Narcissism, defined as an egotistical admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, is not typically seen as an ideal personality trait. Narcissism is often associated with arrogance and rudeness.
A new study, which appears in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, shows narcissistic individuals have another concerning pattern: a higher propensity to cheat.
More than 120 newlyweds were involved in the study. Researchers tracked the couples for the first four years of their marriage through interviews and questionnaires.
Each partner was asked for their impression of the marriage’s satisfaction levels, sexual and otherwise, as well as infidelity.
Participants also were queried about sexual narcissism, wherein a partner maintains a grandiose view of their own sexual exploits, skill level and entitlement to pleasure.
They also were questioned about sexual empathy, another defining trait of a narcissist.
Using a five-point scale, researchers asked the couples to estimate how much they agreed with statements like, “I could easily convince my spouse to have sex with me if he or she was unwilling,” “I really know how to please my spouse sexually” and “I feel I deserve sexual activity when I am in the mood for it.”
At the end of the study
Researchers Laura Widman and James K. McNulty discovered those individuals with higher levels of sexual narcissism were more likely to cheat.
“The spouses who were more confident about their sexual skill were more likely to commit an infidelity,” as the study puts it.
The researchers noted indicators of sexual narcissism could serve as a potential red flag that someone is more likely to be unfaithful at some point in the relationship and suggest a solution.
“Interventions may benefit from identifying and targeting individuals who have narcissistic tendencies that manifest in the sexual domain,” the study reads.
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