Don’t Look at Me: What Eye Contact During Sex Really Means
Some people don’t get the importance of eye contact during sex. Admittedly, this was an issue I personally had in a previous 11 year relationship. Yep, I pretty much went 11 years (granted I was in my twenties) with having sex and not looking at my partner or feeling comfortable with him looking at me. He was kind of on the same page though, so I guess at the time it was a wash.
I am not advocating that everyone all the time has to maintain a deep “soul-gaze” sort of lock on their partner (can you say fatal attraction?) but I am going to suggest that you a) examine your comfort level with this issue and b) try to make some eye contact with your partner on a regular basis. Here’s why…
- It helps you connect with your partner energetically. This is a good thing during sex. Feeling connected by more than a penis or sex toy will help you deepen your relationship and increase your emotional intimacy.
- It can assist you in getting to know more about yourself. For instance, my reluctance to look at my partner stemmed from body shame issues and shame around sex in general. I was brought up as a good Catholic girl. It comes with the package. Along with the confirmation dress and the guilt.
- Eye contact is a great form of non-verbal communication during sex. You can use it as a check in with your partner to communicate what’s working and what isn’t.
- Vulnerability is a good thing. If you realize you have discomfort looking your partner in the eye it is a good indicator that you might feel exposed or vulnerable. Many of us avoid vulnerability like the plague (guilty as charged) but vulnerability and exposing ourselves (inside and outside) to our partner is what deepens our relationships.
- Some don’t like to “be seen” by their partners because they feel like they might be judged about either their body or their physical reaction to having sex – you know the “O” face? This is unfortunate. When I talk to most couples, resoundingly I hear over and over again that judgment is usually the last thing going through a partner’s mind. More often, they are turned on by seeing their partner’s body and facial expressions during sex.
Hopefully, I swayed a few of you out there to look at this issue and your partner the next time you have sex. After all, there is nothing to fear but fear itself and when you get over the fear of looking your partner in the eye during sex, there’s only better sex to be had.
Dr. Kat is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.
© Copyright Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk