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When You Are Their Sex Prop: Exhibitionism, Autoeroticism, Masochism

Uploaded 4/17/2021, approx. 16 minute read

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Today we are going to discuss what else? Sex on a Saturday morning.

So, my name is Sam Vaknin, I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Complete Descent, Narcissism Revisited, and I am a professor of psychology in a number of universities in many, many countries, all of them touched by COVID, but it's not my fault. I swear it wasn't me.

Okay. So today we are going to discuss auto-eroticism, exhibitionism, submissiveness in sex, especially BDSM, and what's the difference between submission in BDSM and self-trashing, which is a behavior typical of borderline personality disorder and psychopathy.

Psychopaths and borderlines, self-trashing, but self-trashing and submissiveness are not the same.

Additionally, there are issues of auto-eroticism, self-infatuation, and exhibitionism, which brings into the picture narcissism.

Narcissism is about being watched, being observed. You see, it's an amazing complex, merry-go-round.

Let us start.

Auto-eroticism is when someone regards himself or herself as her own sex object, regarding oneself as one's self-sex object.

Usually we direct our libido, our eros, our life force, our sex drive. We direct it at other people, and this is called, this is a part of object relations.

Our sexuality is other-directed.

But when there are disturbances in identity, problems with personality, mood lability, extreme emotional dysregulation, lack of core of identity.

In other words, when the person is mentally disturbed, when there are serious mental health problems, usually, instead of other-directed libido, there is self-directed libido, self-directed sex drive.

The person perceives her body and even more so her mind as very sexual objects, the sexual objects, the primary sexual objects.

And this is auto-eroticism.

Auto-eroticism is narcissistic, of course, because it is self-referential. It is a redirection of life's energy inwards. It is interacting with internal objects, including many internal sexual objects.

So it is part and parcel of narcissism.

All narcissists are auto-erotic. Even somatic narcissists are auto-erotic, as we will see a bit later.

And auto-eroticism often goes hand in hand with exhibitionism.

Exhibitionism is becoming sexually aroused by being observed or watched in the sex act. So exhibitionists become sexually excited and aroused when they are observed by other people having sex.

Another person's objectifying gaze gives them the thrills, thrills them sexually, arouses them sexually.

This objectifying gaze of the other, the observer, the spectator, the audience, this objectifying gaze is at the core of narcissism, actually, because what is narcissism?

Narcissism is about being seen, being observed, being spectated.

And so exhibitionism is actually a form of narcissism. It is the exhibitionist sees himself or herself through another person's gaze, through another person's eyes.

The exhibitionist objectifies herself by being observed, by being watched, by having an audience. And having objectified herself, she finds the resulting object extremely sexually arousing.

And of course, the more numerous the observers, the better. The more the merrier. The more numerous the observers, the more intense the sexual excitatory state.

So one observer is good. Four observers are much better.

This is why people with auto eroticism, the auto erotic, mainly narcissists, and especially psychopaths, these people gravitate almost invariably and ineluctably gravitate to group sex, usually with total strangers.

And they do so even in early adolescence. The earliest case I've heard of was 12 years old, a girl, 12 years old, who had group sex with a group of men she had met that day.

So auto eroticism leads to group sex via the pathway of exhibitionism.

The nascent psychopath usually at this early age of adolescence, it's called conduct disorder. It's not called psychopathy, it's called contact disorder.

So the adolescent with contact disorder, the sexuality of that adolescent is founded on auto eroticism and exhibitionism.

And this adolescent needs to be watched, spectated and observed while having sex. This kind of adolescent and later adult, adult pick ups, picks up total strangers and has sex in front of them with one of them or all of them in succession. They take turns.

The auto erotic objectify not only themselves, but they of course objectify also the partner. They use the partner, they use the partner's body as a sex toy to masturbate with. The partner is a masturbatory aid. The partner is therefore objectified and becomes anonymous, impersonal, commodified, commoditized, interchangeable, dispensable, disposable and replaceable. These are the words which describe the psychopaths or the narcissists, so-called intimate sexual partner.

