What Is Spectatoring And How To Stop It? (5 Guilty Reasons)

Last updated on June 17, 2022 by April Maccario

Spectatoring during sex can be detrimental to the overall sexual experience, being overly conscious when making love to your partner could be referred to as the opposite of enjoying sex. Trying to ensure that everything is perfect, can make you lose track of the moment and kill your sexual desire

Since it’s a natural thing for people to be concerned about their performance in bed, it’s no surprise that spectatoring during sex occurs commonly. This article will tell you all you need to know about the spectatoring – why it’s happening to you, how you can make it stop, and in turn, have a better sex life.

What Is Spectatoring?

The name spectatoring was coined by sex researchers from the ’60s, named Masters and Johnson. It is referred to an overly conscious state of mind that occurs during sex, where a person has distracting thoughts of how they are seen by their partners physically, rather than focusing on the overall sexual experience. 

They spend time analyzing their body movements and judging their actions, which can, in turn, take their mind off reacting adequately to the sensation of the moment. 

Spectatoring most times can lead to sexual dysfunction, and for women, the inability to have an orgasm, or be satisfied during sex. The more distracting thoughts you have, the more you’re bound to have spectator sex, this can, as a matter of fact, ruin your sex life.  

Spectatoring is caused by a number of reasons, and finding out the distinctive reason why it happens to you, can help you work towards making it stop. This article lays down five likely causes of such distraction during sex, and how to stop thinking about sex so much. 

What Causes Spectatoring?

1. Intimacy problems

Intimacy problems

If you’re wondering how to stop thinking about sex too much, and simply concentrate on the act itself, you need to consider the possibility that you have sexual dysfunction

Past events can cause intimacy problems in people, especially sexual abuse and similar forms of abuse. When a person tends to feel violated, due to a negative occurrence in the past, it can affect their ability to remain focused during sex. 

Overthinking sex becomes the norm, followed by not being comfortable enough to enjoy the moment.

Trauma is another condition that can cause a person to dislike intimacy and not pay enough attention to it. The underlying effect of it can cause disconnection in many situations, and may even affect the relationship. 

Understanding the major cause of your intimacy problem might help you analyze the real reason why you’re spectatoring and teach you how to focus during sex. Other possible causes of spectatoring due to intimacy problems include depression and anxiety. When a person is overwhelmed with worries or emotional pain, there’s inevitably a chance that spectator sex will occur.

Talking to a counselor or therapist can help you find out the cause of your problem, in order to work towards getting better. More so, when you identify the cause of your distraction during sex, ensure you constantly see a professional, and make conscious efforts to prevent it from affecting your thoughts. 

2. You naturally have a distracting mind

For some people, it’s quite easy to have spontaneous thoughts about things to do, past events, or things yet to happen. It can come at fairly odd times, and even during sex. In order to combat having distracting thoughts, you can engage in therapeutic actions, such as writing things down. 

The more you write down what’s on your mind, chances are, it will stop lingering around in your head when you’re supposed to be focused on something else. Even so, ensure you have everything planned out, before settling down to have sex with your partner.

You can also learn to offload most of your thoughts by talking to someone about them. This can instantly give you relief and stop you from spectatoring. More so, if you’ve had any dispute with your partner, try to settle it before you engage in sex. This will give you a clear and undistracted mind, and further prevent spectator sex. 

Try relaxing therapies like drinking chamomile tea, or perhaps engage in any activity you deem comforting, before engaging in sexual activities. The less agitated you are, the fewer chances of unsolicited thoughts running through your mind. 

3. You might have body image issues

One of the likely reasons why you would be distracted during sex is because you have issues with your body image. Better explained, you may feel insecure about certain parts of your body, maybe your part of the ‘itty-bitty committee, or have stretch marks or fat in certain places. 

This insecurity might be the reason why your mind wanders during sexual activities, followed by an active judgment or criticism of one’s self, or trying to make yourself look perfect. Tackling the root of your image issues can be a great way to stop yourself from being distracted when having sex. 

