There are a ton of articles out there highlighting the downsides to dating a narcissist and now a new reason can be added to the list: a new study says people who are narcissists -- particularly in the sexual arena -- are more likely to cheat.
Researchers James K. McNulty and Laura Widman studied 123 newlywed couples through their first four years of marriage, both in the lab and through questionnaires, in which the participants gave self-reported measures of sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and infidelity.
Participants were specifically asked to answer questions about sexual narcissism, which is defined as having a grandiose sense of sexual skill, sexual exploitation, sexual entitlement, and lack of sexual empathy.
In order to assess sexual narcissism, researchers asked participants to agree or disagree on a 5-point scale with phrases 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."
After four years, McNulty and Widman discovered that participants with higher levels of sexual narcissism were more likely to cheat on their partners than participants with lower levels. "The spouses who were more confident about their sexual skill were more likely to commit an infidelity," the researchers explained in the study.
The researchers found that spouses who tended to exploit their partners sexually and felt entitled to sex were more likely to be unfaithful. And husbands who lacked sexual empathy for their wives were also more likely to cheat.
The findings suggest sexual narcissism could be a potential sign that a person is more likely to be unfaithful, researchers noted. "Interventions may benefit from identifying and targeting individuals who have narcissistic tendencies that manifest in the sexual domain," they wrote in the study.
The study was recently published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.