My attachment style is avoidant Scorpio but my partner is a totally secure Gemini. He says anal sex will fix all of my avoidance problems, but I think we should just bring in a third and be polyamorous instead. What do you think we should do?
Unsure About the Backdoor
While you’ve described yourself as unsure I, on the other hand, based on some good intel, am quite sure that this question is a made-up fake. (Sidenote! All of the questions answered in this column are real! Write in yours to firstname.lastname@example.org). However, I’m loving all of the keywords you’ve hit here that essentially describe the column’s most frequently asked questions so what the hell? Let’s answer this bad boy as if it were real.
Scorpios, known for their sexual prowess, green-eyed “loyalty,” and fierce ability to hold both a grudge and a mysterious exterior, might appear as though they have a secure attachment style but in reality (and by “reality,” I mean flippantly based on my mediocre knowledge of astrology), likely have more of an anxious-avoidant style.
As described by Attachment Theory (a totally real, popular psychological theory pioneered by John Bowlby used to explore the way we relate), those with anxious-avoidant attachment styles tend towards feeling most secure in their relationships when they are either physically close (in Scorpio’s case, this likely comes in the form of sex) and/or devil-may-care free to do what they please, without consequence or control from their partner.
Though I certainly don’t think sex (and definitely not any particular sex act) will fix anyone’s relationship problems or attachment issues, I wonder if your “secure” Gemini partner is molding themselves (classic Gemini) to fit into what they perceive to be your Scorpio-self’s stereotypical mode of relating (adventurous sex) in an attempt to reconnect with you. If the two of you decide to jump into some anal explorations, that’s great (I recommend reading recently published column Short-and-Sweet Anal Education), but I wouldn’t rely on it to “fix.” Though plenty of people gain a sense of security, trust, love, and desirability from sex (elements that can help increase attachment and decrease avoidance), I don’t think this should be solely relied on as a remedy. And worst case, increasing the stakes in your sex life without solidifying the emotional/relational foundation first might come up with some disastrous results.
Similarly, I’ve never known opening a relationship to polyamory to be a “relationship fixer” and certainly not a relationship fixer in the case of avoidance. Though I believe both non-monogamous and monogamous relationships to be valid relationship styles capable of existing anywhere on the spectrum of healthy to unhealthy, non-monogamous relationships born out of strife tend to have a rougher road ahead of them than those created from a basic feeling of mutual security.
Folks who tend toward avoidant attachment (and want to create more secure attachment) may find that non-monogamy creates more opportunity for them to avoid the issues in their primary relationship as they can more easily divert attention to or gain positive reinforcement from a third or otherwise “outside” partner rather than leaning into doing that work with their pre-existing partner. This doesn’t mean that all avoidant Scorpios must be monogamous, but I’m not sure this will be quite the quick fix you’re looking for here.
Instead of outsourcing your relational work to anal sex and/or a third partner, try talking to your “secure” Gemini about how and why your avoidant tendencies help you feel safe in relationships, how he might help you practice less avoidance, and what you each think introducing anal sex and/or a third partner might add to (or detract from) your relationship. Once you’ve explored any themes that may come up there (seeking closeness via sex, avoiding problems via adding more partners, feeling bored in a relationship without newness or conflict, etc.) then you might find yourselves more prepared to make these shifts (or not) in your relationship with each other. Introduce either of these new things to your relationship, sure, but do so with your eyes open and your homework done.
Yana Tallon-Hicks is a relationship therapist, sex educator, and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. You can find her work and her professional contact information on her website, yanatallonhicks.com.