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Why Watching Porn can Worsen Existing Narcissism

By January 19, 2021No Comments

Did you know that experts have demonstrated the connection pornography has to other industries, such as sex trafficking or sexual exploitation? Or, consider the connections porn has to addiction: how porn can affect the brain in similar ways that alcohol or other substances do.

But here’s one more connection that you may not have known about: the connection between narcissism and porn consumption.

What is narcissism?

To understand the connection between narcissism and porn, we need to look at what the experts have to say. First, let’s look at what exactly narcissism is.

According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder as it’s formally called, “is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

Related: 3 Reasons Why People Who Watch Porn Are Not “Bad” People

People with this personality disorder can exhibit behaviors like:

  • Over concerning them self with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolizing conversations and looking down on people they consider inferior
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what they want
  • Display an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

Narcissists can struggle in various areas of their life: work, school, and relationships. And when it comes to intimate relationships, studies show that since the concept of narcissism was developed, sexuality has been a key part of the disorder. In fact, “narcissim and narcissistic behaviors seem to be closely linked to acts related to sex.”

What does this have to do with consuming porn, though?

Brain Heart World

Where narcissism and porn overlap

Several studies have concluded that, “given this connection between sexual issues and narcissism, individuals who have narcissistic characteristics may be more likely to use pornography, especially internet pornography. In fact, research examining their connection has found that, “higher narcissism [relates] to a greater frequency of Internet pornography use.”

Why is this? There are various explanations: some of the older research says that narcissists are more absorbed by sexual emotions and lost in self-admiration of the body and sexual organs. The more recent studies conclude that narcissists, “may seek out idealized forms of sexual images and behaviors,” and therefore form an intense “attachment” to pornography (which displays this hyper-idealized content).

One clinical psychologist specializing in narcissistic behavior, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, who makes educational YouTube videos on narcissism, offered the following explanation:

“The architecture of narcissism fits well with what pornography delivers. One of the core deficits in narcissism is a deficit in the capacity for intimacy. For narcissistic individuals, relationships largely serve as a tool to regulate their self-esteem, and so their relationships aren’t really about love, reciprocity, respect or mutuality, but rather with the narcissist getting what they want and need from the other person.”

Decades of research from respected institutions has shown that porn is not healthy for anyone—but certainly based on what the experts say, when it comes to narcissism, it seriously serves as fuel for those with this personality disorder.

Related: My Partner Had A Second, Secret Phone To Hide His Porn Obsession From Me

When it comes to comparing porn to actual sex, research shows that porn misses out on the emotion, the mutual respect, the intimacy of real love. The lack of these things in porn is the very thing that makes it so attractive to narcissists. Dr. Durvasula states that, “as a personality trait, they gravitate to it.”

Remember those behaviors associated with narcissism we talked about earlier? An excessive focus on performance and image, a lack of recognition of the needs or feelings of others, or using others to satisfy their own desires—sounds a lot like what porn displays, right?

Dr. Durvasula breaks this narcissism-porn relationship down further for us:

“For a narcissist, [sex] becomes about power, gratification, control, performance, and validation. And pornography delivers on all of that; it takes sex and boils it into a consumable commodity, and it’s consumable on demand. 

It requires no empathy, no connection, no reciprocity, no respect, and no regard for the other person. It’s superficial and visual, and can feature themes of degradation, control, and power. Above all else, it makes no demands on the narcissist… No demand, all gratification.”

Fortify

A new connection, same story

Don’t misunderstand what we’re saying, here. Not everyone who watches porn is a narcissist, and not every narcissist watches porn. For those who do have narcissistic tendencies who do consume porn, the porn they consume further fuels existing issues for them.

Related: This Study Evaluated 7,430 Porn Videos And Found Women Receive 97% Of Physically Aggressive Acts In Porn

Superficial, overly-idealistic, unhealthy power dynamics and unrealistic scenarios…the list goes on and on on where porn misses the mark and sells unhealthy ideas about sex—where connection, intimacy, and mutual respect, the foundation of healthy relationships, don’t seem to make the cut.

While the connection between narcissism and pornography might be news to some, the harm pornography can cause is the same. The good news? You have a say. Refuse to click and fight for something better—real love. You with us?

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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