You may be wondering, do narcissists like to cuddle and be touched? It’s easy to assume that they do since many of them are incredibly flirty, vain and all loved-up with themselves that they must desire physical touch. As with every person, no two humans are the same and what they do and don’t like will vary.
However one thing is for sure, if narcissists do like to cuddle, you can bet your life savings that it’s not for the same reason that you may enjoy a cuddle. What narcissists really enjoy are the benefits that cuddling brings to them. Whether it be the ability to manipulate their partner or to gain supply for themselves.
The outcome of there being something in it for themselves is always the game.
Let’s delve deeper into the question, do narcissists like to cuddle and be touched?
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Health Benefits of Cuddling
As human beings we are inherently built to share and experience human connection. Along with that comes physical touching, which brings with it many health benefits.
Cuddling Reduces Stress
When you cuddle someone you care for, a hormone called oxytocin is released into your body. Oxytocin helps to make you feel calm, which can help in stressful situations and aid in drifting off into a blissful sleep at night.
Cuddling is known to lower cortisol, which is a ‘stress’ hormone, plus it can also lower your blood pressure, both of which will help you to relax.
Cuddling Can Reduce Pain
Interestingly, oxytocin being released throughout our body can in fact block pain signals, making it a natural pain reliever. So, when you cuddle a child who’s hurt, you are in fact helping them to naturally lower the pain in their body.
The same goes for cuddling a partner who’s in any type of pain, whether that be emotional or physical. Wrapping yourselves up in each others arms will help to relax the other person and reduce any feelings of pain.
Cuddling Creates Connection
Apparently couples who enjoy kissing and cuddling more often tend to be happier, healthier and much more connected to their partner. This is because they have a lot more of that ‘love’ hormone oxytocin running through their systems.
Cuddling creates connection and closeness, which can lead to feelings of safety, trust and offer the ability to open up and be vulnerable with your partner.
If you want to boost closeness in a relationship, increase the cuddling, because that’s where the true intimacy lies.
Cuddling Boosts Your Immune System
Not only does cuddling release oxytocin, the ‘relaxing’ hormone, but it also releases serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone. Those two hormones work well together in boosting your immune system.
Studies have shown that people who hug more often are less likely to get a cold after being exposed to the virus and those who did get sick presented less symptoms.
Do Narcissists Like to Cuddle?
Now that we’ve got some understanding behind why humans are drawn to cuddling each other, let’s see how that same information works for and against narcissism.
The first phase that everyone gets to experience with a narcissist (to varying degrees) is the Idealisation/ Love Bombing phase.
During the love bombing with a new narc partner, you can expect to be showered in gifts, attention, kisses, cuddles and lots of touching. Of course you can be forgiven for thinking that even after the honeymoon phase comes to an end, you can still look forward to giving and receiving affection from this person throughout the relationship.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with a narcissist.
With the click of a finger, something will happen (whether you’re aware of it or not), which will change everything. Maybe you say or do something to make the narc realise that you’re not able to live up to their unrealistic expectations after all. Or maybe something gets triggered within them, which causes a narcissistic injury.
Either way, once that switch gets flicked, the narcissist will start to devalue you, put you down or do things that make you wonder where that initial ‘loving’ person has gone.
This is where you’ll begin to see glimpses of the real person behind their fake facade. And, you’ll start to get a taste of whether the narcissist genuinely likes to cuddle and be touched, or if it was all for show.
There’s something incredibly intimate and tender about cuddling and touching a partner. Sometimes it can lead to sex and other times it’s just about enjoying the feeling of that close bond that you both share.
But… do narcissists like to cuddle for intimacy?
Narcissists will do anything to avoid having to actually feel anything real. It’s not because they can’t, but because that puts them at risk of being vulnerable and ultimately being exposed.
You see, when the narc was young, they suffered some type of childhood trauma, which instinctively taught them that to feel anything was just not safe.
So, they subconsciously decided to sever the connection to their True Self, which is the part of us that makes us authentically human. It’s the True Self which gives us the ability to feel empathy, compassion and to be truly vulnerable.
Without that piece of themselves, they are now only left with their Ego driving the vehicle, which had to create an entire False Self just to protect itself and survive.
The last thing the ego wants is intimacy because that involves letting go of what people think of them and the illusion it has of needing to be ‘perfect.’ It’s a huge risk, which the ego is not willing to take.
Intimacy = vulnerability, which a narcissist must avoid at all costs to protect its False Self.
We’ve all seen the romantic movies where the main character goes up behind their partner and embraces them in the most warm and affectionate cuddle.
Do narcissists like to cuddle as a form of affection?
Unfortunately, affectionate cuddling is a rare if not completely absent occurrence in a relationship with a narcissist.
Why is it that they do not have the ability to show such tenderness in the form of cuddles?
