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Is Comparison the Thief of Joy? Sexual Narcissism and Social Comparisons in the Domain of Sexuality

8 February 2017

Publication Date
February 2017

Original Abstract
Are people who are high in sexual narcissism more sensitive to information comparing their sex lives with the sex lives of others? Does this sensitivity explain narcissists’ lower sexual and relationship satisfaction?

We conducted three studies to address this question. Participants completed the Sexual Narcissism Scale (Widman & McNulty, 2010), and then either recalled (Study 1), imagined (Study 2), or actually made (Study 3) a sexual comparison.

We found that people high in sexual narcissism (compared with those lower in sexual narcissism) were more bothered when comparing themselves with someone with a higher sexual frequency and felt better about a comparison with someone with a lower sexual frequency. In turn, narcissists’ greater sensitivity to upward social comparisons predicted lower sexual and relationship satisfaction.

These results suggest that those high in sexual narcissism may use downward sexual comparisons to maintain their grandiose self-views and be particularly sensitive to upward sexual comparisons.

C. Day, L., Muise, A. and A. Impett, E. (2017). Narcissisme sexuel et comparaisons sociales dans le domaine de la sexualité. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(2). DOI: 10. 1177/0146167216678862.

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sex, sexuality, sexology, french, romantic relation, personnality, narcissistic


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