What is sexual narcissism?
Sexual narcissism is a term used to describe people who have an inflated, unrealistic view of their own sexuality. They may feel that they have more sex appeal or are more skilled in sexual activities. Often, they manipulate others to maintain this view.
Relationships with sexual narcissists can be difficult. The narcissist’s behavior can take a powerful psychological toll on the partner.
Some typical traits of sexual narcissists include the following:
• Lack of intimacy. Narcissists put their own physical needs first and do not seek to emotionally connect with their partners. For sexual narcissists, sex itself is more important than the partner’s needs, wishes, or concerns.
• Expectations. Narcissists may expect their partners to participate in sexual activities that make partners uncomfortable. They may also expect partners to be available for sex at the narcissist’s whim. If expectations are not fulfilled, the narcissist may bully the partner, make the partner feel guilty, or become violent.
• Feelings of superiority. Narcissists may belittle and berate their partners, to increase their feelings of self-worth.
• Sensitivity to critique and comparison. Sexual narcissists may become unhappy if they think other people are having more – or better – sex than they are.
• Infidelity and sex addiction. Research suggests that sexual narcissists are more likely to be unfaithful to their partners. They might also be more prone to sex addiction.
Sexual narcissists and their partners may benefit from therapy, either alone or as a couple. A doctor can make a referral to an appropriate mental health professional, preferably one with training in sexuality.