Are you a spectator in the bedroom? No, we’re not talking about watching your partner masturbate or playing voyeur at a play party – those things can be awesome if you’re into them. We’re talking about a common practice that you may not be aware of that could be holding you back from fully enjoying yourself during sex.
Spectatoring is a concept that was introduced by pioneering sexuality researchers Masters and Johnson, and it basically means that you’re watching and monitoring yourself during sex instead of being fully immersed in the experience.
You may be worrying about your body and how you look, criticizing your own performance, or wondering whether you’re really pleasing your partner. You’re so busy in your head that you’re disconnected from what your body’s feeling and what your partner is experiencing. This ongoing self-conscious commentary can fuel anxieties that negatively impact your performance or just result in experiences that aren’t as pleasurable as they could be.
One of the best ways to break the habit of spectatoring is by practicing mindfulness. Mindful practices are about focusing your attention on the present, staying in the moment, and trying to be aware of all of the sensations in your body. You don’t need to totally empty your head of every single thought, but let them pass through without getting distracted by them and stay focused on your breathing and what your body is feeling.
Mindfulness also encourages a non-judgmental approach to the thoughts that do come up, which means letting them come and go instead of getting into a cycle of having negative or self-critical thoughts and then beating yourself up for having them.
It can take some time to train yourself to stop spectatoring during sex, but it’s easy to start incorporating some more mindful practices into your daily life. When you bring that approach into the bedroom, you and your partner will feel the difference and you’ll never want to bring your inner spectator along for the ride again