Promiscuity: Psychology of Self-Soothing with Sex (oh, and Relationships)

Uploaded 4/5/2020, approx. 38 minute read

Dear hostages and prisoners everywhere, I drink to you. If I can't kill the virus, at least I can try to get it drunk. And the night is young. Who knows what may transpire between us?

Which leads me to the topic of today's extremely long presentation. The presentation will deal with various aspects of the same issue.

And if you're interested in the topic, I recommend that you listen to the variant or suffer to the variant.

And the topic is promiscuity.

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

Cheating and promiscuity are now common reactions to neglect, abuse, rejection, monotony or indifference in ostensibly intimate relationships. I'm saying ostensibly because all these things are of course the exact antithesis, the exact opposite of intimacy.

Promiscuity and cheating are so widespread because sex has been reduced to a mere mechanical, pneumatic exercise, a kind of emotionless act of masturbation with near anonymous and objectified partners.

Sex is very reminiscent today as practiced to pornography. Devoid of its function is an expression of intimacy, expression of love. Men and women alike no longer feel guilty or ashamed to engage in this largely meaningless, purely physical activity.

Add to these the ease of finding sexual partners online, the veritable supernova of growing abuse of all manner of substances, the tsunami of broken and abusive relationships, the virulent collapse of intergender communication, the dysfunctioning of social institutions, social atomization, isolation and anomie, especially nowadays, and the evaporation of inhibitory social and religious mores.

Put all these together and you get the perfect storm of everyone copulating with everyone recklessly and with utter disregard for consequences, medical consequences, moral, social, psychological, and what about the traumatic effects on loved ones, the hurt, the pain, intolerable pain sometimes?

No one cares.

But let's study the topic a bit more academically.

There are numerous myths about promiscuity.

Men find the female sex drive vaguely menacing. So men reserved this epithet, this curse word, to women.

They say about women that they are promiscuous. It's very rare to hear about a promiscuous man.

In the 19th century, they called them nymphomaniacs. But of course, there are many promiscuous men as well.

Promiscuity has little to do with the intensity and frequency of one's sexual urges. The potency or strength of the sex drive is actually poorly correlated with promiscuity, especially when it is associated with personality and mood disorders.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that histrionic women, seductive, flirtatious, well-dressed, provocative, ostentatious, histrionic women, the epitome of the falfatal, they regard actual sex as a bit of a chore.

Take borderlines. Borderlines are prone to promiscuity as a form of reckless behavior. Or when they act out, they decompensate, they disintegrate.

Poor impulse control is a part of the equation and one of the criteria of borderline personality disorder to this very day.

Or, for example, somatic narcissists. They are more calculated than borderlines. Their promiscuity is goal-oriented. They seek narcissistic supply by polarizing patients or promiscuous in the manic phase, etc.

So promiscuity is correlated with mental health disorders much more than it's correlated with a sex drive or its strength.

Promiscuity is intimately connected to teasing in women and in men. Driving a potential partner with insane or driving into destruction with desire, tantalizing potential partner with verbal, visual, and tactile implied promises and hints of sex, teasing.

We all know what it is. And then we're drawing abruptly and frustrating the unfortunate targets.

Promiscuity is a dysfunctional way to regulate a labile sense of self-worth and to restore one's self-esteem in the wake of a narcissistic injury, rejection, humiliation, being cheated on, and so on. It is exactly like rape.

Promiscuity is about power, not about sex. It is about reassuring oneself that one is still considered irresistibly desirable. And as they were wittled to frustrate and rage and hurt other people by withdrawing oneself.

So in a way, promiscuity is an approach avoidance repetition compulsion.

Promiscuity is also about thrills and risk in adrenaline junkies in psychopaths. We'll deal with that at length a bit later.

Promiscuity is therefore in a way situational. It's reactive. It is not a personality trait, but a learned coping strategy in the repertory of one's behaviors. It is compulsive, but has to be triggered by external events.

Promiscuous people go through long periods of strict monogamy or even abstinence celibacy. As long as they get their fix from their source of narcissistic supply from an intimate partner or spouse, they are tranquil. They are not promiscuous.

There are three types of promiscuity. There is frequency promiscuity, conditional contextual promiscuity and standards related promiscuity.

Let's start with the first one.

In frequency promiscuity, the quantity of partners and sexual encounters is statistically abnormal, very high.

But some criteria, some standards are maintained throughout with regards to mate selection, with regards to what little time is spent together.

There are some minimal emotions, for example, liking the partner, affection, feeling good in the partner's company, and there are behavioral choices.

So it's a much more controlled behavior, frequency promiscuity.

In standards promiscuity, the numbers of sexual liaisons and disparate partners, these numbers are not always high. But on the other hand, there are no thresholds or benchmarks as to the type of partner chosen or which behaviors are deemed unacceptable.

In other words, in standards promiscuity, anyone and anything go.

And finally, in conditional or contextual promiscuity, usually women reward with sex anyone, even a bad guy, who is nice to them. And when women say nice, they mean three things in combination.

He's attentive, he pays attention to them. He's protective, and he is possessive. He reacts to implied or explicit triagulation.

And so such a man who would be nice to them, and finds them irresistibly desirable, they find irresistible.

