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What does “spectatoring” mean when referring to sex?

Emily Nagoski
Emily Nagoski on behalf of Good In Bed
Psychology

“Spectatoring” is the art of worrying about sex while you’re having it. Rather than paying attention to the pleasant and tingly things your body is experiencing, it’s like you’re floating above the bed watching, noticing how your breasts fall or the squish of cottage cheese on the back of your thigh or the roll at your belly, or you’re worried about the sex you’re having instead of enjoying the sex you’re having. And worry is the opposite of arousal. It is the antiarousal, because anxiety slams on the brakes of your sexual inhibition system. Turning off anxiety eases off the brakes, letting your sexual response flow smoothly forward. We know the phrase “performance anxiety” because men experience a similar phenomenon, worrying

about whether or not they’ll be able to get and sustain an erection – which, in turn, makes it more difficult for them to get erections. Women, whose erections are nonobvious and unnecessary,

strictly speaking, for intercourse, haven’t been given credit for this particular problem, but it affects us too, often in the form of spectatoring.

The Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms

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The Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms

Want to learn how to achieve 487 different kinds of orgasms?If so, you’re reading the wrong guidebook. Despite what many in the media would have you believe, there’s no such thing as a rainbow...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.