To be brutally honest, it’s because they don’t actually feel such care and affection for you. Despite how well they play their role of pretending to care and no matter how hard they love bombed, they simply do not care about you.
In fact, in their world, you are beneath them. So, why would someone who thinks they’re above you offer genuine affection towards you?
I know it’s a devastating pill to swallow. I’ll never forget the moment I realised my narc husband of two decades had never actually loved me. It truly was soul-crushing.
Narcissists are all about themselves and themselves only. They are so disconnected to true human authenticity that they do not have the ability to genuinely care for someone else.
Any affection that they show is merely a means to an end. Nothing comes for free with a narcissist.
You can guarantee that if your narcissistic partner is cuddling you with feigned affection, it’s because they want something.
Narcissists only give with the expectation of receiving something in return.
Some narcissists love to receive hugs because it grants them validation in the form of admiration and adoration.
Do narcissists like to cuddle for validation?
Narcissists truly do think they are gods who deserve to be idolised and for some types of narcissists, that certainly doesn’t stop at their bodies.
Grandiose narcissists in particular are extremely focussed on their image and physical appearance. They feel as though their bodies are perfection and should be worshipped by those around them.
They will expect constant praise for how they look and regular touch and cuddles from their partner to further validate their physical perfection.
But this is a one-way deal for the narc. Just so you’re clear, you are expected to shower them with touch and cuddles, but do not expect anything in return.
You will be left wondering why they show you no affection when you’re regularly propping them up with validation and attention.
The narcissist is a god who should be constantly worshipped, but do not expect it to be reciprocated.
The only reason why a narcissist will cuddle is to get something out of it for themselves. It’s the only reason a narcissist ever does anything.
They may cuddle because they know you like it and they want something from you – sex, money, supply, validation, material items.
They may offer a cuddle after they’ve just gaslit you or devalued you as a fake apology. This makes you think that they are remorseful or sorry for what they did. But in actual fact, they neither feel remorse nor are they sorry in any way. The cuddle is simply a way to pacify you, so that you’ll continue to stay in their cycle of abuse.
Narcissistic parents and grandparents will expect and coerce hugs out of their children and grandchildren because they want that all-loving energy from the kids. In simple terms, kids are an excellent source of narcissistic supply because they easily hand over validation to the narcissist, without the narc having to have done anything special to deserve it.
Why do Narcissists use Cuddles to Manipulate?
- Can lead to sex
- As a way to avoid accountability for their abuse
- A random intermittent ‘reward’ to keep you on your toes
- To hook you in and make you feel safe
- To hoover you back in after a devaluation and discard
- To gain supply for themselves
- To boost their ego in the form of admiration
- To control you and hold the power in their hands
Manipulation is the narcissist’s code.
If the narcissist knows that you are craving cuddles and affection, they can withhold touch from you as a punishment and then offer it out to you as an intermittent ‘reward.’
That early love bombing phase was not just about making you feel all special so that they could hook you in. It was also largely about gaining your trust very quickly so that you’d open up to them and share all of your deepest fears, hopes, dreams and desires.
Why do narcissists like to cuddle for power?
Because now they know whether or not they can dangle ‘physical touch’ in front of you like a carrot or withhold it from you as a disciplinary measure.
Sound abusive? It sure is.
The cuddles will be completely sporadic, meaning that you will never know when or if you’re going to get one. The narcissist may randomly give you a cuddle seemingly out of the blue, for no reason at all.
Then when you’re experiencing a moment of stress or sadness, they will withhold any signs of affection from you.
This intermittent behaviour keeps them in the power position because you are left never knowing when you’ll receive the love and affection that you’re so craving. The instability keeps you in a state of anxiety, walking on eggshells and wanting to always please and appease the narcissist.
You’re now in survival mode, trying not to rock the boat and hoping that you’ll receive the relief the narcissist has primed you to believe can only come from them.
Narcissists need to be constantly moving the pieces on the chessboard to make themselves feel powerful.
Why Do Narcissists NOT Like to Cuddle?
Okay, so we’ve talked about why narcissists do like to cuddle, which is inevitably for whatever it is that they can gain from the embrace. Now let’s look at the reasons why narcissists do not like to cuddle.
Why do Narcissists NOT Like to Cuddle?
- Avoidance of intimacy
- Fear of vulnerability as it might expose their wounds
- Don’t want to hand power over to someone else
- Inability to empathise towards their partner’s needs
- Think they’re above their partner
- Have no interest in physical contact unless it leads to sex
- Don’t feel genuine affection towards anyone else
Types of Narcissism and Touch
Experts in the field have grouped all narcissists into a few different categories to help classify how their narcissism is predominantly showcased when it comes to touch. A narcissist can display one or more of the following traits.
For the somatic narcissist, touch equals validation in their world. They are overly obsessed with how they look and will actively spend ridiculous hours at the gym and an unlimited amount of money on keeping up their youthful appearance.