It is a meaningless transactional exchange actually.

Emotionless sex on the part of the woman is swapped for worn out pickup lines on the part of the man.

But when women are asked, why do this, they say, better have the wrong kind of attention, then no attention at all.

So these are women who are addicted to attention or vocal up colloquially attention boards.

The first type of promiscuity is not really casual sex. Frequency promiscuity involves getting to know the prospective sex partner, however superficially and cursorily.

The second type standards promiscuity is compulsive. It is intended to ameliorate anxiety and depression. And then it is egodystonic. Later, it creates shame and guilt. It could also be instead of compulsive, it could also be impulsive, reckless, emotionless, novelty seeking. And then it is egosyntonic.

Actually, the person feels good afterwards. So let's take case examples.

A heterosexual man with frequency promiscuous, trolls bars or swipes dating apps to pick up partners for casual sex. But he would be selective as to the physical type of the partner, her psychology and background. He would also not do drugs or get drunk senseless. He would not visit a brother. He would spend some time with a potential partner getting to know her better and making up his mind whether he wants to copulate with her or not. That is an example of frequency promiscuity.

And now standards promiscuity. A heterosexual woman who is standards promiscuous will rarely have a one night stand. But when she does have it, she will do it with anyone, anywhere at any time. She would also get drunk senseless, do drugs, go to strip clubs, let herself be groped in public or by multiple men and even in extreme cases, make herself available to gang banks and to video shoots and so on. In short, in standards promiscuity, there are no standards. There are no inhibitions. Let's regressive it.

In clinical practice, we are likely to come across a cluster of issues very frequently. These patients present with problems in psychosexuality, body image issues in extreme cases, somatoform or body dysmorphic disorders, grandiose narcissism without the associated alloplastic defense mechanisms. It's not my fault. It's your fault that I misbehaved.

Antisocial behaviors and ineffective dysfunctional and self-destructive strategies to cope with negative emotions such as boredom, frustration, narcissistic injuries, anger, envy and so on. And these strategies, which as I said, are ineffective and dysfunctional and self-destructive, they include substance abuse, but there are many more. We will discuss substance abuse and with an emphasis on alcoholism a bit later in this presentation.

But all these issues are interconnected. For example, boredom and frustration are emotions that trigger antisocial behaviors in certain people. Addictions are ultimately or intimately related to grandiosity.

Grandiosity compensates for inferiority and alloplastic defenses get rid of egodystonic emotions like shame and guilt. I shouldn't be ashamed. I shouldn't feel guilty. It was not my fault.

Inferiority manifests also via body image issues and rigid self-control, for example, of a latent promiscuity. Rigid self-control generates boundary issues and leads time and again to decompensation, being overwhelmed by emotions and to acting up.

So you see, there are numerous intricate connections within this complex.

Another thing that many promiscuous people have is paranoid ideation. It is common among people with pronounced fantastic grandiosity, which is a defense against a dysregulated, labile sense of self-worth and vanishingly low, self-esteem. Yet, counterintuitively, such people are much more prone to reckless behaviors involving strangers in dangerous situations.

So never mind how paranoid they are, they end up placing themselves in danger.

How can we reconcile this apparent conflict between psychodynamic paranoia and behavior risk-seeking?

Well, in such patients, their ideation is provoked by socially stressful situations, by emotional intimacy, by self-imputed inferiority, a challenge to grandiosity, or by risk of loss, a perceived disadvantage or weakness.

Paradoxically, therefore, such people, paranoids, would feel most threatened in the presence of their intimate partners and their nearest and dearest. But they would trust total strangers as safe, even in the most precarious, dangerous and reckless situations, for example, when they are totally drunk or in a hotel room, together, alone.

So there is a kind of shift in attachment, a kind of wrong attachment or attachment dysfunction where intimate partners are perceived as potential threats because they can cause pain.

And strangers, because they are meaningless and passing and transient, they don't have power over the paranoid person. So he's not or she's not paranoid. The threat perception of these people is not affected even when the stranger makes his nefarious intentions known, because there is no risk of intimacy or attachment involved. They are far more likely to end up having sex with a total unknown person than with someone they love, for instance. And the sex would often be unprotected and in compromising circumstances. These people are bound to shun and avoid all forms of intimacy with potential mates. And they would have a kind of sex aversion and they would compensate with instant for closeness or affection and promiscuity with strangers.

Similarly, people with these psychological defenses would trust even known criminals, bums, junkies, over their friends and loved ones, because they can feel equal or superior to these losers. And thus, their grandiosity is upheld and their self-esteem is restored by comparison.

You see how complex the background of promiscuity is. Promiscuity is just the tip of an iceberg. The iceberg is submerged and includes literally every known dysfunction.

People with paranoid ideation tend to suspect and fear anyone who has the perceived power to deny them something that they crave and depend on or to take it away from them. Because they are focused on highly specific potential losses, these people ignore the fact that strangers can sexually assault or even kill them. Such misjudgment and misperception of risk is enhanced by alcohol or drug abuse. And this is what we call alcohol myopia. We will discuss alcohol a bit later.

But before we get to alcohol, let's talk about the body.

The instrument of promiscuity is, of course, the human body. Promiscuous people use their body to communicate something.

And most of these people have a kind of body dysmorphia, body kind of misperception of their own bodies. I call it labile body dysmorphia or labile body dysmorphic disorder.

It's a phenomenon I come across in my practice more and more often. Women and fathers, often men, misjudge the shape of their bodies or parts of their anatomy. They see their bodies sometimes as flawed or defective and at other times as irresistibly perfect. They pendulate, they swing between these two misperceptions.

A client with labile body dysmorphia will point at herself and say, I could get any man I want. But minutes later, she would complain bitterly about how repulsive and deformed their bodies or had become in half, for example, how obesity is affect.

And this fluctuation between egodystonic self-loathing and egodystonic grandiosity, these are both facets of a severely impaired reality test.

The problem is that such pervasive ubiquitous delusionality often yields reckless and self-destructive behavior, disinhibition, substance abuse, eating disorders, and a severe impairment of impulse control.

The person afflicted with labile body dysmorphic disorder, such a person seeks to affirm her fantastically grandiose view of her body. And how best to do that? By proving how irresistible she is to herself. And how best to accomplish this? By sleeping around.

These risky choices often lend her in hot water, endanger her, and profoundly affect her relationships with nearest, dearest intimate partners and loved ones.

And of course, how can promiscuity be adequately described or tackled without mentioning narcissism?

Let's regress a little.

I attribute the rise of narcissism to urban overcrowding. The population bomb overpopulation. Our innate desire to be noticed by others, to be seen, at any cost to us, and even at the expense of others.

Narcissism is therefore the human equivalent of the behavioral sink in rats and mice.

What is the behavioral sink in rats and mice, you ask, which gives me an opportunity to take another look.

Ethology is the study of animal behavior.

And so the ethologist John B. Calhoun conducted experiments in the 1960s and 1970s on rats in what he called rat utopias. These were pens, rat pens, with optimal conditions for unfettered reproduction.

He reproduced his alarming results with mice later in his career.

As the number of rodents, rats, mice, as the number of rodents rose in their enclosures, he observed an explosion of social pathologies.

First and foremost among these pathologies was promiscuity, but also spontaneous miscarriages, cannibalism, maternal dysfunctions, schizoid withdrawal, or its opposite, gregariousness, compulsive and frenetic fraternizing.

And so everything went haywire and awry. The very fabric of social organization was frayed by overpopulation and overcrowding.

The rodents, rats and mice, developed what today would be called personality disorders within an anonomic society.

In his fantasies, the narcissist or psychopath is always in unmitigated control of the environment. The assemblages of bodies and limbs which populate his daydreams, his body included, are a minutely choreographed to yield maximum titillation.

The narcissist or the psychopath is like an exhibitionistic and voyeuristic porn director with an endless supply of well endowed actors and actresses either cowed into cop lines or craving it.

So naturally the narcissist's sexual fantasies are devoid of any performance anxiety or of the need to reciprocate in the sex act by pleasing his anonymous and robotic partners.

Such imaginarium invariably leads to acts of self-stimulation, the ultimate manifestations of autoeroticism.

Even when the narcissist incorporates his real life partners in his fantasies, he is bound to treat her as a mere prop, a body to masturbate with, in or on, an object to be defiled, contaminated in acts such as group sex, swinging, wife sharing or swapping or outright sexual deviance, examples urophilia or coprophilia, water sports, golden showers, etc.

And so this crude and overt denigration of the sexual partner serves to render her a slut or whore in the narcissist mind. It is the kind of woman with whom he can have lustful, emotion free sex.

He reserves love, involvement, cathexis, emotional investment and intimacy to sexless Madonna types. These are women who are sexually inaccessible or unattainable, kind of renditions of his own mother.

The somatic narcissist and psychopath's sexual promiscuity emerges from underlying problems in gender identity.

Many of these people are actually closet bisexuals, cross dresses and prone to paraphilias such as pedophilia, fetishism, sexual sadism and masochism. Some of these people try to act out their fantasies and to get their partners to assume roles commensurate with their propensities and predilections, or shall I say proclivities, however outlandish, illegal or extreme.

A useful test to tell apart healthy sexual fantasies from narcissistic ones is to pose the question, would you be equally satisfied having sex with a sophisticated inflatable robotic doll as with a flesh and blood partner? If the answer is yes, then in all likelihood we are dealing with a narcissist or a psychopath.

And yet these glimpses into the thwarted and the demented rarely go down well with their significant others.

The narcissist's self-exposure often elicits reactions of horror, repulsion and estrangement.

And so no wonder that most narcissists don't even bother to share their fantasies with their loved ones.

The cerebral narcissist merely retreats to sexual abstinence punctuated by compulsive porn-fueled masturbation. The somatic narcissist compulsively hunts for new feminine prey to sacrifice on the insatiable altar of his false self and this leads of course to promiscuity.

Another mental background for promiscuity involves dissociation.

We know today that about 1.5%, shocking 1.5% of the global population suffer from extreme dissociative conditions. Some of them even suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder, the new name or new label for multiple personality disorder.

Many narcissistic and psychopathic behaviors may actually reflect this lack of inner cohesion, this failed integration of identity and self, this discontinuity.

Let's take an even simple behavior like triangulation.

When people with dissociation are romantically rejected and abused, their dysregulated negative emotions overwhelm them. They begin to prepare the ground for switching to a protective altar, to another self-state. That other self-state is supposed to shield them from the pain of rejection and the humiliation of abuse.

And so it has to be a bit psychopathic and a bit sluttish, a bit antisocial and a bit of a bully has to be a strong person. Such spurned parties with dissociation scan for an alternative to the rejecting party and that is the hypervigilant phase.

They're looking for another person who would act as rescuer, savior, in the case of a man or a motherly, maternal-solving mother.

So let's repeat. When the person has dissociation and is rejected, another state of the self comes out, another, if you wish, alternative personality. And that self-state is highly psychopathic. And the first thing it does is look for an alternative, a rescuer, savior, if it's a woman looking for a man or a motherly figure if it's a man looking for another one.

Having spotted the candidate, the host, the core personality, signals its readiness for intimacy, including sex, by flirting, seduction. Once the signal is reciprocated, the host makes way for the protective alter to emerge. And the inevitable sex act usually involves dissociative amnesia as the promiscuity of verse, core, the host personality defends itself against dissonance.

The whole episode is sliced off and is later denied vehemently.

The alter, the alternative personality, the psychopath that comes out, remains out for as long as the triggers that cause the switching are on, for as long as the perceived humiliation, perceived abandonment, perceived abuse, perceived rejection are ongoing.

So you see, promiscuity can be the outcome of numerous psychopathological conditions.

I mentioned narcissism, mentioned psychopathy. I even mentioned emergent psychopathy in people with dissociation, a psychopathy that is kind of a self state that is protective.

But promiscuity can also be acquired or situational.

For instance, we know that people are much more promiscuous when they're travelling alone in a foreign place. People resort to either of two default behaviours or to both of them alternatively.

One of them I call the McDonald effect.

Finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, people default to old, well established, true and tested patterns of behavior, choices and brands.

This is exactly the allure of the likes of McDonald's or KFC. It's home away from home.

So if there's a person who at home pub crawls, bar hopes, visits museums, examples gourmet food, that person is likely to end up doing exactly the same when he's travelling abroad. That's a McDonald effect.

But there's another effect and that is the effect I call Roman holiday. Being away from home also means freedom from prying eyes, prurient neighbors, peer pressure and social control. It legitimizes the side of you that is inhibited or suppressed.

So it's very common when people travel abroad, when they are far away from home, they suddenly begin to drink. They become promiscuous. They have a fling. They cheat. They have one-night stands. They become antisocial. They even display petty criminal behavior. Aggression, racism, misogyny, misandry, xenophobia, adventurousness, shopaholism, recklessness, gambling or any number of behaviors that at home would be frowned upon and would carry a social cost. There would be social sanctions. It's an example of how a situation can induce promiscuity.

The environmental cues can induce promiscuity.

But of course, the ultimate in promiscuity is alcoholism or substance abuse. Substance abuse is intimately linked with promiscuous behaviors over decades. We have decades of some. Let's study especially alcoholism.

Because for some reason, psychoactive substances, for example, wheat, cocaine, don't really lead to promiscuity. But alcoholism almost always does.

Alcoholism serves several psychological purposes effectively. This is why alcoholism is so intractable, so untreatable, difficult to get rid of. It's why recidivism relapse is as high as 60% within the first year after rehab.

It's because alcohol works, fulfills and caters to numerous psychological needs. It's palliative. It helps the alcoholic to cope with dissonance, frustration, anxiety, anger, stress, sadness, panic and other negative emotions or mood disorders. It's restorative. It helps the alcoholic to restore his or her self-confidence and self-esteem also as a man or a woman, especially when coupled with a body image issue after rejection, after abuse. Alcohol helps to restore the person.

Alcohol is disinhibitory. It lowers inhibitions. It legitimizes narcissistic traits and behaviors like lack of empathy, extreme selfishness, sense of entitlement. It allows the alcoholic to express his or her repressed promiscuity and aggression. Traits that she or he finds egodystonic. Traits that she dislikes or finds denigrating or unacceptable in herself are legitimized by alcohol because alcohol removes the inhibitions that society and its agents inculcated in us. Alcohol renders the alcoholic much more sociable, grandiose and sociopathic. She or he becomes volubly defiant, hates authority figures, feels in control, recharged of others and of the situation, capable of anything she sets her mind to, irresistibly attractive, charming or charismatic and unfettered by rules or social mores.

The alcoholic I can do whatever the hell I want to, no one will tell me what to do and I don't really care about others.

It's a result of these cognitive and emotional changes.

The drunk person engages in reckless behaviours like protected sex with a stranger or compulsive shopping or compulsive gambling.

Alcohol is in a way instrumental because it allows the alcoholic to accomplish goals, to become goal-oriented and these were goals that she or he would never even try when sober.

It allows the alcoholic to reach over and to reach out to exceed his or her own self-perceived limitations, gives the alcoholic confidence.

Promiscuity and alcohol abuse are often linked and they are both now veritable pandemics excuse the pun among women of all ages.

The rates of cheating are now almost equal between men and women. Casual sex, hookups and wonder extends, is thus becoming the exclusive sexual practice among socially isolated females addicted to social media.

The picture is still much worse among men, don't misunderstand me, men invented all these but the gap is closing fast or reversing with some behaviours and lifestyle choices becoming more prevalent among women actually.

The drunk person during an alcohol-induced episode, even if there is a blackout and blackouts are very rare, much more rare than most alcoholics would ever believe, the drunk person is fully aware of what she's doing or what he's doing, who she's doing it with, whether what he's doing is wrong and if she is hurting loved ones with her or his promiscuity, immoral or antisocial or even criminal acts.

So it is not true to say that the alcoholic doesn't know what he or she is doing, fully, fully aware. During the entire episode she makes multiple choices and decisions based on rational analysis and emotional states. He or she is 100% in control and should be held and is held legally accountable for the misbehaviour.

Throughout the alcohol-induced episode of blackout, orientation, reasoning, a moral sense, short-term memory and decision-making are never impaired, they're all intact. The only thing affected rarely is long-term memory.

Next morning the recovering alcohol, some recovering alcoholics, have little or zero recall of what has happened during for example a brownout or a blackout. This is why it is very difficult to tell a drunk in a blackout state from a merely inebriated person or a social drinker. They appear to be fully present, fully cognizant throughout the blackout or the brownout. And the thing is, they are.

Mortal functions are affected. There is a tendency to repeat the same sentences over and over again.

But essentially, that's it. Everything else is in perfect functioning order.

Like narcissists, people wasted to the point of a blackout just don't care about anything or anyone but themselves.

Behavioural inhibitions are down. Remember, I'll call this inhibits.

Empathy towards one nearest and dearest is turned off or mysteriously redirected as strangers. A sense of invulnerability, invincibility, omnipotence and impunity sets in.

The drunkard experiences attraction or even infatuation with all and sundry. There's less discrimination. Standards collapse. And the high and the buzz of the drink compensate for any frustration, depression, stress or anxiety with a heightened sense of well-being and with aggression.

Of course, alcohol also affects the perceived attractiveness of other people. Ironically, alcohol being a depressant, all these effects are viciously reversed on sobering up.

People, especially women, get that drunk in order to feel better about themselves and their lives, legitimise their promiscuity and cheating and trash themselves in a bout of self-destruction and self-punishment.

They say the drink did it to me and I cannot remember a single thing. This is alcohol.

What about other transient states?

Victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, CPTs induced by interpersonal and relational abuse, are also prone to promiscuity, especially if they are sensitive to rejection.

Prolonged abuse in an intimate relationship changes some women, and more rarely men, and so profoundly alters their psychology and behavior. Prolonged abuse renders these men and women unrecognisable even to themselves, and this is called estrangement.

Having emerged from the black hole of a dysfunctional liaison, these broken, vulnerable people are transformed into the dark mirror images of their former selves.

Some would say that they are emulating their abuses. Having been faithful before, now they become sexually promiscuous. They avoid intimacy. They trust no one. They develop addictions, abuse alcohol or drugs, engage in a monopoly of reckless behaviors, generally self-destruct.

But why is that? Why this sudden shift?

Well, let's take a woman with a pre-existing mental health condition. She would tend to internalize the abuser's rejection of her, and the sentence that she pronounces upon her.

The abuser says, you're worthless, you're bad, you're slut, you're crazy, you're stupid, you're repellent, and she would in time accept this as the truth, and she would behave in ways that conform to her abuser's already internalized, introjected voice.

She would confirm the abuser's verdict.

Such congruence is intended to avoid dissonance and inner conflict. Abusers control their victims by rendering their lives meaningless and inconsequential. The prey adopts the abuser's point of view. You're nothing without me. You're unworthy trash, you're bad, you're sad, you're mad.

This kind of perpetual rejection and hurt often renders the abuser's judgement self-fulfilling prophecy.

CPTs dis-survivors are typically indistinguishable from patients with borderline personality disorder. They become impulsive, reckless, they abuse substances, they have mood lability, they have emotional dysregulation, and so inevitably they deteriorate and they begin to be promiscuous.

Exposed to the abuser's grinding and relentless devaluation, his so-called intimate partners and insignificant others resort to vengeful and demonstrative self-trashing. It is intended to hurt the perpetrator by debasing his property, often in humiliating public displays of infidelity and drunkenness, or by committing antisocial, and criminal acts.

With these self-destructive actions, the victim is protesting. She's saying, you my abuser, you say that my life is meaningless? I'm going to make myself meaningful to you via your pain, by harming you, by traumatizing you, by provoking you. You will never forget me.

Some people, men and women, enjoy sex only when they cheat on their spouses. It's another facet of abuse.

These people were molded in their formative years to associate pleasure and intimacy with risk, with deception, with adrenaline. These people are aroused by their own immorality or amorality, by their horrid promiscuity, by the chase, the mind games, the power plays, the compass.

So this is the abuser's promiscuity.

We have just described the victim's promiscuity, which is reactive, which tends to uphold the abuser's view of the victim.

But the abuser himself is very likely to engage in promiscuity as well, most psychopaths do, and many narcissists.

The less socially acceptable they act, the more illicit, the higher the degree of betrayal and self-debasement, the deeper the decadence and deviance, perversion and shock value, the greater the resulting carnal titillation.

And this type of compulsive behavior is a variety of role play.

Such people need a narrative, a story, a confabulation, a script, in order to get sexually aroused, to enjoy the encounter.

Their role, they assume, is that of a promiscuous and treacherous prostitute or whore monger.

But the very fact that they take on this personality is in a cinematic rendition.

This fact makes them feel removed and distant from their own misconduct, absorbed in a way.

It's like it was not me who did it. I was not myself. I felt unautopilot, dissociated, like an observer.

When these people ask why they behave the way they did, they typically shrug it off.

I don't know. I don't remember.

Ironically, it is exactly this kind of cheaters who are inordinately attached and bonded to their emotionally thwarted, masochistic, codependent, financially generous and enabling spouses.

To fully enjoy sex, they need to remain married. They need someone to cheat on and torment, someone to lie to, to betray repeatedly, and to blame for their misbehavior. They need what we call a persecretary object.

They fiercely defend their spouses and their families to anyone who would listen, and they make clear to their lovers and fuckbodies how temporary the arrangements with them are.

Some women, single and married, use male attention to regulate their sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem. When these are low, these attention whores become flirtatious, seductive. They tease, they trade sex for even the most inconsequential signs of attention. A chat, a compliment, small gifts, flowers, or a meal. Even if the attention they get is vulgar, demeaning, being broke, being fondled in public, or the targets of lewd, loud, explicit so-called compliments, they still prefer this to being ignored. As I said, bad or wrong kind of attention is better than no attention. Male attention in these women serves a few functions.

It reassures the woman of her irresistibility and attractiveness. A woman who is rejected, neglected, abandoned, and ignored by her intimate partner feels compelled to restore her badly eroded self-image. So she conducts, Paul, among other men, offering her body in exchange for an erectile affirmation, a vote of fluids that she is still desirable.

The second function is to reassert control and power of a man via her sex. When she does this, such a woman assuages her anxiety over their misogynistic hostility and aggression. She tames men with her body to feel safe. She wins the competition with them. This is one upmanship and brinkmanship.

Some women are adrenaline junkies. Illicit affairs, cheating, deception, risky and reckless behaviors or situations are all perceived as thrilling and breathless adventures, which alleviate the tedium of daily life. And many of these women sexualize frustration. They act out. Their impulse control is impaired. They use addictive sex and compulsive habitual cheating to avenge themselves.

And then there's the unsated hunger for intimacy and a semblance of emotion. And that is overpowering. A woman who lacks both intimacy and emotion will sometimes provide access to her body in return for even the fake versions of what she craves.

Some women break all boundaries in a feast of unbridled promiscuity. This is a form of masochistic self-punishment, self-annihilation and affirmations of the woman's, deeply ingrained sadistic introjects. Her inner critic, the voices, the superego, which inform her mercilessly that she is a whore, a bad object and unworthy of anything better than being pumped and dumped by multiple men.

And so there are two ways to regulate intimate relationships via intimacy or with romantic jealousy.

Mature partners achieve a workable balance between togetherness and personal autonomy. They engender intimacy via both communication and actions. Intimacy feels so good that no one in his right mind will exit such a bond.

Thus, both abandonment and separation anxiety and romantic jealousy are absent in healthy relationships. There is object permanence, object constancy. When one of the partners is a codependent, however, or a borderline, and the other one is a narcissist or a psychopath or a histrionic, these are common combinations.

In such couples, when both partners suffer from mood disorders, they cannot achieve, they cannot maintain even minimal intimacy. They don't have object permanence or constancy.

What they do instead, they mesh, they merge, they fuse. And this fusion fosters intolerable abandonment or separation anxiety. If you are one with your intimate partner and your intimate partner abandons you, it's like being amputated. The only way to regulate this anxiety is to make sure the partner doesn't jump ship. And this is done by provoking the partner's romantic jealousy, a reaction to anticipated loss.

Indiscrete extramarital affairs, flagrant, purposeful and promiscuity, ostentatious flirtatious or seductive behaviors with strangers, provocative speech or dress, and hints of impending breakup. These are all ways to provoke the partner into sitting up and paying attention, to raise the partner's value in her eyes, and to say to the partner, look, I'm desirable, look, I'm irresistible to other men or women.

The instigator of such triangulation wants her counterpart to set boundaries and to put his foot down as proof that he cares.

Alas, such behaviors precipitate exactly what they had been meant to prevent and have the exact opposite effect to the one intended.

These behaviors are because the partner anticipates loss because the partner is averse to pain.

But they combine to drive the injured party away. They actually guarantee loss and abandonment, separation. They guarantee pain.

And what about the psychopathic female? A psychopathic female and to a lesser extent narcissist of both genders. She creates a crazy making space, a vortex into which she sucks in ever increasing concentric circles, everyone around her. She abuses, she smears, she cheats with your best friends or colleagues or with spouses or such. She manipulates by flirting or by begging for pity and sympathy, casting men in rescuer roles.

The psychopathic female charms and beguiles, always the long-sought soulmate, a perfect resonance in feet, the other long-lost half. Her sex is fantasy in flesh. She's demure and shy or extroverted and histrionic. She somehow introduces even the most reluctant into her chaos without and within.

The role of the crazy making space is to provide an optimal environment for the expression of the psychopath's grandiosity and sadism as well as for the attainment of her goals, power in all its faults. This environment is a theater set, stage upon which she enacts her antisocial immorality, place with everyone in her life as props.

Without remorse, with not a hint of empathy, she mercilessly and relentlessly meets out just desserts, rewards and punishments. She acts mechanically, fearlessly, impulsively and with determination like an inexorable automaton, force of nature.

In a way, culturally conditioned as we are to regard all women as weak and ineffectual, well-meaning and maternal, the female psychopath is far more nefarious, pernicious, subterranean and dangerous than her male brother. She is subtle, passive-aggressive and surreptitious. She stealthily undermines the foundations rather than overtly bombard the citadel.

The male psychopath's thespian capacity is hampered by his narcissism. He feels humiliated by the very need to pretend, to act, to manipulate, to supplicate.

But the female of the species doesn't have this hindrance, doesn't have these inhibitions, her grandiosity is muted.

Before you know it, your life and health are gone, your mind is traumatized beyond repair, exposed, as you were, to the soft partritude of almost alien evil ready for it.

But what happens when a male narcissist targets a female psychopath?

More common than you know. What happens when he wants to convert a female psychopath into his source of secondary supply, also known as intimate part?

Well, the narcissist ends up being traumatized by such a woman. Why and how?

The psychopath challenges and obliterates the narcissist's grandiose self-perceptions and assumptions, especially his fantasy of being unique. The psychopath's promiscuity, risk-seeking reckless behaviors and addictions to novelty and thrills, adrenaline junkie, these render the narcissist just one of her many sexual compasses. She never gets emotionally attached to the narcissist, she never misses the narcissist. To her, the narcissist is just another notch in her belt, a mere casualty over a teasing power place with men. Roadkill. He is soon forgotten as she moves on, often by cheating on him, as she had done to all her previous men. He is a number, he is a statistic, but the narcissist believes in his unique ability to detect lying and he takes pride in his intelligence and resistance to being duped.

Still, narcissists are very gullible.

The psychopathic female uses their thirst for narcissistic supply, their addiction, to manipulate them. What she does, she feeds the narcissist with half-truths and outright lies. She tells the narcissist what the narcissist in her life, what they want to hear. She flattens them, she writes her own history to render them unique, and she deceives them repeatedly. She fakes everything from emotions to tears to orgasms. The narcissist gets taken in, time and again, always, invariably. And when he discovers the truth, his grandiosity is shattered. And finally, the narcissist holds himself to be irresistible.

But the psychopath is not interested in him. She is goal oriented. She wants his money, his contacts, his protection, his perceived something. She is a gold digger, social climber. She slips her way to the top.

When the narcissist finds out that he had merely been used as an instrument, he is wounded to the quick. And these narcissistic injuries often evolve into a form of ruminative obsession or stalking, as the narcissist tries in vain to integrate the painful experiences into his view of himself as godlike, omniscient, desirable.

A psychopath gives the narcissist a taste of his own medicine via her promiscuity, and it is bitter and sometimes threatens what is left of the narcissist's sanity and his life.

Promiscuity is a part of a much bigger phenomenon.

Women are newly emancipated slaves. They have been mistreated as chattel property by men since the agricultural and urban revolutions thousands of years ago. And they have been enslaved, and they have been misused and abused.

No one disputes this. And now they have rebelled, and not only have they rebelled, they had prevailed.

But a collective psychology, shaped over millennia, cannot be undone or modified within a few decades. Society and its agents, parents foremost, had brainwashed girls and inculcated in them rigid, stereotypical gender roles, replete with coping and survival strategies in a male-dominated world.

And so women were conditioned to make use of the surreptitious weapons of the weak. They were conditioned to manipulate, to undermine passive aggressively, to feign weakness, clinging, and codependent neediness, to extort economic benefits, often by triangulating or by getting pregnant. And having acquired civil rights and economic prowess, women lacked a credible behavioral social model to interject and follow. They, in other words, they didn't know what to do with all these newfound powers and rights.

Instead, women started to emulate and imitate male caricatures which comprise pronounced psychopathic features.

Disempathic machoism, promiscuity, defiant reactance, recklessness, infidelity, antisocial conduct, and substance abuse.

In a way, women are pathetically trying to be more men than men, among other things by being promiscuous.

In such abrupt discarding of traditional gender roles, in a unigender universe, this has led to gender vertical, gender alienation, gender dysphoria, misogyny, misandry, and a tsunami of autoroticism, masturbation with porn, incest, and homosexuality for instance.

A decline in births to below the replacement rate and the collapse of intergender communication in institutions such as family and marriage led to changes in behaviors.

And now we have much less dating, much more meaningless sex.

This followed ineluctably on these tectonic shifts in how men and women view each other, how they relate to each other, and how they reward and frankly punish each other.

Where are we headed from here? Is there any hope for intimacy for meaningless, meaningfulness in relationships?

I'm among the pessimists. I don't think these changes are either reversible or remarkable.

And the reason is that we are catering to the lowest most primitive needs, to what Freud called the ego's superego.

This is very intoxicating, very rewarding, and it creates operant conditioning. It's almost impossible to break this spell.

I wouldn't be surprised if we are all atomized to the point that we all live alone, totally self-sufficiently.

We use sex as the only mode of communication, and even then it's shallow and superficial, and gradually we replace it with holographic porn and sex dolls.

We have lost all incentive and motivation to be together as a cooperative species.

The recent pandemic is just highlighting what has been happening for at least four decades.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Why Do They Infuriate YOU? Promiscuity and Compulsive Sexting

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the reactions people have to narcissists and psychopaths, analyzing the phenomenon using concepts like life promiscuity and sexual promiscuity. He delves into the characteristics and behaviors of psychopaths, including their lack of insight, evasiveness, and lack of boundaries. He also explores the correlation between promiscuity and mental health disorders, as well as the impact of compulsive sexting. Additionally, he touches on the dynamics of intimate partner cheating and promiscuity in relation to schizoid cerebral narcissism.

Cuckolds, Swingers (Lifestyle), and Psychopathic Narcissists: Death of Intimacy?

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the psychodynamic background of psychopathic narcissism, the compromise of the malignant narcissist with their partner, and the psychology of cuckolds and swingers. He also explores the concept of intimacy and the prevalence of casual sex, swinging, and cuckoldry in modern society, and the impact of these practices on meaningful relationships.

Regretting Your Promiscuity? Do This!

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differences in social sexuality and how it relates to mental illness. People with unrestricted social sexuality, who can have sex with strangers without any problem, are typically subclinical psychopaths. However, there are people who sleep with strangers habitually but hold conservative values, leading to cognitive dissonance and egodystonic behavior. These people may spiral down into a state of alcoholism and self-trashing, but there are effective treatments available, such as dialectical behavior therapy and behavior modification techniques. Vaknin encourages people to seek help and not give up on life.

Casual Sex Q&A: The Fake Intimacy of Bodies

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the impact of casual sex and infidelity on romantic relationships. He explores the psychological and emotional implications of promiscuity, the changing dynamics of mate selection, and the rise of narcissistic and psychopathic behaviors in women. Vaknin also delves into the complexities of intimacy, gender roles, and the challenges of modern relationships. He concludes by examining the impact of mental illness on individuals' coping strategies and their ultimate relationship with death.

Contemporary Sexuality, Relationships in West - History

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the history of contemporary sexuality, from the 18th century to the present day. He highlights the shift in sexual attitudes and practices, the impact of technology and societal changes, and the current trend of avoiding relationships and embracing celibacy. Vaknin emphasizes the influence of historical periods on modern sexuality and the ongoing struggle to reconcile traditional and modern attitudes towards sex and relationships. He also encourages feedback and discussion on the topic.

Collapse Variants Of Somatic Narcissism, Wounded Borderline Self Trashing

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the mispronunciation of "ketamine" and delves into the topic of narcissism and sexuality. He explains the differences between cerebral and somatic narcissists, and how they transition between these states, often experiencing collapse. Additionally, he explores the behavior of borderline women in response to abandonment, and the connection between collapse and personality disorder transitions.

Reframing YOU in Narcissist's Shared Fantasy

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the suggestions he's received to change his name, but ultimately decides to remain Sam Vaknin. He then addresses questions about relationships with narcissists, one-night stands, and the psychology of young people, expressing concern about the emotional and mental health of today's youth. He also delves into the psychological dynamics of one-night stands, sexting behaviors, and the narcissist's perspective on a promiscuous partner.

Ukraine: From Invasion to PTSD (Newsweek, Part 1)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the psychological impact of the war in Ukraine, highlighting the fact that trauma is a systemic event that affects everything from an individual's ability to think and trust others to their ability to sleep. He notes that PTSD and complex trauma are both likely to be prevalent in Ukraine, with at least 3 million people expected to have PTSD and 25% of the population displaying post-traumatic effects. Vaknin suggests that a community approach to healing trauma is necessary, leveraging the resilience of those who were not affected by trauma to support those who were. He also proposes the creation of a Peace Corps of mental health experts from around the world to help Ukraine recover.

War as Narcissistic Fantasy (with Trisha Goddard on TALKTV)

Sam Vaknin discusses the dehumanization of the enemy in war, emphasizing the psychological defense mechanism of splitting and the role of war in creating a new order. He also delves into the language of war as a fantasy defense and its impact on perception of the enemy. Vaknin draws parallels between war and narcissistic behavior, highlighting the antisocial and psychopathic aspects of war.

How Trauma Breaks You Apart (Structural Dissociation in Cold Therapy)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the opening of a new YouTube channel and responds to a comment about a theory in psychology. He delves into the theory of structural dissociation and its application to trauma and personality disorders. He also discusses the interaction between the apparently normal part and the emotional part in the context of trauma and dissociation. He suggests that all personality disorders should be reconceived as post-traumatic conditions.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy