Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Intensity, Charm, and Sex

 Mary Ann Glynn adBy Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW, located in Bernardsville, New Jersey

Most partners described sex with their sociopath as having been more intense than they had ever experienced. It’s one of the factors that confused them into thinking they were with the right person. Sociopaths have the ability to be dynamic, charismatic, attractive, sexy, even hypnotic when they are in predatory mode, in either an extroverted or a subtle way. What fuels this charismatic energy, this sexual electricity? I have come to the conclusion that it has to do with their underlying rage. How does rage translate into charm and sexual intensity, you ask?

Just under the surface rage

Sociopaths build their false selves around control to defend against vulnerability and exposure. Maintaining this control would take a lot of energy which the underlying rage provides. It comes through as intensity, edginess, charisma. It can be magnetic. Down the line, all partners of sociopaths experience the rage that seems to simmer just under the surface, when they do something that offends the sociopath or threatens their cover — like a match to gasoline! If subterfuge and evasion don’t work, their defend/fight mode is ever ready. Think of a soldier as the enemy approaches. He is ready to defend his life and survive at all costs. He is like a cornered wild cat poised to pounce in blink of an eye. Sound familiar?

Feeling safe and protected

At first the sociopath’s strong, take-control persona may have seemed admirable — made their partner feel protected and taken care of, even safe. And, that is, yes, pretty darn sexy and, oh, so confusing later on when everything changes. Now imagine the rage that fuels the control, that edgy, even predatory, energy, and apply it to sex. A partner who is dominant and forward sexually can be pretty exciting. It can be flattering that your partner’s sexual passion for you appears to be insatiable. And, because the sociopath is narcissistic, they will usually make it their business to be very good lovers. They take pride in making sure you are very satisfied. Remember, they’re competing with any lover you may have had. That’s how they see it.

Lots of sex means lots of oxytocin

You’re likely to have a lot of sex with a sociopath, especially early on, which releases a tsunami of oxytocin, the attachment hormone. This could make you feel like you’re “in love” early on, too. Also confusing! Put all this together and you can have an explosion of sexual passion that may overwhelm your defenses and your reason. This could be deliberate on the part of the sociopath, especially in the pursuit phase, or when you become suspicious, or to lure you back when you try to walk away. And/or, it is just how they experience connection, while maintaining a feeling of power and control.

Sex is sex; not love

What partners don’t know at the beginning is that for sociopaths sex is sex. Since emotional connection is a foreign concept, sexual attraction is the only way they experience “love” — in actuality infatuation, obsession, lust. For them, sexual connection may be a substitute for the emotional connection that eludes them in relationships. Orgasm can serve the purpose of feeling good, “loved”, powerful, forgetting everything. For this reason, many sociopaths are sex addicts. When sex is an end in itself obsession, lust, and the feeling of power can be powerfully addictive.

Emotional connection not reciprocated

The lack of emotional connection is what makes it so easy for sociopaths (much to their partners’ shock) to move from their relationship quickly on to another sexual partner. It’s always a rude awakening when a partner of a sociopath realizes down the line or even at the end of the relationship, that the emotional connection they experienced during sex was not reciprocated. It’s hard to realize someone could even operate that way. But, that’s just one more unfathomable aspect of a sociopath’s character that makes connection to them unlike any other

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32 Comments on "Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW: Intensity, Charm, and Sex"

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The story about the monkeys in Thailand is an appropriate illustration of how trying to hold on to that hope of “making things better” with the sociopath is not possible!

Your article offers amazing insight into the many “whys” that lurk behind our memories!I never even gave thought to the fact that underlying rage could be the factor behind his charisma!Those two qualities seem so opposite!But it makes sense once you get to thinking!My husband was very angry about the fact that he was considered a nerd by his peers;as ‘much less than desirable’ by girls when he was in school.So he has always tried to ‘prove himself’ socially!

I always wondered why sex was finished so early in our relationship.For a long time I blamed it on the fact that once I put an end to childbearing (tubal ligation),he lost interest in me.Now I understand that once the thrill of “love” was over;so was the thrill of sex.He gave me the silent treatment.


I can relate to how the sexual interest ended early in the relationship, and how I blamed myself. I always thought that I had become less appealing and I became very self conscious.. He used my insecurity to demean me and lower my self esteem, but always in a Passive aggressive way- looking at and flirting with other women, looking away when I was dressing or bathing, forcing me to make the first move when we were intimate. Looking back, I can clearly see that I didn’t change physically nor did my intensity in my interest in our intimacy. The only factor that changed was that I grew deeper in love with him and thus he became bored. He ad me, and the challenge was over.

I’ve constantly tried to impress him and make him believe that I was/am attractive. Now I realize that all of this was a conscious or subconscious plan to make me insecure and lead me to feel that no one could ever be attracted to me.

Having read so many stories of similar circumstances of others, I’m sure that there are many of us who, even after realizing why we were led to believe these untruths about ourselves, we still end up thinking we are undesirable which leaves us in a vulnerable position. I’m working to overcome this mindset, but I’m not sure I can see a future with much self confidence. It’s just another aspect of the abuse from a soulless partner.

Any suggestion on books that may guide you through this part of the recovery? My counselor is not a lot of help in this area.

Thanks so much for these lightbulb moments & validating Mary Ann Glynn. Please write more on this subject of Intensity, Charm, and Sex.

This could have been written about our marriage. The sex in the beginning was absolutely mind blowing. The first time we had sex I remember weeping because I felt cheated for many years of what great sex was all about. Fast forward to getting married, and suddenly the sex just fell off.

About the two year mark of our marriage I received an e-mail from somebody claiming they worked with my husband and they wanted to let me know he was having an affair and everyone knew about it. I did my own snooping and found evidence. Of course he pleaded, swore it would never happen again, became what I thought was very transparent about his actions, and I forgave him and moved on.

We have been married for seven years and the last 3-4 years have for the most part been sexless. He convinced me he just didn’t have desire for anyone anymore, but what I’ve read makes a lot more sense.

We are all the “other women” is my belief…
I just couldn’t put my finger on it…
I use to tell him he was “conquering” me,using that exact word!
Sadly I mistook intimacy for intensity…it was a “sporting event” to him and a “performance”…
He always wanted to take pictures and or video the sex…
He has 2 Facebook accounts…
He is a sex addict as well as addicted to porn and he was even Skyping with others doing sexual stuff like pleasuring himself while they Skyped. He was also big into sexting. He was always cheating…it was never enough…
sex is sex, not love…
This article fits to a T…


You are so right. We are the “other woman”. Just since I’ve been on LF have i started to realize that is true.

How awful to learn the truths…
He was never real or was his love…
He never wanted my love , only my body is another sad truth.
Since I became his “conquest/conquered” I’ve been on a quest to find the truth.
I have no idea what happened to all the pics & videos he’s taken of us…
Only clue I found is that he uses zip files stored & accessed on Internet.
He goes out of his way to look more innocent than the innocent…another truth…

When someone you trust so much betrays you, it destroys your self esteem. After so many years of doubting my instincts, I find it hard to focus and have a clue of what to do next. I have spent my life raising our kids and being his wife. I’m isolated and having trouble even thinking of the future sometimes. Such is the dramatic destruction left behind after a sociopath discards a person.

I realize through LF that the impact is the same whether you dated them only awhile or married them for years. While there are different amounts of pieces to pick up depending on how long and how deep you are involved, we are all left with the same feeling of disrespect and abuse.

soooo true!!!!……….I have been healing and moving forward….then after no contact for some time now , I could just feel it…I knew my Birthday was coming….I was just telling someone the other day that I thought he was getting it and going to leave me alone…then sure enough…I get a e-greeting card from him for my birthday….I have not opened it….so that will help some…but it is disturbing….It came from some other site so my computer did not block it…but it went into spam….so will he get it? …when I never read the card??? He has fooled himself ….that I would have anything to do with him…ever…but see how he picks my Birthday…to try to get at me? ARGGGG!!!It does not send me into anxious panic like before….but I need to go smell my essential oils to interupt the thoughts…!!!!!!!!

I was with my (now ex) husband since we were 15. We were married 30 years. Never displayed outright anger…very passive aggressive. But I read on a blog about body language that clenched hands is a sign of anger. My ex ALWAYS had his hands clenched while sitting and relaxing and it bothered me. I took it as a sign that he was tense, but the information about body language, combined with the information from this article, leads me to believe he always had underlying anger/rage.

grace, what an obvious maneuver to get a reaction from you! These predators surely know the things that tweet our hearts….a birthday card. I hope he knows you never opened it, or at least it irks him that you didn’t respond. Any amount of loss of control makes them less interested. It’s painful but beneficial to us. Stay strong!

[email protected], I have never heard that about clinched fist. That is very interesting! My Spath always has his fist clinched.. He, like your husband, is very passive aggressive. He criticizes and demeans without actually saying to words. Very calculating. Thanks for the info!

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