There's no intimacy there. There's not even, there is no sex even. This is not a sexual activity. This is masturbation with another person's body and whose body it is besides the point. And so the partner's identity is utterly, utterly incidental. The partner could be an anonymous stranger and counted only minutes or a few hours before the act. It doesn't matter who the partner is. The partner is a prop in a theater, auto erotic theater production. He's a prop like on a theater stage, a table, a chair, a lamp. So it doesn't matter if the partner is a long-term partner, an intimate partner so-called, or a total stranger that you've met in the bar minutes ago. The identity of the partner is besides the point.

Casual sex is the autoerotics staple day-to-day activity.

And in his committed relationships, he is sometimes sexless. Sex with an autoerotic person is an eerie and creepy sensation. It is disembodied. It's mechanical, non-reciprocated, infantile. It's lonely. Usually the autoerotic person avoids eye contact and is so self-focused, so, so in himself and with himself that it's like he's absent. The autoerotic partner focus exclusively on their bodies and their self-gratification to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. It's like they're all alone in bed and you just happen to be there as an operation or as an animated dildo or animated sex doll.

So, the intimate partners of the autoerotic invariably develop sex aversion to the autoerotic partner because the sex sucks. The autoerotic's solipsistic self-focus, defiance, and oblivion to the partner is also a form of narcissistic injury. If the partner of the autoerotic person is a narcissist, if the partner of the autoerotic person is also a psychopath, in other words, if we have two narcissists or two psychopaths, both of them autoerotic, both of them grandiose, the autoeroticism of the partner triggers aggression because it's a narcissistic injury. It's like the partner, the autoerotic partner broadcasts, you are not special, you're not unique, you are not who you think you are.

So, autoeroticism deflates grandiosity, countervines grandiosity, it's a challenge.

In extreme cases, autoeroticism can modify the narcissist. It definitely provokes the psychopath into rage, extreme aggression, verbalized, or even physical.

Autoeroticism is a trigger to narcissists and psychopaths because it casts them as just one of many.

The autoerotic partner says you just happen to be there, it's a coincidence, it's an accident, you're not here because you were chosen, especially, but you're here because I needed something, I needed someone, I needed a sex toy, you were just handy, you just happened to be there, I had a need, you just happened to be there.

Paradoxically, precisely because the partner of the autoerotic person is a mere, generic, undifferentiated prop, precisely because of this. As long as the autoerotic person's needs are catered to within the relationship, the autoerotic rarely cheats on their mates.

I want to explain this. The autoerotic person doesn't care who is there to serve as the sex toy. The autoerotic person doesn't care who is the prop. The autoerotic person doesn't care who is the partner. He doesn't care about the identity of the partner. He is not emotionally attached to the partner. He doesn't care if the partner is a 10-year-old partner or if the partner is a 10-minute partner whom he just met.

So it doesn't matter who is the partner. The partner's identity, personality, preferences, wishes, character, all this is utterly irrelevant to the autoerotic sex act because the autoerotic sex act is making love to oneself, not to anyone else. It's a form of glorified masturbation with another person's body.

And precisely because the partner is a generic undifferentiated prop, as long as the autoerotic partner's needs are catered to within the relationship, there's no reason for the autoerotic to cheat on his partner.

Because what doesn't matter? Any sexual partner is as good as any other, so why bother to replace them?

The autoerotic person makes love to himself and because he makes love to himself, he doesn't truly care who is in bed with him. So he has no incentive to cheat. It's irrelevant who is in bed with him.

So cheating is actually low when the autoerotic person is in a committed relationship and when the sexual needs of the autoerotic person are met adequately, cheating is extremely rare.

Some autoerotic people are masochistic, so it's a rarer combination, more rare for to have an autoerotic person who is also masochistic because autoerotic people are narcissists and psychopaths. But it is not as rare as you would think. I would guess that about one third of narcissists are actually masochists, definitely sexual masochists.

So if the autoerotic is, but it's a guess, there are no studies. That's from anecdotes and my database.

If the autoerotic person is masochistic, his or her on-the-fly sex involves extreme self trashing. So the masochistic autoerotic person self-trashes sexually, despoils herself, degrades herself. And she accomplishes this in a variety of ways. She may have sex with unwanted partners, sex she doesn't want to have with unwanted partners. And it is precisely because they are unwanted that she enjoys the sex. This is the irony here.

