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9 Signs of Narcissistic Sexual Behavior 

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9 Signs of Narcissistic Sexual Behavior

While sexual behaviors can present in a variety of ways, there are certain signs to be on the lookout for. Sexual narcissists tend to enter intimate relationships with charm, flattering comments, and an abundance of love.

The sexual narcissist may rush sexual intimacy and even go to great lengths in the first sexual encounters to prioritize their partner’s pleasure. While narcissistic sexual behavior may at first seem romantic and passionate, it inevitably turns one-sided, egocentric, unempathetic, transactional, and aggressive.

 

Sexual narcissistic behavior often involves the following signs:

Sexual behavior in a narcissist
Narcissistic sexual behavior

1. Prioritizing One’s Own Sexual Satisfaction

Sexual narcissists are preoccupied with their own satisfaction, ignoring the needs of their sexual partner. When their partner does express a sexual need or preference, the sexual narcissist may ignore the request or accuse their partner of being controlling or selfish.

2. Reporting They Aren’t Sexually Satisfied

While sexual narcissists will go to great lengths to prioritize their own sexual satisfaction, they tend to report low sexual satisfaction and place the blame on their partners. They may judge or criticize their partner’s performance or suggest that sex has become boring and needs to change in order to meet the sexual narcissist’s sexual needs. Sexual narcissists may hint (or even overtly threaten) that they will look elsewhere for satisfaction if their partner can’t step it up.

3. Overconfidence & Grandiosity About Sexual Performance

Sexual narcissists often portray themselves and their sexual abilities as unique and superior to others. While some research shows that some sexual narcissists do in fact have high sexual esteem and perceive themselves to be good lovers, other research indicates that sexual narcissists are only acting overly confident, grandiose, and arrogant about their sexual performance in order to compensate for an underlying weak sense of self-esteem.

4. Expectation of Praise

To fuel their self-esteem, sexual narcissists will crave, expect, and even demand praise to meet their narcissistic supply. During sex, this may look like ordering partners to express sexual satisfaction or give compliments to the sexual narcissist.

5. Hypersensitivity to Criticism

Sexual narcissists are hypersensitive to criticism about their sexual performance and bodies. When confronted with a suggestion to change positions during sex or move at a different pace, they may ignore or appear disinterested in the feedback. In reality, they experience it as a narcissistic injury. In some cases, perceived criticism will trigger narcissistic rage which involves an outburst of aggression and violence.

6. Aggression or Violence

While aggression during sex for some may be perfectly healthy (e.g., for partners engaging in BDSM), it may indicate someone is a sexual narcissist if they are performing unwanted sexual contact, sexual coercion, or rape. Aggression may happen periodically as the result of narcissistic rage, or it’s possible the sexual narcissist prefers all sexual encounters to be aggressive in nature.

7. A Lack of Empathy for Partner’s Needs

Research suggests that while narcissists are in fact capable of empathy, they choose to use it only when it serves them.8 Sexual narcissists typically demonstrate a lack of empathy for their partner’s needs in an effort to serve their own intimacy needs. They may do so while engaging in aggressive behavior, or more generally by ignoring their partner’s requests or preferences in order to prioritize their own.

8. A Sense of Entitlement to Sex

Sexual narcissists expect to get what they want during sex, even when what they want is unreasonable or nonconsensual. They often believe they are owed or deserving of sexual favors and demand that their partners perform certain sexual activities and comply with their expectations. If you don’t give in to their demands, they may retaliate with aggression, threats of having sex with someone else, or “the silent treatment.”

9. Exploitation

Sexual narcissists often view people in their lives as objects to meet their sexual needs, which may mean doing anything necessary to reach that goal. Some sexual narcissists collect and threaten blackmail (e.g., sexual photos or videos), tell their partners they would be “nothing” without sex with the narcissist, or guilt their partners into performing sexually.

Impacts on your life when in a sexual relationship with a narcissist

Impacts of Sex With a Narcissist

If you’re intimate with a sexual narcissist, you may chronically feel “not good enough,” regardless of how you perform sexually. You may develop a negative body image, have patterns of self-invalidation, and experience shame and low self-worth. Long-term, sex with a narcissist may lead to difficulty trusting future sexual partners, trauma symptoms, or even the development of PTSD.

Impacts of sex with a narcissist include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Body image issues
  • Self-invalidation (e.g., telling yourself you’re selfish for having sexual needs)
  • Shame and secret-keeping from loved ones
  • Decrease in sexual desire (specifically with the sexual narcissist, or in general)
  • Consequences of blackmail
  • Difficulty trusting future sexual partners
  • Trauma symptoms and/or PTSD

How to Respond to Sexual Narcissism

How you respond to sexual narcissism depends largely on the nature of the relationship. Is this a one-night stand or a long-term relationship? Are you committed to this person or want to exit the relationship? As a rule of thumb, partners of sexual narcissists should be careful not to reinforce unwanted behaviors while engaging in sex; avoid giving the indication that the sexual narcissist’s behavior is wanted or enjoyable when possible (e.g., by moaning or smiling).

You may try setting boundaries around sex, in which case it’s important that you’re firm in asserting your needs, as wavering may invite a sexual narcissist to violate and push your limits. Name the unacceptable behavior clearly (“Do not choke me during sex”) and restate the assertion as many times is needed. If the sexual narcissist tries to make it about their needs (“But this is what turns me on”), redirect the attention back to yourself.

Boundaries are helpful with a sexual narcissist outside of the bedroom as well. Because sexual narcissists often cheat to avoid the intimacy and vulnerability that comes with a committed relationship, you may want to express to your partner your limits around infidelity. Individual therapy or couples counseling are both helpful resources for discussing sexual narcissists’ patterns and determining how and whether to proceed in the relationship.

Ultimately, it may be in your best interest to walk away, in which case it’s worth educating yourself on what a narcissist does at the end of a relationship. Regardless of how you choose to proceed, it’s important as a first step to consider your safety. Some sexual narcissists may become aggressive or retaliatory when confronted about their behavior.

 

Source: Choosing Therapy

Written by: Brooke Schwartz LCSW

Reviewed by: Kristen Fuller MD

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