They will flaunt their body and their looks and expect those around them to idolise their bodies just as much as they do.
The biggest fear for a Somatic Narcissist is being ugly.
Somatic Narcissists – touch is a huge form of validation and supply
The basic premise of a sexual narcissist is that they feel entitled to sex, regardless of what the other partner wants or feels.
For sexual narcissists, they gain supply through their sexual prowess. It’s a thrilling conquest for them, which makes them feel powerful and validated.
Since cuddling is an essential part of the seduction process, a sexual narcissist can seem very into touch and cuddling when it suits them. But that’s not because they love cuddling, it’s just basically the gateway to winning you over for sex.
It’s all about the prize and supply they garner from sex through their powerful manipulations, coercing you into allowing them to be the puppet master.
While not every narc is a sexual narcissist, every sexual narc is narcissistic.
Traits of a Sexual Narcissist:
- Believe they’re entitled to sex whenever they want it, no matter what is going on in their partner’s life
- See sex as ‘payment’ for gifts or favours
- Will manipulate their partner into having sex
- Selfish in bed
- Need lots of validation and praise for their performance
- Think their sexual skills are superior
- Invalidate their partner physically and sexually
- Continuously push through their partner’s sexual boundaries
- Can’t stand the idea that others are having more or better sex than them
Sexual Narcissists – touch leads to sex, which brings power and narcissistic supply
A cerebral narcissist values intellectual abilities and the mind above all else. They gain validation through work, awards and intellectual achievements, which puff up their ego.
As such, they see touching and cuddling as unnecessary. It’s a weakness, which disgusts them and they are quite simply above all of that nonsense.
If their partner shows any desire for closeness or physical touch, they will shame them (making them feel promiscuous), or tell them that they’re too needy.
The only time where they see sex as something of interest is when it comes time to use it for its purpose – making a baby. Even then, they’ll put more time and energy into following the ovulation calendar than they will on being tender with their partner. Then once the deed is done, so is sex in the relationship.
When it comes to relieving any sexual tension they may feel, they’d much rather sort themselves out than share in any intimacy with their partner.
A relationship with a cerebral narcissist is an extremely lonely place to be.
Cerebral Narcissists – touch is immature, needy and unnecessary
Malignant narcissists are sadistic creatures who actually get off on hurting others. In fact, physical and emotional abuse is their game and it’s how they receive narcissistic supply.
They need to control every aspect of their partners life and even work to control their very thoughts and feelings.
As a part of their extreme control, they may use cuddling and touching as a way of showing their partner who’s boss. They typically don’t enjoy cuddling or touching because that’s just way too vulnerable for them.
A malignant narcissist may be physically and sexually abusive.
Malignant Narcissists – touch is about control, but it must always be on their terms
Do Narcissists Like to be Touched?
It’s easy to see that like with any human being, narcissists can be widely different from each other. Some love being touched because it grants them supply and validation that they’re ‘special and important.’ For others, touching is unnecessary unless it leads to sex or they can use it to manipulate a situation for their own gain.
Do Narcissists Hold Hands?
I personally know one narcissist who needs to hold her husbands hand whenever they go anywhere. Why? Because she’s an incredibly insecure covert narcissist who sees her husband as her much-needed security blanket. She can’t do anything autonomously for herself, therefore she needs the security of knowing he’s there at all times.
Ultimately, she’s highly overweight, offers nothing and is high maintenance. She knows that without him, she’s screwed. So, to keep him in place, she belittles him to make him feel too worthless to leave her. It’s incredibly sad, but his own insecurities are playing out to keep him stuck in the relationship.
On the other hand, my own narcissistic ex never held hands with me. His excuse was that he was too tall, so it was too difficult. In fact, not only did he not hold hands, but he actively always walked ahead of me whenever we were out and about.
Narcissists are known for walking ahead of their partners because it’s another way to assert their ‘king,’ ‘queen’ or ‘Godly’ dominance.
Basically, narcissists will only hold your hand for a few main reasons:
- Power & control
- Dominance & ownership
Do Narcissists Enjoy Kissing?
In the first phase of any narcissistic relationship, kissing will be a big thing. They are working hard to get to know your weaknesses, gain your trust, plus hook you in.
They will kiss you a lot because it gives them an overload of narcissistic supply in the form of adoration and validation going from you to them. They love that YOU love THEM. Although it may seem like the feelings are mutual, they are most definitely not.
- Grants the narcissist supply
- Makes you fall for them quicker
- Bonds and attaches you to them
- Increases sex drive
- Makes you feel safe and willing to be vulnerable with them
Kissing also helps to relax you, which enables you to feel safe, open up to them further and probably have sex really quickly.
