Why Avoidant Ex Is Sexually Turned Off (The Ick Effect)

Most people experience fluctuations in sexual desire and sexual attraction over the course of a relationship for various reasons. But while anxiously attached and anxious-leaning avoidants experience increased sexual desire and sexual attraction and make more attempts to have sex to lessen perceived relationship threats, avoidants experience low sexual desire and sexual attraction and sometimes sexually deactivate during relationship instability.

What causes avoidants to sexually deactivate?

1) An avoidant attachment’s fear of getting too close and/or fear of intimacy is the main trigger of sexual deactivation

Fearful avoidants because of their negative self-view for example sexually deactivate because they’re afraid that someone may not find them attractive enough or good enough, and/or they will not be able to meet the other person’s sexual needs or sexually perform to their expectation. They may also fear that they (fearful avoidant) will lose attraction after being intimate with someone.

Dismissive avoidants on the other hand may have a positive self-view but they also sexually deactivate if they think that someone has sexual expectations that they may not be able meet or will catch feelings and/or expect more from them after a sexual encounter than they are able to give, not ready for or are unwilling to do.

2) The other trigger of avoidant sexual deactivation is a sense of security

Not only does a sense of security affect sexual desire, it also corresponds with an avoidant’s feelings of intimacy and how they respond to sexual situations.

When a relationship has frequent and persistent negative ongoing interactions, avoidants tend to rebuff sexual advances and sometimes flip from being sexually attracted to feeling sexually turned off and even get the ick.

An avoidant getting the ick is worse than sexual deactivation

An avoidant getting the ick is different from an avoidant shutdown or deactivation in that a shutdown or deactivation is an urge avoidants feel to turn off the attachment system in order to keep themselves from attachment threat. The ick on the other hand is a gut feeling that one gets from being emotionally, physically and/or sexually turned off by a quality, behaviour, or mannerism that they previously liked or found attractive and were even enamored by. It’s like something flips and the attraction turns into disgust and/or repulsion. You can clearly see the change in an avoidant’s before the ick and after the ick behaviour.

The first sign that an avoidant’s feelings have flipped from attraction to disgust and/or repulsion is loss of sexual attraction. You first notice that they don’t look at you in the same way, aren’t as romantic as they used to be, aren’t interested in sex anymore, are spending more time away from you than with you, etc., then you notice that they avoid sitting close to you or having any kind of physical contact and when you attempt to initiate physical contact, they flinch or act like they’re repulsed by you.

How the flip from attraction to disgust and/or repulsion happens

Some of the behaviours that cause an avoidant to sexually deactivate and/or get the ick that keep coming up in my conversations with avoidants who want to know if they can feel sexual attraction again are: moving too fast, doing too much, trying too hard, not giving enough space, wanting commitment too soon, repeatedly violating boundaries, keeping secrets, demanding sex or using sex as a bargaining chip, and constant conflict and drama.

In the beginning of the relationship, most anxiously attached are generally overly nice, open, vulnerable, giving, accommodating, malleable, eager to please and do most of the relationship-building work, and many avoidants are initially attracted to these traits because these were things they didn’t get from their caregivers. They feel a sense of safety because the anxiously attached person is always available, responsive, attentive, caring, giving, accommodating, emotionally expressive and there’s a lot of affection and attention etc. But that initial attraction slowly and gradually turns into discomfort, uneasiness, irritation and feeling overwhelmed when an avoidant realizes that the safety anxiously attached provide comes with a price and even feels transactional. An anxiously attached does all those things but they expect some kind of “reward” like, I did xyz for you, now you’ve to like me more/treat me better/do what I tell you to do etc. What avoidants call “expectations”.

Avoidants being avoidants are not immediately aware that they are “expected” to return the “sense of safety’ they’re enjoying from the relationship. It dawns on avoidants that they’re expected to give back in return when the demands for attention, availability, responsiveness, emotional openness, caring, affection etc. become a constant daily. What felt like safety before starts to feel uneasy, uncomfortable, overwhelming and suffocating. An avoidant’s romantic attraction starts to fade, they get the ick and become more distant than usual, recoil from touch and/or intimacy, get easily irritated even by things that they were initially okay with, constantly talk about incompatibility issues, want to see other people or crush on someone else, treat an anxiously attached with contempt and loathing.

Some avoidants show love, care and affection to everyone else around them and flirt with random strangers but have a visceral negative reaction to someone they were once attracted to, loved and care about. I’ve heard stories of an avoidant in the middle of intimacy stopping everything and saying, “I can’t” or “I can’t do this.” Others have told me their avoidant ex got violently sick and threw up during intimacy. They say it made them feel gross and humiliated.

The abrupt loss of sexual attraction can also happen overnight when an avoidant feels that you broke their trust, violated their boundary, or intruded into their personal space and time (something that people who try too hard to be liked do quite a lot thinking that they’re acting out of love and/or care), or they discover something “shocking” about you that they can’t get over. It’s like you let the mask slip off for a millisecond and they’re horrified and/or disgusted by what they see, and just can’t unsee what it.


Did A Fearful Avoidant Develop Feelings And Pull Away?

Do Avoidant Sexually Desire You After They Lost Attraction?

How to Get An Ex Who Lost Feelings For You To Fall Back In Love

Can You Love Someone But Not Want to Be With Them?

Why A Fearful Avoidant Dumper’s Feelings Fade Away

6 Post Breakup Protest Behaviours That Push Avoidants Away

10 Behaviours That’ll Increase Your Sexual Magnetism

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