables, and minority stressors. Partner Abuse, 2, 300–322.

Downey, G., Freitas, A. L., Michaelis, B., & Khouri, H. (1998). The self-fulfilling prophecy in close relationships: Rejection sensitivity and rejection by romantic partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 545–560.

Elliot, A. J., & Covington, M. V. (2001). Approach and avoidance motivation. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 73-92.

Floyd, K, Boren, J. P., Hannawa, A. F., Hesse, C., McEwan, B., & Veksler, A. E. (2009). Kissing in marital and cohabiting relationships: Effects on blood lipids, stress, and relationship satisfaction. Western Journal of Communication, 73, 113-133.

Fuller, T. L., & Fincham, F. D. (1995). Attachment style in married couples: Relation to current marital functioning, stability over time, and method of assessment. Personal Relationships, 2(1), 17-34.

Gulledge, A.K., Gulledge, M.H., & Stahmann, R.F. (2003). Romantic physical affection types and relationship satisfaction. American Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 233–242.

Hammond, J. R., & Fletcher, G. J. O. (1991). Attachment styles and relationship satisfaction in the development of close relationships. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 20, 56-62.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, E (1987). Conceptualizing romantic love as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1994). Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 1–22.

Hendrick, S. S., Dicke, A., & Hendrick, C. (1998). The relationship assessment scale. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 15, 137-142.

Hill, C. A. (1997). The distinctiveness of sexual motives in relation to sexual desire and desirable partner attributes. Journal of Sex Research, 34, 139–153.

Hughes S. M., Harrison, M. A., & Gallup, G. G. J. (2007). Sex differences in romantic kissing among college students: An evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 612–631.

Hughes, S. M., & Kruger, D. J. (2011). Sex differences in post-coital behaviors in long- and short-term mating: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Sex Research. 48, 505–596.

Impett, E. A., Peplau, L. A., & Gable, S. L. (2005). Approach and avoidance sexual motives: Implications for personal and interpersonal well-being. Personal Relationships, 12, 465-482.

Kirkpatrick, L. A., & Hazan, C. (1994). Attachment styles and close relationships: A four‐year prospective study. Personal relationships, 1(2), 123-142.

Li, T., & Chan, D. K. S. (2012). How anxious and avoidant attachment affect romantic relationship quality differently: A meta‐analytic review. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(4), 406-419.

Little, K. C., McNully, J. K., & Russell, V. M. (2010). Sex buffers intimates against the negative implications of attachment insecurity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 484-498.

Moore, E. A., Kulibert, D., & Thompson, A. E. (2017). Is a kiss just a kiss?: Predicting variations in motives for romantic kissing. Journal of Relationship Research, 8, 1-9.

Muise, A., Impett, E., & Desmarais, S. (2013). Getting it on versus getting it over with: Sexual motivation, desire, and satisfaction in intimate bonds. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1320-1332.

Péloquin, K., Brassard, A., Delisle, G., & Bédard, M. M. (2013). Integrating the attachment, caregiving, and sexual systems into the understanding of sexual satisfaction. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 45, 185-195.

Roisman, G. I., Clausell, E., Holland, A., Fortuna, K., & Elieff, C. (2008). Adult romantic relationships as contexts of human development: A multimethod comparison of same-sex couples with opposite-sex dating, engaged, and married dyads. Developmental Psychology, 44, 91-101.

Rothbaum, F., Rosen, K., Ujiie, T., & Uchida, N. (2002). Family systems theory, attachment theory, and culture. Family Process, 41, 328-350.

Schachner, D. A., & Shaver, P. R. (2004). Attachment dimensions and sexual motives. Personal Relationships, 11, 179-195.

Seehuus, M., & Rellini, A. H. (2013). Gender difference in the relationship between sexual satisfaction and propensity for risky sexual behavior. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 28, 229-244.

Sharpsteen, D. J., & Kirkpatrick, L. A. (1997). Romantic jealousy and adult romantic attachment. Journal of personality and social psychology, 72(3), 627.

Shi, L. (2003). The association between adult attachment styles and conflict resolution in romantic relationships. American Journal of Family Therapy, 31(3), 143-157.

Simpson, J. A. (1990). Influence of attachment styles on romantic relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 59(5), 971.

Snapp, S., Lento, R., Ryu, E., & Rosen, K.S. (2014). Why do they hook up? Attachment style and motives of college students. Personal Relationships, 21, 468-481.

Sprecher, S., & Cate, R. M. (2004). Sexual satisfaction and sexual expression as predictors of relationship satisfaction and stability. In J. H. Harvey, A. Wenzel, & S. Sprecher (Eds.), The handbook of sexuality in close relationships (pp. 235–256). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Stephenson, K. R., Ahrold, T. K., & Meston, C. M. (2011). The association between sexual motives and sexual satisfaction: Gender differences and categorical comparisons. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 607-618.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon/Pearson Education.

Thompson, A. E., Anisimowicz, Y., & Kulibert, D. (2017). A kiss is worth a thousand words: The development and validation of a scale measuring motives for romantic kissing. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 1, 1-21.

Thompson, A.E., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2016). I can but you can’t: Inconsistencies in judgments of and experience with infidelity. Journal of Relationships Research, 7, 1-13.

Wang, C. C. D., King, M. L., & Debernardi, N. R. (2012). Adult attachment, cognitive appraisal, and university students' reactions to romantic infidelity. Journal of College Counseling, 15(2), 101-116.

Walter, C., (2008). Affair of the lips. Scientific American Mind, 19, 24-29.

Weinfield, N. S., Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., Carlson, E. A. (1999) The nature of individual differences in infant-caregiver attachment. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 68-88). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

Welsh, D. P., Haugen, P. T., Widman, L., Darling, N., & Grello, C. M. (2005). Kissing is good: A developmental investigation of sexuality in adolescent romantic couples. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2, 32–41.

Wlodarski R., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2013). Menstrual cycle effects on attitudes toward romantic kissing. Human Nature, 24, 402-413.

Wlodarski R., & Dunbar R. I. (2014). The effects of romantic love on mentalizing abilities. Review of General Psychology, 18, 313–321.

Wyverkens, E., Dewitte, M., Deschepper, E., Corneillie, J., Van der Bracht, L., Van Regenmortel, D., ... & T’Sjoen, G. (2018). YSEX? A Replication Study in Different Age Groups. The journal of sexual medicine, 15(4), 492-501.

Yahya, F., Huix, J. N. X., Ghazali, N. M., Anuar, A., Roose, A. R. M., & Bakar, M. A. A. (2017). Attachment Styles and Relationship Quality among Young Couples. Journal of Cognitive Sciences & Human Development, 3(1), 11-21.

Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., See, L., & O’Sullivan, L. (2015). Young women’s satisfaction with sex and romance, and emotional reactions to sex: Associations with sexual entitlement, efficacy, and situational factors. Emerging Adulthood, 1, 1-14.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v13i1.324