You can also make efforts to look good before having sex; wearing sexy lingerie might just boost your confidence. Another thing you should realize is that your partner isn’t as critical or judgmental of your body as you think. If they’re having sex with you, it means they are indeed sexually attracted to you. In plain words, they find your body attractive enough to want to have sex with you

This naturally counters any motive they would have to be critical of your body. More so, being overly concerned about your body during sex, is a counterproductive measure that would only deprive you of experiencing the moment. 

Nevertheless, to help stop the act of spectatoring, you should consider seeing a psychologist, or therapist, to help you get out of the situation. When you begin the process, understand that it will take time to adjust to an improved mindset about your body, and would demand patience for positive results to show. 

In the meantime, try to refrain from viewing yourself in a negative way, and learn to appreciate all the good qualities of your body parts.

4. Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety

Both men and women tend to compare themselves with their partner’s ex-lovers, which can in turn, make them overly critical of their performance. This happens to a lot of people, even to the most confident lovers, distracting thoughts of whether they’re performing well will overwhelm them enough to make them absent from the moment, and start spectatoring. 

Thinking you’re not good enough for your partner, or not able to measure up, would definitely take a toll on the relationship. You’ll find yourself refraining from certain things due to fear of criticism; or in other cases, trying to be perfect so you can measure up. 

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Performance anxiety only makes you behave in ways you wouldn’t normally behave, and this can send misinterpreting signals to your partner. More so, it can cause a level of disconnection between the two parties, especially when one party cannot understand why the other is behaving that way. 

Coming clean about your fears to your partner can be an instant therapy for your condition. Hearing the opinions of your significant other on certain misconceptions you might be having, would be calming enough to make you evade the feeling of not measuring up. 

In the long run, if you feel that your fears are bigger than simply having a discussion with your significant other, then you should also consider seeing a therapist to help you through the situation. This may, in turn, stop you from spectatoring. 

5. Inability to open up about what you want

One reason why a person ends up being distracted during intercourse is that they aren’t quite satisfied with what they’re getting. Even so, they might not know how to tell their partners about it. If you feel you prefer other methods, other than the one your significant other is using – but you don’t know how to properly express this – then the cause of your distraction in sex might simply be shyness.

The more you accept what your significant other prefers to do, the more you would find it hard to focus in bed. More so, it will only increase your distraction during sex, finding a plausible way to open up about your desires is the best thing to do. A recommended way is requesting for a sit and talk, or perhaps, simply having a casual conversation. 

Talking in the midst of sexual activity can make the other person feel incompetent,  which is why it’s best to do it outside the bedroom. Ensure that your significant other gets the bulk of the message, and is willing to try new things with you, even if you don’t exactly know what you want to do.

You can also open up to your significant other about your distractions, which they can help you to resolve. They can help you find new ways to establish focus, and in turn, help you enjoy the moment like you should. 


How do I stop thinking during sex?

Stop rushing. Sometimes, life's frenetic rhythm does not make it easy to have a complete sexual relationship in terms of foreplay and exploration of the body. However, giving yourself time for these little pleasures of sex, and not focusing only on intercourse, can be a way to increase concentration and enjoyment. This encourages the mind to focus on the here and now.

Does sex affect female body?

One of the most common results of the absence of sex is higher levels of anxiety and stress. When a woman has sex, her brain releases endorphins that generate an analgesic effect and a feeling of well-being. This happens with both men and women.

How can I control my mind during sex?

To do this, it is essential to think about what you are doing. Stop thinking about anything else that has nothing to do with what you are doing and feeling. You have to help your mind not to move away from the situation and the sensations you are experiencing.

Why do I always think about sex?

You might have some kind of sex addiction. It is a classic behavioral addiction, just like a work and gambling addiction. People with an addiction can no longer control their behavior at will. In severe cases, sex addicts only have one thing on their minds- sex. They withdraw and satisfy themselves over and over again. With or without a partner, it doesn't matter.

Why do we do sex?

The are many reasons why people have sex. The first is due to reproduction. Secondly, sex is pleasurable, healthy, and, above all, ubiquitous. The other side is much less talked about: pornography. Some people are just addicted.

All in All...

Did you enjoy this article on spectatoring? If you feel that none of the above-listed causes of spectatoring pertains to you, then you should consider seeing a professional to appropriately find out the problem. Kindly leave a comment below, and share this article with your friends if you enjoyed it.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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