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Somatic vs. Cerebral -- my N?

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" and 8 other books about personality disorders and abuse in relationships with narcissists and psychopaths. He is the owner and moderator of support forums and the first person to have written about the Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) online (in 1997). He invented many of the terms currently used to describe the disorder and its effects on family, the workplace, and in various professions.

Where to go to ask Dr. Sam questions. This is intended as Questions to Dr. Vaknin and his responses

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Somatic vs. Cerebral -- my N?

Postby snowynight » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:42 am

Hello again Dr. Vaknin,

Based on what I have described in my last two questions, would you consider the exN a somatic type? I've always been confused by this because he does not seek in person sex or in person sexual gratification....

He gets most gratification online though from women in this game, which can often lead to emails, etc, but usually not much beyond that. He has not, that I know of, ever seen them in person??? I don't believe he has a whole lot to do with porn either. He is a virtual hermit other than his job (and his work is nothing high profile -- its' "just a job to make ends meet" to him -- I can't imagine his work is a big supply source).

This game, his job and having to do the bare minimum to take care of his kids when he has them (2 divorces) are his life in a nutshell.

Don't somatics want sex or at least porn on a regular basis? Also, he was not obsessed with his body -- but he would describe himself as "athletic" on his myspace. LOL is all I can say -- he was thin -- but I don't think he had worked out in a decade....and he smokes cigarettes and smokes marijuana daily.

In a "real live" relationship, like when we were together, he could not handle it beyond about 3 months acting like a "normal" person -- constant approach avoidance! Seduce and reject, seduce and reject.....though the sex was good and he seemed aimed to please when he wasn't disappearing on me.... he was a master at seduction -- the words (lies), fantasies, etc.


Thanks Sam!!!
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Somatic vs. Cerebral

Postby samvaknin » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:08 pm


Only a qualified mental health diagnostician can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews.

Narcissists are either cerebral or somatic. In other words, they either generate their Narcissistic Supply by applying their bodies or by applying their minds.

The somatic narcissist flaunts his sexual conquests, parades his possessions, exhibits his muscles, brags about his physical aesthetics or sexual prowess or exploits, is often a health freak and a hypochondriac. The cerebral narcissist is a know-it-all, haughty and intelligent "computer". He uses his awesome intellect, or knowledge (real or pretended) to secure adoration, adulation and admiration. To him, his body and its maintenance are a burden and a distraction.

Both types are auto-erotic (psychosexually in love with themselves, with their bodies and with their brain). Both types prefer masturbation to adult, mature, interactive, multi-dimensional and emotion-laden sex.

The cerebral narcissist is often celibate (even when he has a girlfriend or a spouse). He prefers pornography and sexual auto-stimulation to the real thing. The cerebral narcissist is sometimes a latent (hidden, not yet outed) homosexual.

The somatic narcissist uses other people's bodies to masturbate. Sex with him - pyrotechnics and acrobatics aside - is likely to be an impersonal and emotionally alienating and draining experience. The partner is often treated as an object, an extension of the somatic narcissist, a toy, a warm and pulsating vibrator.

It is a mistake to assume type-constancy. In other words, all narcissists are BOTH cerebral and somatic. In each narcissist, one of the types is dominant. So, the narcissist is either OVERWHELMINGLY cerebral - or DOMINANTLY somatic. But the other type, the recessive (manifested less frequently) type, is there. It is lurking, waiting to erupt.

The narcissist swings between his dominant type and his recessive type. The latter is expressed mainly as a result of a major narcissistic injury or life crisis.

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Take care.

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