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Maybe they lavished you with attention, gifts, flattery, and promises of true romance, to the point where you almost felt overwhelmed by their charm.
If your partner also has a general attitude of entitlement and superiority, along with a need for regular praise and admiration, you might start to wonder whether they could have narcissistic personality disorder NPD. The traits that characterize NPD and other personality disorders tend to remain pretty constant over time.
These traits also show up in multiple areas of life. In a romantic or sexual relationship, key traits that characterize NPD can absolutely extend to all domains of your relationshipincluding the bedroom. That said, you may not always notice specific behaviors right away, especially when your partner makes a dedicated effort to present a different side of themselves. Sure, sex can be a lot of fun. In a relationship, sex plus post-coital cuddling and pillow talk also helps you connect with your partner on an intimate level.
If you try to talk about your feelings or the relationship, they might offer some token participation but seem bored or disinterested and quickly change the subject to how they feel. People who display narcissistic behaviors generally have a high opinion of themselves. They may consider themselves special, uniquely gifted, and more important than anyone else. In bed, this can sometimes translate to putting their own pleasure first. That said, self-importance can also mean that they could want to satisfy you so you can praise their skills and tell them how considerate they are as a partner.
So, instead of sharing how much fun you had together, they might want you to describe, in great detail, just how great they are at sex and how much you enjoyed the encounter. They might look for this validation and approval every time you have sex. You may not automatically recognize these behaviors as abuse. You might even start to wonder whether not wanting to have sex makes you a bad partner and you really are the one at fault. These manipulation tactics fall under the umbrella of sexual coercionhowever.
You can consider them calculated attempts to make you feel bad and give in to what they want. But it does mean they may not spend much time thinking about the impact of their behavior. They might even seem unaware that other people even have feelings. If your partner displays symptoms of NPD, you might get the impression that as long as they get what they want, nothing else matters.
Maybe they have a very detailed and specific outline of how your encounters should play out. They tell you what they want to do, in what position, and what you should wear to bed and say during sex. These traits can show up in varying degrees of severity. A partner with less-severe narcissistic traits may show more willingness to acknowledge problematic behaviors when you call them out. They might also make more of an effort to consider your feelings and sexual needs. Someone who displays severe symptoms of NPD, however, may remain firmly convinced that only their needs matter.
They may continue attempting to manipulate and exploit you in order to get those needs met.
Plenty of people might recognize the exaggerated sense of superiority and self-importance seen with grandiose narcissism, but vulnerable covert narcissism can look pretty different. Many people with traits of NPD do cheat on their partners and attempt to manipulate them into having sex. After all, they sound like exactly the same thing. Someone can display traits of sexual narcissism without meeting any criteria for an NPD diagnosis.
A person with traits of NPD might have an entitled attitude and other narcissistic traits in the context of their romantic and sexual relationships. But narcissistic traits will also show up in other areas of life.
Research suggests a link between sexual narcissism and sexual aggression — which includes rapeother sexual assault, and sexual coercion. Experts have not, however, found evidence to suggest that narcissism alone makes sexual aggression more likely. Talking to a mental health professional is an important step toward getting more insight and creating lasting change. Traits and behaviors associated with personality disorders tend to be difficult to change alone, though, so professional support can make a big difference. In short, support from a therapist can help you develop and maintain healthier relationships that satisfy both you and your partner.
If you care about your partner and want to stay involved, you might try starting with a conversation. My preferences are just as valid as yours. If they want to maintain your relationship, they might be willing to consider working with a therapist, so you could also encourage them to seek professional support.
Would you consider talking to a therapist about how to give that a try? At the end of the day, remember this: Change is possiblebut it can take time and hard work in therapy to see any. Learn more about navigating a relationship with a partner with NPD. Narcissistic traits can affect all of your personal and professional relationships, making it difficult to keep a job, maintain friendships, or have healthy romantic relationships.
NPD also often involves feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, emptiness, and anxiety. Any of these can contribute to emotional distress and other mental health symptoms, including depression.
That said, support from a therapist can go a long way toward helping you address these s and behaviors. A partner with traits of narcissism may not always feel motivated to change any of their behaviors, so they might continue showing little interest in your sexual needs and desires.
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. Whether you're involved with someone who shows s of sexual narcissism or re-evaluating your own ideas around sex, we've got answers to your…. The idea of toxic relationships gets thrown around a lot, but what actually makes a relationship toxic?
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Find examples, tips to handle a mistake with compassion and grace, and more. Health Conditions Discover Plan Connect. Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph. s How it varies Sexual narcissim vs. What does narcissistic sexual behavior look like? Does it always come across in the same way? Is there a difference between narcissistic sexual behaviors and 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? The bottom line. Read this next. Is Your Relationship Toxic? Medically reviewed by Alex Klein, PsyD. Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph. What Makes a Relationship Healthy?Looking to just chat no perverted crap
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