Have you ever felt your mind wander during sex?
Your partner might be doing all the right things, and yet you suddenly realise you have planning what to make for dinner, or mentally responding to an email from your boss.
If this sounds familiar – you’re far from alone.
Struggling to concentrate or an ability to be ‘in the moment’ during sex is really common, and it can really limit our ability to get the most pleasure out of the moment.
This phenomenon is known as ‘spectatoring’.
Spectatoring is a process suggested by Masters and Johnson in 1970 where a person focuses on themselves ‘from a third person perspective during sexual activity, rather than focusing on one’s sensations and sexual partner,’ and they say it can ‘increase performance fears and cause deleterious effects on sexual performance.’
Fortunately, there is a fix for this. Expert Amber Kelly, founder of camgirl agency Off The Record, has provided some top tips to curb spectatoring and allow you to really stay in the moment when you’re having sex. So, thank us later.
‘The most important thing to remember is that when you’re focusing on yourself during sex, or something completely irrelevant to the situation, you will lose some enjoyment,’ Amber tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Sex should foster connection; if you’re not connected, you won’t have the best sex of your life. Use that simple fact as an incentive; whilst you might want to check off a mental ‘to do list’, you really will reap endless rewards if you remain present.’
Far too many of us become glued to our phones in the bedroom. Amber says this won’t help anything.
‘A digital detox can be hugely beneficial,’ she says. ‘By taking time away from your screens, ditching mobile phones in the evening for example, you won’t be distracted by a constant stream of notifications.
‘Instead, you’ll feel more immersed in your own personal bubble and, in turn, sex.’
Spice things up
‘Meanwhile, in my experience one of the most effective ways to stop spectatoring is to spice up your sex life,’ says Amber.
She says that when you try new things, venture out of your comfort zone and explore different kinks, you’ll be filled with a revitalised sense of excitement.
‘You certainly won’t be thinking about what’s on TV,’ she says. ‘An extra dose of thrill and passion will always do the trick.’
Another powerful trick that Amber suggests doesn’t include your partner at all – masturbation.
‘That’s right, by taking time for yourself, exploring your own body and refamiliarising yourself with what you like and exactly how you like it, you’ll make sex better and naturally become more invested in the moment,’ says Amber.
‘Similarly, a common reason for spectatoring is a lack of confidence; we might find ourselves questioning how we look for example, instead of enjoying the sex itself. If this is the case, do something to bolster your own self-confidence. From self-care to discovering a new passion, if you feel more confident, you won’t be as distracted.’
‘There’s a reason you’re told to take deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed,’ says Amber. ‘It centres and calms you, forcing you to focus on the present.
‘If you’re feeling your mind drift, follow a breathing pattern. For example, inhale 1-2-3-4, exhale 1-2-3-4. Don’t worry, you can do this in your head.
‘Or, focus on your partner’s breathing.’
Another fundamental is becoming more mindful, which Amber says is easy to cultivate.
‘Focus on the smallest details, for example how your partner’s skin feels, the sounds they’re making, the sheets you’re lying on,’ she says. ‘These little things will all help you to feel more immersed in the moment.
‘The power of mindfulness in the bedroom can be heighted if you practice this in other areas of your life. Try to be mindful in everyday situations, taking time throughout the day to stop, focus on your breathing and regain a sense of calm.
‘As time slowly passes, you’ll generally become a much calmer and in-tune person – including between the sheets.’
‘Similarly, when it comes to sex and being present communication is key,’ says Amber.
‘Our minds are more likely to be distracted when we’re not thoroughly enjoying what we’re doing; if you’re not feeling turned-on, you won’t be sensitive to the experience.’
Amber says the answer is to simply tell your partner what you want.
‘Ask for whatever you’re into and don’t be afraid to try something new,’ she says.
‘By establishing an understanding, accepting and judgement-free space with your partner, you’ll feel more comfortable doing this in the bedroom – unlocking amazing sex in turn.’
Amber says that this is an entirely different way to form a sexual connection, and it can provide you with access to deeper feelings and more fulfilling sensations.
‘Ultimately, it focuses on energy and therefore encourages you to focus on much more than the physical act of sex,’ she says.
‘There’s no spectatoring when all that you’re doing centres around being engaged and connected with your partner’s energy.’