5 Reasons Narcissists Use Sex

Smoke and Mirrors

It’s quite common for men and women who’ve been romantically involved with narcissists, psychopaths, and other personality disordered individuals to recall the sex as being phenomenal or even the best they’ve ever had. Once that’s set in your mind, it can be difficult to heal from the emotional abuse inflicted by these incessant manipulators. Worse, if you miss going to bed with your ex, you’ll be especially vulnerable to any potential Hoover attempts from him or her. You also run the risk of ruining future relationships with healthy, sane partners if you compare all future partners to your malicious ex-narcissist.

Often, once a narcissist is sure that you are fully invested in them and the relationship, sexual intercourse tapers off. In some cases, they even take it off the table completely. They will use sex as a tool to obtain something from you, to get you to do something they want. Prior to giving it up, they will usually act as if being intimate with you is a chore. The mask has slipped, and you’ve glimpsed the darkness it hides. The kind, adoring, wonderful, too-good-to-be-true persona you fell for was never real, and neither was the sexual creature you thought them to be. To the disordered, sex is transactional in nature. The enthusiastic, acrobatic, anything-goes romps were as much a tool to get you hooked and reel you in as their loving words and adulation were.

What Does Sex Mean to a Manipulator?

1. Control

It makes them feel powerful to have control over you. They manipulate your emotions, making you believe that they love and adore you. In reality, they are incapable of such human emotions. They mirror you in so many ways, creating the illusion that you have the same hobbies, taste in music and films, political views, etc., and sex is no different. They adeptly pick up on what makes you feel good, and they capitalize on that to spellbind you. You feel like you’re with the perfect partner, but you are merely there for their amusement.
They sometimes withhold sex intentionally, as a punishment, maybe simultaneously giving you the silent treatment, until you can’t stand it anymore and apologize for whatever they’ve accused you of, give in to a demand they’ve made, or whatever the case may be. Manipulating your emotions makes them feel powerful, and it’s a turn-on for them. However, it’s not always capitulation they’re trying to elicit from you; sometimes they’ll intentionally make you angry because pushing your buttons also makes them feel like they have control over you.

2. Material Gain

Generally, we think of female personality disorders playing this card, but disordered men do it too. Maybe they’re seeking out a place to stay, food, money, a car to drive, or something else that you are able to provide them with, so they flirt and stroke your ego, and the next thing you know they are sharing your bed. Then they start in with the down-on-my-luck story, and you, of course, want to help, so you move them into your apartment, cook for them, loan them your car, or whatever else it is they seem to be in need of. Those generous souls who consider themselves “rescuers” are especially susceptible to this particular manipulation tactic.

3. Relief from Boredom

Narcissists and psychopaths easily become bored. They like to play with people the way children play with dolls or action figures. They’ll most likely butter you up first (see #1, above), especially if you’re in the beginning (idealization) stage of the relationship.

Relieving boredom may include sexual intercourse itself; maybe they were feeling the urge, and you just happened to be around. Afterward, you’ll either be cruelly discarded or used to meet other needs. In addition to becoming bored on a regular basis, the personality disordered have trouble regulating their emotions and frequently behave impulsively, lash out, or self-medicate, in order to suppress their discomfort; sex can serve as a distraction from feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, or general emotional upset.

4. Narcissistic Supply

If they are doting on you and flattering you to no end, you can bet you’re giving it right back to them. They need to feel special; they want you to put them on a pedestal. In the beginning of the relationship, you do this without even thinking about it, and later on you are hyper-vigilant to their moods and know exactly what they want to hear you say.

They are typically promiscuous in nature, and have many sexual partners; having many suitors makes them feel wanted. It makes them feel special. They also quickly become disenchanted with a victim and move on to a new target for fresh supply. So, if you were having intense, frequent romps with your narc in the beginning, but things rapidly cooled off, this may be what happened.

Social status also motivates certain types of narcissists. Maybe you’re someone who happens to be incredibly physically attractive, extremely wealthy, or hold a position of power at your place of employment. Or any combination thereof. You are a conquest. They want to be seen with you. They want to exploit you. To do so, they craftily elicit an emotional attachment from you in order to keep you under their thumb.

5. Triangulation

It’s quite common for narcissists and other personality disordered individuals to use one mate to make another target jealous. As stated above, having many partners to choose from also makes them feel that they are in high demand. To paint this vision for others, they will shamelessly flirt, sometimes dangling the promise of sex as a lure, in order to keep many admiring would-be suitors interested; this makes the narc appear to be ultra desirable to whoever he or she is targeting.

Don’t Get Caught in the Trap

The intensity of sexual interludes with psychopaths is often mistaken for intimacy. Don’t get confused by whatever emotional connections you are feeling during these capers, the narcopath is incapable of having the same feelings for you. Love, deep connection with another human being, a sense of caring for someone else; they can only fake these emotions. They can make you feel like you are the center of their universe, but the other shoe will eventually drop. You can have better relations with a genuinely loving partner; you can develop an emotional connection with a non-disordered person that will only enhance your love-making. But first, you have to get out of the abusive relationship and begin the healing process.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

 

On Forgiveness and Confrontations

Cover of "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their...
Cover via Amazon

I am currently reading Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward, PhD. Most of her information and advice is spot on. However, I disagree with her on a couple of issues. Before I get into those, I should probably fill you in on why I’m reading this book.

As stated in my introduction post, I lived with a sociopath for a number of years, and my significant other was ensnared by one for over a decade. If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve had your own major encounter with a psychopath, or perhaps you have a loved one who has. And if that’s the case, you may already have learned that the reason some of us get involved with sociopaths is because we’re trying to resolve childhood issues. We had high conflict parents, and we got stuck in dysfunction; we don’t know what normal, healthy relationships are all about.

As far as my parents are concerned, I’ve already made my peace. When I say that, I mean I’ve made my peace within myself and, as a result of that, I was able to make my peace with them. (I want to point out that this was partly a result of the relationship I had with the psychopath. As I was discovering what he was, I realized he and my father seemed to have come from the same template. So it gave me some deep insight into the relationship I had with him, as well).

My SO comes from a dysfunctional family also, and has made significant progress as far as understanding how that has affected his life and his choices. He has learned to recognize when he is being manipulated, and he stands up for himself. We both still read books like this one to continue to gain valuable insight. For me the subject is still fascinating.

Getting back on topic, Dr. Forward tells her clients that forgiveness is not essential. I respectfully disagree. Unfortunately, many people seem to think forgiveness and absolution are one and the same. They are not. Forgiveness does not equal absolution. The two are not synonymous. Forgiving someone does not mean that you will continue to allow them to abuse you.

It’s been my experience though that forgiveness is a process. You cannot simply state that you forgive your abuser and expect that magically, all of the hurt from the past will disappear, you will have your self esteem back, your toxic parent(s) will be grief stricken at ever having hurt you and will become the perfect parent(s), etc. Strangely, many people seem to think that that’s how forgiveness works. You are not Jeannie, you cannot simply blink forgiveness into being. It has to come naturally. For me, it’s been part of the healing process. It gradually started to happen on its own, without any conscious effort on my part. (Other than struggling to make sense of everything and to recover from it all – that was a conscious effort).

I realized I had forgiven these people when I got to the point where I could think of them, and unpleasant incidents from our past, without feeling strong emotions. Now, when I recall traumatic incidents from childhood, they almost seem as if they happened to someone else. I don’t feel anger, confusion, emotional distress, helplessness, hatred or a wish to lash out. Sometimes there’s a little sadness at the fact the we humans can be so cruel, but that’s not what this post is about.

The second thing I disagree with Dr. Forward on is her urging all of her clients to confront their toxic parents. I don’t think a confrontation is necessary for everyone. She suggests putting it in writing or arranging a face to face meeting. The patient basically outlines the abuses/neglect they suffered, how they were affected by it, and that they are not going to tolerate any ongoing abuse or disrespect. I think there are plenty of people who could benefit from writing a letter that they never intend to send. (Writing in a journal is another option).

Dr. Forward suggests that the confrontation is to prove to the patient that he/she can stand up to their parents. In my experience, in order to do that, you must set solid boundaries and stop allowing the parents (or anyone else for that matter) to cross those boundaries. When you can do that, then you know that you are okay. When you no longer allow them to abuse you or treat you with disrespect, when you can calmly tell them that you’re going to walk out/hang up if they keep acting like children, when you can refuse to give in to guilt and manipulations, when they are no longer able to push your buttons, then you are fine.

You can stand up to your parents without confronting them with the past. In some instances, a confrontation may make things worse. For me, I simply don’t see the point – it wouldn’t be helpful to me at all. Everyone is different though and, if you feel the need for a confrontation, Toxic Parents will help you prepare for one. Check your local library, or you can purchase the book on Amazon or e-bay.

There’s one more thing I want to mention. Dr. Forward gives examples of how toxic parents typically respond during these face to face encounters. Not surprisingly, they react exactly the same way personality disordered spouses/lovers do, when we call them on their bullshit. Essentially, they respond with denial, blame shifting, false apologies – in hopes of sweeping everything under the rug, making excuses/rationalizing, the martyr routine, and – my personal fave – the whiny, melodramatic why-are-you-being-mean-to-me crap. I couldn’t help noticing the pattern, and it made me wonder if Dr. F would also advise her patients to have a face off with an ex spouse/lover. I doubt she would, and doing so with one’s parents hardly seems like it would be particularly helpful for most people either.

I’ve comprised a short list of books that have been helpful to me during my recovery. If you’re interested, you can view it here.