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Sexual narcissism, sometimes called sexual entitlement, involves a largely self-centered view of sexual activity. People with traits of sexual narcissism typically have an inflated idea of their sexual skills and bedroom performance and focus primarily on what they want. They also tend to lack interest in cultivating emotional intimacy and show little interest in what their partners might want. In fact, experts have linked individuals who display coercive behaviors to infidelity, sexual aggression, and other harmful behaviors.
In fact, sexual self-esteem can even have a positive impact on overall well-being. A key difference lies in the fact that people with sexual narcissism generally believe they have a right to sex, especially within the context of a romantic relationship. They pursue sex for physical enjoyment, not emotional connection, and they might exploit or manipulate partners in order to have sex. Older research suggests this behavior pattern has its roots in insecurity and low self-esteem. People with sexual narcissism pursue sex because it benefits them.
Along with physical enjoyment, sex offers validation of their physical prowess. Still, they may not necessarily have a preoccupation with sexual thoughts or behaviors. In short, yes. Sexual narcissism and what experts call global narcissism are two related but distinct concepts. Sexual narcissism refers to narcissistic traits, such as entitlement, low empathy, or superiority, that show up specifically in sexual behavior.
Narcissism is a personality disorder NPD. The traits and behaviors associated with this condition typically show up across multiple areas of life. Another key difference between the two lies in the link between sexual narcissism and sexual aggression.
These behaviors persist, showing up consistently rather than occasionally, but they appear in the context of sexual interactions and relationships instead of all areas of life. The belief they deserve sex when they want it may lead them to have sex outside your relationship. While we want to emphasize not everyone with sexual narcissism will cheat or attempt sexual assaultexperts have found evidence to suggest links between sexual narcissism and infidelityas well as sexual aggressionincluding sexual coercion and rape.
Like narcissism, it occurs on something of a spectrum. Higher levels of sexual narcissism will typically translate to a more severe, persistent pattern of behavior. Not everyone with sexual narcissism will show all potential s, or attempt to exploit or coerce partners. Some people may simply seem more inconsiderate than aggressive when it comes to sex.
Maybe they require a lot of admiration and approval in order to boost their sense of self-worth, or they insist on having sex the way they like instead of asking about your interests. Recognizing these characteristics is a great first step toward making change. Remember, partnered sex takes at least two people. Another way of looking at this might involve asking yourself and them what you can do to help them enjoy the encounter, too. Discussing these things regularly with long-term partners can also have a positive impact on your relationship.
Sex is more than a way to earn admiration and approval. Greater empathy and consideration for your partner can offer several benefits, including better sex and a stronger relationship. A healthier relationship can, in turn, lead to improved well-being and overall satisfaction with life. Having a self-centered partner is one thing. Coping with the effects of sexual narcissism is quite another.
The best way to handle the situation can depend on your partner, as well as their typical behavior toward you. If they generally seem to care about you and show an interest in maintaining your relationship, an open conversation can offer a place to start. If they continue to ignore or brush aside your suggestions, reaching out to a relationship counselor for support may have benefits. Sexual narcissism can absolutely involve abuse, including sexual coercion and other manipulative tactics.
Pursuing individual therapy and working to develop a safety plan may be a better option when they show abusive, angry, or violent behavior toward you. Sexual narcissism that le to infidelity can end relationships. Abusive or coercive behavior can cause pain and trauma for your partner and legal consequences for you. Even in the absence of cheating and aggressive behavior, you might move from one relationship to the next, feeling dissatisfied without really knowing why.
If you begin to doubt yourself and your skills, you might end up with feelings of anxietydepressionemptiness, or anger. Keep in mind, though, that help is always available. A mental health professional can offer guidance and support, without judgment, if you continue to grapple with:.
Sexual confidence is a great thing and perfectly healthy — until that confidence becomes a sense of entitlement that le to negative outcomes for others. Therapy with a professional who specializes in sex and relationship counseling can help you begin to explore and work through problematic, entitled, or potentially harmful ideas about sexual behavior and develop skills for healthy and fulfilling relationships. A therapist can also offer support and guidance when your partner believes they deserve sex, attempts to manipulate you, or shows other s of sexual narcissism.
Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. A true narcissist will exhibit behaviors that…. The idea of toxic relationships gets thrown around a lot, but what actually makes a relationship toxic? Learn how to recognize the s and build a…. Narcissism is often viewed as a permanent personality defect, but change may be possible.
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Is there a difference between sexual narcissism and regular narcissism? What does sexual narcissism look like? Are there different types of sexual narcissism? What should you do if you recognize this in yourself? What if you recognize this in a partner? How can this affect you long term? Read this next.
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