Sophie (not her real name) was 20 when she made an appearance in a Backroom Casting Couch production. For those unfamiliar with the genre, the premise is simple — a couple of skeezy old men hold adult modeling interviews, and “film girls sucking, fucking, swallowing and taking it in the ass just to land a job.”

It was Sophie’s one and only pornographic role. She found the paycheck too modest to justify starring in any more movies in which she’d have to force a convincing smile while she’s violently dick-slapped.

Sophie’s story isn’t about the devastating effects that one low-budget smut video made on her future marketing career. She’s still in school, so her crippled job prospects have yet to be seen. Her story is about that erotica’s effects on her sex life.

You see, watching herself get screwed really excited her. Even with the pathetic production values of a jizz-covered couch, fluorescent lighting and a low-definition hand-held camera, this was the most arousing porno she’d ever seen.

“I started to masturbate to the idea of the video’s viewers masturbating to me,” Sophie says. During sex, instead of thinking about her partner, she’d think about herself, and how sexy she looked on camera. She admits, “Now I show the video to the guys I sleep with. It turns me on like no other.”

It’s a well-established fact that everyone fantasizes about other people during sex. But how many people are like Sophie, and picture themselves while masturbating, or get off on watching themselves have sex, whether that’s in the mirror, in a home video or in a porno?

Plenty of people, experts say. They’re called autosexuals, and they’re sexually attracted to themselves — often more aroused by themselves than by their partners. Some believe it’s just the self-centered kink of a narcissist. But autosexuality is more of an orientation than a personality disorder.

Like any other sexual orientation, folks who relate to the concept fall on a spectrum. Some are mainly attracted to other people, but might feel a tingle in their genitals at the sight of their reflection. Others are never satisfied with anyone’s sexual touch except their own.

A common indicator of autosexuality, psychiatrists say, is getting more pleasure out of masturbation than sex with a partner. However, this seems over-encompassing. After all, no one knows how to stroke your genitals better than your right hand.

Sophie is the first to admit she falls on the farther end of the autosexuality spectrum. She doesn’t limit herself to masturbation, but her autosexuality stills plays a part in who she hooks up with. She explains, “since I'm primarily attracted to myself, in other people I search for traits that remind me of… me.”

As another example, take the protagonist of the wildly popular short story, Cat Person. She’s your typical 20-year-old straight woman, yet still finds herself in the midst of sexual encounter, more aroused by the thought of herself than the thought of her partner. The story reads,

“As they kissed, she found herself carried away by a fantasy of such pure ego that she could hardly admit even to herself that she was having it. Look at this beautiful girl, she imagined him thinking. She’s so perfect, her body is perfect, everything about her is perfect, she’s only twenty years old, her skin is flawless, I want her so badly, I want her more than I’ve ever wanted anyone else, I want her so bad I might die.

The more she imagined his arousal, the more turned-on she got…”

Vanity gets a bad rap, but there’s nothing wrong with self-love, with turning yourself on, or with having a sexual relationship with yourself. Most of us have been doing it since age 13.

Ultimately, there’s no need to label yourself as an autosexual — even if you jerk off in front of the mirror, fantasize about fucking your clone, or require a porno featuring your own face to climax.