Once that love bombing phase quickly fades out and is replaced with devaluations, the kissing will come to an end. You’ll notice that it’s you putting in all the effort to instigate affection and snogging, not them.
Ultimately, kissing is an intimate act, which narcissists don’t like to take part in. Being vulnerable means they are at risk of being unmasked, which they will avoid to the death!
They will kiss to gain whatever it is that they want, but beyond that they will not hand their power over via kissing.
Narcissists and Sex
As we’ve explored, sex for narcissists is not always cookie cutter. Some narcissists use sex to gain supply and power for themselves, while others use it purely for control.
On the other hand, some narcissists do not feel the need to engage in sexual intercourse with their partner unless there’s something in it for them. I know of one particular narcissist who puts pillows down the middle of the bed so that their partner doesn’t touch them.
For many narcissists, sex is something that can be withheld for manipulation purposes, or they expect to engage in it whenever they want because it’s only about them.
This can even involve being unfaithful to their partner… because well, they’re superior, therefore they’re entitled to whatever they want, whenever they want it.
My Own Experience with Narcissists and Cuddling
Let’s take this right back to my childhood and being raised by a narcissistic mother. I can remember as a child my mum saying to me…
“What’s wrong with you, why don’t you hug me anymore? You used to hug me all the time.”
Apparently I was a very affectionate toddler, however I have no memory of that. Why? Because I’d shut down very early on and didn’t feel emotionally safe around my mother. But, she still wanted me to be hugging her, because that would have granted her attention, admiration and narcissistic supply.
Moving on to my adult life with a narcissistic partner of twenty odd years, I do remember being very affectionate and cuddly with him in the beginning. But, in hindsight, I can see that beyond the love bombing phase, he never actually instigated any hugs unless he wanted it in bed.
Even looking back on many photos of us together, he looks extremely awkward with his arm around me and oftentimes, didn’t even have his hand on me properly. As a covert narcissist, he wanted to give the appearance of a ‘loving and successful’ relationship, but deep inside, he wasn’t comfortable with affection and intimacy.
He regularly made me feel like I was the one with intimacy issues and that there was something wrong with me. I’m now fully aware that they were merely his own projections. However, when you’re told over and over again that there’s something wrong with you and there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise, you end up believing it.
I’ve noticed that whenever my kids go up to their (narcissistic) dad and hug him, it’s almost like he melts. Not because he loves cuddling the kids, but because they enjoy hugging him. My daughter in particular loves to hug and will always greet her dad with a cuddle. In one respect, I’m glad he hugs her back and that she’s not aware of the fact that he adores that she love him, rather than the other way around. However, I see the truth. He doesn’t truly see her and love her, he just loves that she adores him, because it validates his False Self’s belief that he’s ‘more special.’
Interestingly, for at least the final ten years of our relationship, having him cuddle me in bed started to become unbearable. Even though I enjoyed the warm embrace, my energetic body would be going off. As best as I can explain it, I would experience such an intense feeling of restlessness. It’s the same feeling as restless legs, when you know you just need to move to shake out the energy, but this feeling would be throughout my entire body.
So, I’d lie there and put up with it for as long as I could bear, just for his sake. But then I’d have to push him off. If I was asleep when he put his arm around me, I’d wake up with the restlessness and find it so difficult to get back to sleep. Whenever I tried to explain it to him and that it was really making sleep hard for me, he didn’t care of course. As long as he got the supply he needed in the moment.
Maybe that’s what I was experiencing on a physical level – the feeling of him extracting supply from me.
Either way, my body was screaming at me that things weren’t right and yet I continued to ignore my own intuition.
After I eventually broke up with him, I still had to live in those circumstances for another six weeks until I could secure accommodation elsewhere. At night he would say, “can I please just touch my hand against you? Your energy feels so good.”
It was in that moment that I realised what he’d known all along. He was aware of how good my energy felt to him, which is exactly what was in it for him. I had always assumed that his actions where largely unconscious, but that comment proved to me that he was very much aware of the energy exchange all along, even if not on a spiritual level.
The aim for the narcissist is and always will be the same – to extract narcissistic supply for themselves at all costs.
Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Now that I’m completely free of narcissistic relationships, I’m working on my self daily to release the old patterns, beliefs and traumas. The wounding is deep and I know that without meeting those wounds, I will just keep experiencing those inner beliefs in my outer world.
Rehashing the things that other people have done to me only kept me stuck in that victim mode. While it’s been important to process what’s happened and to truly understand why it happened, the only way out has been to say “hello” to those traumas and release them out of my body.
I tried to heal myself mostly through self care practices and logically learning all that I could about narcissism. Both things have helped immensely, yet the Complex PTSD was just getting worse as time went on, not better.
For me, the only thing that has truly helped is by taking the inner journey with Selina Hill, an energetic healer. If you’re ready to truly heal, I cannot recommend it enough (see below).
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