Self-trashing is about feeling good when you're feeling bad. Having unwanted sex with an unwanted partner, that's almost rape or self-rape. That's feeling really, really bad. That leaves a bad taste afterwards, if not regret and shame, which are rare among autoerotic people, but a bad taste, definitely.

And it is this exactly which sexually arouses and excites the autoerotic masochistic person, because it's a way of self-punishing, it's self-punitive. It's an infliction of some kind of damage or disgust on herself by sleeping with someone she doesn't want to sleep with.

Similarly, having sex with little-known people, people she doesn't know, or having sex with inappropriate partners, way too old, for example.

So all this selection of wrong partners, this is a form of self-trashing.

Make selection that is compromised, make selection that wrongs to blatantly be. Wrong partners is a form of self-trashing.

Similarly, the masochistic self-trashing autoerotic person would tend to pick up sex and to initiate sex or to be responsive to sex in degrading circumstances or in demeaning, debasing environments. She would go to places, dives, joints, with a very bad reputation, where she's likely to be picked up by scum or low-life people.

The circumstances, the environment, with its horrendous reputation that precedes it, this in itself is a form of self-trashing. So you would find qualified professionals, pillars of the community, decent men and women, come night, go frequent and attend these haunts and joints just to pick up low-life scum, criminals, junkies, alcoholics, and then go immediately to bed with them in a sleazy fleabag motel off the road, off the highway.

Go to bed with them within a minute or within two hours after a glass of wine.

So this is a way to self-trash.

Less commonly, cheating, although rare among autoerotic people, when it does happen, it is a form of self-trashing. It's a form of self-trashing because when the autoerotic masochistic person cheats, she sustains buttresses, enhances her self-perception as I'm a bad and worthy object here. I'm cheating. I'm really bad. And of course, feeling really bad makes her feel really good, or at least really sexually aroused.

Similarly, celibacy. Celibacy is a form of self-trashing, not acting on one's sex drive, suppressing it, repressing it, torturing oneself by not having sex. It's the same purpose. It's a self-destructive technique. It's a self-destructive strategy.

Extreme celibacy and abstaining in the face of temptations and seductions and opportunities. This is a form of self-trashing, actually.

And again, the sentence is, I'm a bad object, unworthy of sex. I should punish myself.

So you see a variety of behaviors, sex with complete strangers, sex with unwanted partners, sex with inappropriate partners, sex with total strangers, sex in degrading circumstances, sex in disreputable environments, cheating when it's not called for, celibacy.

All these are actually forms of self-trashing and they characterize, they comprise the spectrum of self-trashing behaviors of the autoerotic person.

The self-trashing autoerotic person abuses substances and drinks becomes alcoholic or abuses alcohol, does drugs. The abuse of substances is with the aim of disinhibiting herself, removing social injunctions and social inhibitions, which all of us interiorize, internalize in the process of socialization during childhood, to remove these social inhibitions, to behave in socially inappropriate ways, shamefully, so to speak, disgracefully, degradingly, to despoil herself. She needs to remove these inhibitions and she uses alcohol and drugs.

Similarly, some autoerotic people drink to excess to the point of unconsciousness or blackout, because they want to numb themselves to their own socially unacceptable misconduct and some kind of unconscious egotistiny, discomfort with what they're doing. They don't want to experience discomfort and shame and social sanctioning and opprobrium, so they numb themselves. They simply anasthesize themselves with drugs and alcohol.

We said that all this, everything I've described until now is characteristic of narcissists and psychopaths, not of course of the general population.

Narcissists and psychopaths are an imitative surface only. There's only the surface. There's only the shell. There is no depth. There's just an empty schizoid core where a person should have been.

You could say that narcissists and psychopaths are carbon-based artificial intelligence simulations. Glitchy, by the way, if I may add. It's surface only.

When you try to probe deeper into the narcissist and psychopath, when you try to talk about emotions, when you try to have them commit to you or promise something, you come across a brick wall. There's no way to have any meaningful conversational dialogue with a narcissist and psychopath, except when it is imitative mimicry, a form of mimicry. There's nothing there. It's not that the narcissist and psychopath are hiding their emotions. When they have negative emotions, they're very vulnerable about it. It's just nothing there.

As Harvey Cletley noted in his amazing masterpiece, already in 1942, The Mask of Sanity, Harvey Cletley said that these mutations, these mutants, prefer sexual self-trashing to normal sex. They even prefer sexual self-trashing to mainstream sexual trashing, known as BDSM.

You see, there's a big difference between sexual self-trashing and self-trashing and BDSM, or bondage, sadomasochism practices.

In other words, there's a huge difference between being a self-trasher and being a sub, a sub or a bottom in BDSM relationships.

Sexual self-trashing. I mean, listen, listen to the phrase self-trashing. In other words, self-trashing is defiant. It's reckless. It is assertive.

The self-trasher is in control. She does the thrashing. It involves self-efficacious agency, even when it is egodystonic. The self-trasher is in utter control of the situation. She will never succumb or submit to anyone.

On the very contrary, she is in all likelihood psychopathic and therefore defiant and would devalue anyone who attempts to take over her, to dictate to her, like a typical dom or dominant partner would do in BDSM.

By contradistinction, sexual trashing by other people, in other words, someone who is submissive, someone who is a bottom, and he wants or she wants other people to trash her.

Trashing by other people. That's an entirely different animal.

Self-trashing by others, also known as being sub or being submissive or being bottom. It's a different issue because it's a self-annihilating role. It involves total objectification and ritualized helplessness.

The sub suspends her will. The will of the dom, her partner, the dominant partner, the will of the dom replaces her own will. She is immediately and totally obedient to all his whims, demands, and commands.

No self-trashing, autoerotic person would accept the role of a submissive because they are in control. They are defiant. They are calling the shots. They are picking the partners. In most cases, they even tell the partners what to do during the sex. They instruct the partners on how to trash them. They co-operate the partners. They collaborate with the partners in the act of self-degradation and self-dispoiling. They teach the partners how to humiliate them, how to torture them physically and mentally.

But they are the teachers. They are the ones with the agenda. They know what they want done and they insist on it. And they become aggressive and defiant when they are denied.

No submissive behaves this way. The sub is at total and immediate disposal of the dom anytime, day and night. Sexually and otherwise, by the way, also psychologically. She becomes an extension of him, a tool, a mindless instrument. She becomes his or, so to speak.

Self-trashes and subs are easily mistaken for each other. Narcissists and psychopaths comprise the majority of self-trashing people. They can never enjoy being submissive. Narcissists and psychopaths can never be subs. They can never be bottom. They can never be even a bottom as acoustic sub.

Narcissists and psychopaths need to control. They need to defy. They need to punish transgressions. Narcissists and psychopaths self-trash to gratify their masochism, but they self-trash. They own the process. They direct the process.

Narcissists and psychopaths view the world, sex included, as a zero-sum game, winners and losers at any given moment.

And to be submissive is to lose the game. No narcissist and psychopath will accept this.

That's why they self-trash rather than let others trash them submissively.

When narcissists and psychopaths regard themselves as inferior to someone, when they regard themselves as superior to a potential sex partner, they gravitate impulsively towards self-trashing casual sex.

When the possible mate is perceived as equal, an equal peer, narcissists and psychopaths decline to have a one-night stand actually, and instead insist on grooming, love bombing and the ensuing shared fantasy.

As narcissism and antisocial traits and behaviors become more normative, more widespread in the general population, sexual self-trashing is rendered a common practice, at least in the forms of meaningless and emotionless sex and flagrant serial cheating.

Yes, you heard me right. So-called meaningless emotionless sex is self-trashing. Watch my video about the meaningfulness of casual sex. That's a form of self-trashing.

When you engage in meaningless emotionless sex with a total stranger or almost total relative stranger, you're self-trashing. And when you cheat flagrantly or stentaciously, serially, you are self-trashing.

You are upholding your view of yourself as a bad and worthy object. And all these actions, choices, preferences, sometimes intrusive dreams, definitely fantasy life, self-trashing, fantasy life, all these are common to narcissists and psychopaths.

They self-trash when they are masochistic, they ignore you when they are not masochistic. When they are not masochistic, they are totally auto-erotic and you exist as a prop. When they are masochistic, you're a bit more than a prop, but not much because they tell you what to do in sex and they instruct you on how to despoil and humiliate and degrade them during the sex if they are masochistic.

I hope I injected some clarity into this very misunderstood and fraught topic.

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