They may have seemed pretty perfect in the beginning, and you were enchanted by their passion, generosity, and devotion to you — that includes in the bedroom.
But as time has passed the cracks have begun to show.
The combination of their superior attitude and spoilt behavior, along with a constant need for praise has left you wondering if you’re actually having sex with a narcissist.
What are the telltale giveaways? Here are 15 signs that you may be sleeping with a narcissist.
Are you having sex with a narcissist or dealing with a sexual narcissist?
They may sound almost identical, but there is actually a subtle yet important difference between a narcissist and a sexual narcissist.
When it comes to sexual narcissists, traits like entitlement, lack of empathy, feelings of superiority, and the need for validation may only exist when it comes to sex. It’s essentially a pattern of behavior and beliefs that only show up in the bedroom and not within other aspects of the relationship.
On the other hand, although the characteristics are largely the same, when it comes to a narcissist you will typically see these behaviors across multiple areas of life.
It’s easy to understand why the two are confused and seem to overlap, as researchers have found that people with narcissism often display some type of sexual entitlement too.
Regardless of what you call it, what matters most is how it shows up, what it looks like and what it feels like.
What are narcissists like sexually? 15 things to watch out for
1) They turn on the charm, but it’s just for show.
But as Lachlan Brown points out the tricky thing about getting involved with a narcissist is that we often don’t see the real them until it is too late. They are in fact, skilled pickup artists.
“They need other people to feed off, and they might seem as if they’re giving a lot back, but they’re really just the ultimate users. Narcissists are often superficially charming, so it’s easy to get into a relationship with one without realizing what’s happening.”
In the beginning, you might find a narcissist entertaining, attentive, and alluring. But this is more like a predator luring in its prey.
Any effort they make in the early stages is short-lived and just for show, not to please you. That’s because it was never really about you, it’s all about how they want you to see them.
After the initial courtship, they may feel like they have you where they want you, and so put an abrupt stop to the charm they once displayed.
Once they’ve succeeded in impressing you, you’ll probably notice a definite shift towards you pleasing them and catering to their needs.
2) They expect you to constantly praise their sexual prowess
Whilst a lot of us probably feel compliments should be offered without coaxing, many narcissists will have no problem asking for praise directly. Meanwhile, other narcissists may subtly put themselves down, but only as your cue to lavish them with admiration.
Regardless of how they actually perform as a lover, they want to constantly hear from you how great they are in bed, how good they look, how much they turn you on, etc.
They need to hear from you that you recognize their great skills and abilities in the bedroom.
Fail to notice or comment on their appearance, shower them with praise, or make everything about them and they won’t be happy.
If they don’t feel this admiration from you, then they will likely act out. They may become cold, moody, angry, or try to punish you in some way.
That’s because your function is to feed their insatiable appetite for approval and appreciation. Of course, you never can because it is by definition impossible to satisfy.
Slowly and steadily they expect more and more of it.
3) They try to pressure you into doing things sexually you don’t want to do
The number one objective of a narcissist is to get their own needs met, and they care little about anything or anyone else.
That means if they have to pressure, bully or manipulate you into doing what they want, that’s absolutely fine by them. And if their tactics do not work, there will be hell to pay.
It might be a specific thing they want to try in the bedroom that you are not into, a fetish they have, or when you are not in the mood but they are.
Rather than respect your wishes, a narcissist cannot handle what they see as disappointment or rejection.
This can cause them to behave in destructive and unreasonable ways. They may get angry at you and have a tantrum, much as a toddler would. That could include scathing judgments of you, personal attacks, or ridicule.
Their frustrations could also manifest in more subtle or passive-aggressive ways. For example, they may just sulk instead and give you the cold shoulder as a way of punishing you. They could decide to withhold affection from you, becoming cold, distanced, and avoiding other forms of physical contact such as hugs and kisses.
All of these are pressure tactics that the sexual narcissist hopes will push you into relenting and giving them their own way.
By creating drama around the situation, they hope to create enough tension and distress for you that you relent and finally give them what they want.
4) They gaslight you about sex
In the mind of a narcissist, the fact that you are even reading this list right now to find out if your suspicions you’re sleeping with a narcissist are correct, is merely another example of you blowing everything totally out of proportion.
You’ll never win when trying to debate or discuss with a narcissist. When you find fault with their behavior, their tactic is often to turn things around on you.
When it comes to sex, any concerns you have or raise will most likely be quickly shot down.
