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In bed with a sexual narcissist

Is narcissism the reason why guys come too soon?

In a recent video, I listed some of the myths about premature ejaculation. And I mentioned the myth that every man who comes too quickly is being selfish.

Then I got some feedback to say I was letting men off the hook too easily.

Women have told me before that they do consider this selfish behaviour. Women understand that early ejaculation is a sensitive issue, but ultimately when guys don’t make the effort to last longer, they are being selfish. They are getting to enjoy their own orgasm and aren’t giving due consideration to their frustrated partners.

Some partners go further and call this out as narcissism. Maybe the man is so proud, so keen to protect his masculine image, he won’t acknowledge that he might possibly have some missing skills – especially in the bedroom department.

Maybe he’s all about his own pleasure. Maybe he’s so into himself, this ramps up his excitement and leads to control issues.

So does sexual narcissism cause premature ejaculation?

If you’re a guy who regularly comes a bit too soon, do you have a bit of narcissism going on?

What is narcissism?

The classic hallmarks of narcissism are:

  • an inflated sense of self-importance
  • a lack of empathy for others
  • a deep need for attention or admiration from the people around us

So an intimate relationship with a narcissist can be challenging.

When it’s really problematic, there’s a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or NPD). People with NPD can have really grandiose perceptions of themselves. They can be extremely defensive of their self-image and prone to blaming others for anything that goes wrong.

Their self-esteem can be super-fragile too. Feeling less than perfect is not acceptable.

Narcissism isn’t just a male thing – women can be narcissistic too – but it’s more prevalent in men. Some estimates say that around 7% of men have some degree of narcissism in their perception of themselves.

What is sexual narcissism?

Inevitably, these issues play out in the bedroom. Sexual narcissists have a self-centered attitude towards sex.

Guys can have an inflated idea of their sexual skills and ability to perform. Their focus is on what they want, and sharing intimacy and meeting the needs of their partners takes much lower priority.

Again, they don’t take constructive feedback from partners well. They ignore it, shut down or might even freak out.

So what about narcissism and premature ejaculation?

Recent research published in the journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy sheds light on the correlation between narcissism and ejaculation issues.

In the study, 1300 men completed questionnaires based on their sexual and relationship histories. They were scored low, medium or high in terms of sexual narcissism.

Guys who scored highly tended to agree with statements like:

  • In sex, I like to be the one in charge
  • I believe I have a special style of making love
  • Emotional closeness can get in the way of sexual pleasure
  • Pleasing yourself in sex is most important

If you hear statements like this on a first date, he’s probably not the one for you.

That said, the men who scored high in sexual narcissism were more likely to have a sexual partner. They masturbated more and had partnered sex more often. They had a greater interest in sex. Well that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

BUT they also reported lower sexual satisfaction, and lower overall relationship satisfaction. They were also more likely to prefer masturbation over partnered sex.

These narcissistic guys’ partners weren’t surveyed, but I’ll wager their relationship satisfaction is probably on the low side too.

And here’s the thing. Narcissism doesn’t seem to affect a guy’s ability to get an erection. But men higher in sexual narcissism reported greater difficulty reaching orgasm during partnered sex OR a greater tendency towards premature ejaculation.

Here’s a quote from one of the research leads:

“Narcissistic men are strongly driven by their own desire for pleasure, deriving sexual satisfaction more from orgasm than from other factors associated with partnered sex such as feelings of intimacy and relational interactions”

David L Rowland, professor of psychology

So if reaching orgasm, and all the good feels of orgasm, is more important than other aspects of partnered sex and intercourse, it’s easy to see why PE becomes an issue for partners.

And maybe the narcissistic man realises that it’s quick and his partner is missing out, but he’s less motivated to discuss or do anything about it. In other words, selfish.

So yes, there is some correlation between narcissism and premature ejaculation. And difficulty reaching ejaculation too – maybe when the relationship is more established and the novelty and initial flattery has worn off. Narcissists are all about their own orgasm or nothing.

But back to my original point.

Not all guys with PE are narcissistic or selfish

Remember the estimate that 7% of men have some degree of narcissism? We estimate that 30% of men experience PE with some regularity. So the correlation only goes so far.

Yes, as the research found, there are narcissistic guys experiencing premature ejaculation and they don’t have the self-awareness or motivation to do anything about it – or find other ways to satisfy or connect with their partners. They are having their own orgasms and that’s their priority.

But if you’re a guy reading this article, chances are you don’t fall into this category.

A lot of men are really unhappy about their sexual abilities and desperately want to share more pleasure with their partners. They might do things that appear selfish – avoid sex, shut down and dodge conversations about sex – but this is due to their anxiety and fear of losing their partners. They are frustrated at themselves and scared.

So what can we do about this?

Guys, remember that your sexual ability isn’t a measure of your worth – as a man or a sexual partner.

And we all have our imperfections and challenges to deal with. You might be wired to come a bit sooner or you might be a more anxious or excitable type.

When you open up to this reality, and discuss it and research it, you’ll find that there are lots of ways you can enhance the abilities you already have. A big part of any sexual difficulty is the limiting beliefs and the sense of hopelessness that easily sets in.

And with all this talk of narcissism and self-image, we need to be careful that we don’t trash self-confidence or feeling really good about ourselves. A healthy degree of self-worth is no bad thing. Confidence is attractive and enhancing in the bedroom.

It’s all about the balance of our feelings about ourselves and awareness of our partner’s needs. We can get caught up in sensation and our own experience at times – that’s perfectly natural. But let’s come back to our partners and get clear on the quality of their experience too.

And for any partners reading this, yes – if the problem goes on and on, and he refuses to open up at all, don’t put up or fake it for too long.

You don’t want to hurt his feelings, I know – especially if he seems fragile or defensive. But playing along can perpetuate the problem. It will get old for you before it does for him.

Mention how you’re feeling in a supportive way (and not right after sex) and you’re potentially doing him a favour, whether his sexual future lies with you or someone else further down the line.

You’ll soon know whether he’s taking your feelings seriously or not.

So I hope this helps clear things up and separates the narcissists from the guys with a legitimate struggle going on.

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