I Look Sexy, But I Don’t Feel Pleasure
I recently talked about “spectatoring” — watching yourself have sex instead of enjoying pleasure.
After surveying my women students I learned that three-quarters spent at least some of their time in bed distracted by how they looked. Most worried that they weren’t “hot” enough. And most also said that their concerns harmed their sexual experience to some degree.
But some women did think they were attractive. In fact, when I surveyed students about the last time they had sex, one young woman replied, “I think I looked pretty good.”
She was talking about how she looked, not how she felt. As if sex, itself, were all about how you look for someone else’s pleasure, and not how you feel for yourself. In fact, when my students talk about “being sexual” they are sometimes actually talking about looking sexy. And if you Google a synonym for “sexual” the word “voluptuous” pops up. But “voluptuous” is a look, not a behavior or a feeling.
This fits with a concern that women can end up eroticizing male sexual pleasure as if it were their own. If “he” is turned on by how “she” looks, then she is being sexual — even if she’s not the least bit aroused.
Distracted, trying to look good
On the other hand, trying to look attractive may simply be distracting, as these women explain:
It’s more stressful because you’re consumed by your appearance instead of your enjoyment. Trying to be perfect is very distracting.
All I can focus on is how I look instead of the romantic connection. I’ll constantly position myself to look more appealing. So I can’t focus on my pleasure because I’m worried about what he’s thinking. (When in reality he probably doesn’t even notice.)
In the best case these young women may be enjoying themselves, and how terrific they look. They may gain a self-esteem boost as they relish their “hotness.”
But they’re not actually enjoying sex.
And when women are distracted, their partners are missing out on pleasure and connection, too.
Posted on April 22, 2019, in body image, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged body image, objectification, psychology, self-objectification, sex, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.