Your partner may then seek to try to blame you and emotionally coerce you into changing your view on things and insisting that you are the one who is in the wrong.
Even their cheating behavior is your fault because you were not satisfying them sexually.
5) They quickly go off you once their own needs are met
It’s not uncommon to be completely ignored by a narcissist after having had sex.
When the relationship is no longer exciting or meeting their needs, they will rather unceremoniously withdraw any attention they once showed you.
If it was a more casual sexual encounter, then they may ghost you after getting all they wanted from the situation. They’ve already received the validation they needed, so in their eyes, there is nothing left to say.
Even within the context of a committed relationship, you may notice a narcissistic partner withdraw after sex, seemingly ignoring your existence, and wandering off into another room of leaving the house. Even if they don’t physically disappear you might notice them emotionally holding back.
Cycles of flattery and attention, are then followed by neglecting and ignoring you again as soon as they get what they want.
Afterward, you may be left feeling lonely, emotionally disconnected, and used by the sexual encounter.
6) Sex is a performance to them
And the award for best actor goes to…
In the bedroom with a narcissist, you are lucky if you are even considered for best supporting role because it is all about them.
Are narcissists good in bed? Sometimes.
You may well enjoy sex with a narcissist. But even if the sex between you is good, they care more about how they are perceived than your pleasure. And so you may get a sense that it is showmanship rather than passion.
What you want in the bedroom doesn’t really factor into it. But, especially in the beginning, they may well pull out all the stops to make sure you think they are incredible so that you offer them the praise they require.
As sex is viewed as a performance as opposed to a connection, they will likely feel annoyed or frustrated if they believe that others are having more sex or better sex than they are.
7) They’re not open to discussing sex or finding a compromise
Narcissists are most definitely not looking for feedback. Their fragile ego cannot handle anything they may view as criticism and they will likely get instantly defensive when confronted with any.
Neither are they likely to ask what you want or what you like in the bedroom (unless it’s a way of coaxing some form of praise for their own performance).
Why would they listen to your sexual desires, when they believe they already know best?
The “best lover in the world” does not want to have their bubble burst by being asked to change something about the way they make love.
If you try to bring up any conversation about sex, they’re unlikely to want to hear it. They are sure that they already know all there is to know about sex, so aren’t interested in your point of view.
Above all else, they do not want to start any conversations that could challenge their self-image as the number one lover you’ve ever had.
8) They have no problem lying if it suits them
They won’t feel bad about feeding you a load of lines just to talk you into bed, even if it’s all made up or they don’t mean a word of what they’re saying.
A lack of empathy means it is difficult for a narcissist to truly care what others feel, and so as a consequence, lying is like water off a duck’s back.
This can be one of the reasons why they seem so charming, because they are playing a character. This is a role that they have invented rather than the real them, and they feel zero guilt about misleading you.
They are perfectly comfortable lying, tricking, and deceiving you to get you into bed. Anything goes as it is simply a means to an end — which is getting their own needs met.
9) There may be other destructive patterns like cheating, sex addiction, or violence
Other than self-obsession, bullying, and manipulative tactics, a narcissist may also exhibit other unhealthy patterns when it comes to their attitude towards sex.
Not all narcissists will cheat, but many others will think nothing of having multiple partners.
One study found that narcissists are much more likely to cheat in their marriages and do so without remorse. Instead of accepting responsibility, a narcissist is likely to blame infidelity on the other partner who has failed to meet their needs.
When it comes to sex, there may be a strong focus on quantity rather than quality. This could be explained in part by the findings of another study that discovered links between sexual addiction and sexual narcissism.
So, if you are sleeping with a narcissist they may display other compulsive sexual behavior that interferes with their lives — for example, excessive porn use.
In extreme circumstances, another dark side of being in a relationship with a narcissistic is the potential for things to turn violent.
Whilst not a universal hallmark of narcissists, research has highlighted links between men who are sexual narcissists and domestic violence. Meanwhile, other studies have found correlations between sexual narcissism and sexual aggression, including assault and coercion.
10) They put you down
One of the common narcissistic traits is being judgmental towards other people who they perceive as inferior — which is almost everyone.
You may notice that they begin to devalue and criticize you. This may start off as mild but grow in severity over time.
As they lack empathy, the hurtful nature of what they say doesn’t sink in for them.
A narcissist needs you to doubt yourself. Essentially, insulting you helps them to feel better about themselves. Some research suggests it is actually a coping strategy they employ, as explained in Psychology Today:
“Korea University’s Sun Park and Northeastern University psychologist C. Randall Colvin investigated the question of whether narcissists would be more likely than others to adopt a disparaging approach toward others, whether or not they feel threatened. In their words, “Narcissistic individuals create psychological breakwaters to keep threatening information from reaching their highly favorable self-concept”. These “psychological breakwaters” may include a protective barrier of personal putdowns toward anyone they think is better than they are.”
You may notice that a narcissist is particularly rude, cruel, or unkind when they are feeling threatened in some way.
11) They use sex as a weapon to manipulate you
There are several ways in which a narcissist may try to use sex as a means of control.
For starters, they like to have power over others and will use both sex and the pretense of emotion to gain it. This may mean that they get pleasure from giving or withdrawing sex and affection.
For a sexual narcissist, withholding sex is often a way of gaining control and a sense of power.
Particularly in the beginning, they may use sex to gain your approval and fool you into thinking they are charming, romantic, or a generous lover.
Once their confidence grows that they have enough power over you, sexual exploitation might start. For example, you may find they try to manipulate or coerce you into having sex when you do not want to.
12) They don’t care how you feel
A lack of empathy is a classic narcissist trait which means they spend very little time considering the impact of how they behave.
If you are upset, they may act as though they don’t understand your feelings. As long as they get what they want, then your emotions are inconsequential.
During sex, they will instruct and direct you — perhaps telling you what to say, how to position yourself, what to wear, what they want you to do, etc.
But they don’t ever ask what you prefer or want, as all the focus is on their pleasure and performance.
You may feel more like a prop in their play or a sexual object than their partner. That’s because sexual narcissists often feel a sense of ownership over their partner’s sexuality.
Even when they do something that is wrong or hurtful towards you, you’ll unlikely hear them apologize. If they do, it is because they need to do so in order to get something out of you.
13) It’s just physical, rather than an emotional connection
Sexual narcissists may do well at no strings attached sex, but they struggle with anything more meaningful.
Even when a narcissist tries to put on a performance of love-making, the absence of genuine human emotions is often apparent. As couples’ therapist Brandon Santan, Ph.D. explains:
“Sex isn’t about connection for the sexual narcissist—it’s about domination, self-gratification, and power. The partner of someone who admires their own sexual prowess and/or is obsessed with their sexual performance will notice that the sexual narcissist isn’t emotionally present during sexual intimacy. They will feel as if the experience was devoid of emotional connection.”
During sex, you may notice this lack of emotional connection through things like the absence of eye contact. Rather than being present in the moment with their partner, they are too self-involved and in their own head to look at you.
There’s likely to be an absence of pillow talk or post-sex cuddling too — both of which are what helps to bond a couple on an emotional level and increase a feeling of closeness.
A sexual narcissist is likely to appear bored or uninterested if you try to start conversations about your feelings or the emotional side of your relationship.
Sex itself isn’t about two people connecting and all the things that come with that, like passion, tenderness, or vulnerability. The focus for them is more on appearance, image, and their own sensations.
14) Any displays of generosity have ulterior motives
You may be showered with gifts or spoiled with dinners out, but it’s not a gift it is an exchange.
Nothing comes for free, and any kindness, favor, or generosity they expect something in return.
Gifts are a way of showing you and the world what a wonderful person they are — for which they will expect their due admiration. Or you will be expected to return the favor somehow, and now owe them something.
15) They believe they have a right to sex
Do they struggle to take no for an answer? If so, you may well be dealing with a sexual narcassist.
When it comes to sex, they feel they have a right to access it whenever they want. You not being in the mood, being busy with something else, or tired is irrelevant to them.
When they want to have sex it can feel like they are demanding it, and will become very reactive if they feel that their request is denied.
In conclusion: How do narcissists deal with sex?
If we’re honest, many people are probably guilty of at least a few of the above behaviors occationally. But the markings of a true sexual narcissist are that they tend to exhibit many of these habits frequently.
As narcissism can operate on a spectrum, some partners with milder traits may still be prepared to consider your sexual feelings or needs.
Others with genuine Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be incapable of that and focus solely on what they want — and are prepared to adopt any tactics to get it.
The problem is that they often lack the self-awareness to put a stop to their narcissistic ways, and as a consequence hurt their partners in the process.
Ultimately, narcissists deal with sex much like they do other aspects of their life and relationships — as a means to an end to get what they want.