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Are You Spectatoring During Sex??

My first lover was a USC football player with 0% body fat. He looked like this:

You’d think we would have had hot sex. And every now and then we did. But a lot of the time I was, what is called by political analyst and professor Caroline Heldman, “spectatoring” during sex.

Here’s what spectatoring during sex sounded like in my head in the Girl-On-Top position:

“My breasts are too small, he’s looking at my breasts and comparing them to tiny, hard little peanuts and did I remember to tweeze that one black hair that always grows out of my left nipple and why don’t my boobs even bounce a little?
“Is that too much to ask? I’m a good person!”

In the, for lack of a more flattering term, Doggy-Style position:

“Is he looking at the cellulite on my bottom? Because it’s there. I can see it when I look at my butt in the mirror and squeeze it between my fingers.
“I know I’ve got at least ten or twelve little divots back there that’re probably reminding him of the lunar landing of Apollo 17.
“Also, why didn’t I wax yesterday? Does he feel like he’s having sex with Chewbacca?”

I highly recommend watching Heldman’s TedxYouth talk called The Sexy Lie where she posits that the sexual objectification of women is at an all-time high due to the onslaught of ads we see every day of our lives.

(And the number is up 1000% since I was a child).

She goes on further to stress that being sexually objectified is in no way empowering. And that women in media are sexually objectified 96% of the time and men a mere 4%.

She cites studies that have concluded that the objectification of women in ads and media often cause women to self-objectify, which leads to an emphasis on physical perfection rather than intellectual growth and character development.

There are a host of issues that can crop up due to self-objectification (I’ll link to the ones that affect me):

  1. Depression.
  2. Habitual Body Monitoring.
  3. Eating Disorders.
  4. Body Shame.
  5. Depressed Cognitive Function.
  6. Sexual Dysfunction.
  7. Lower Self-Esteem.
  8. Lower GPA.
  9. Lower Political Efficacy.
  10. Female Competition.
I’m sure I also suffer to a lesser degree from some of the other issues on the list.

This was a bucket full of cold water dumped over my head as I realized that the time I waste in habitual body monitoring and body shame could be better spent helping to solve more important problems in my community.

The good news about my sex life today is that Henry doesn’t have a six-pack and neither do I, which means our sex is exponentially hotter than my youthful sex with a perfect male specimen.

Henry and I intend to go out wrinkled and chubby in our ’90s with a bang!

In the meantime, check out Heldman’s Talk here and share it with your kids as there are actions they and you can take to diminish the sexual objectification of women.

One 14-year old girl named Julia contacted change.org, set up a petition and got thousands of signatures in order to get Seventeen Magazine to stop photo-shopping their models. And guess what?

She won. Onward and upward.

You will also love Shannon’s book, “Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.” You can order that HERE.


Write a comment
  1. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 17 January, 2014, 12:43

    I no longer participate in spectator sex. My husband loves my body, and he loves me. Finally in the past few years I’ve come to appreciate that fact more than I wish that my belly was flat. We are all crazy for spending so much time feeling like shit about ourselves.

    Reply this comment
  2. Carol Cassara
    Carol Cassara 18 January, 2014, 06:15

    My body is far from perfect, but spectator sex was never part of my sex life, thank goodness.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 January, 2014, 09:11

      Hi Carol — It was tedious. Unfortunately my boyfriend was very critical of my body, which didn’t help. Thankfully my husband will take me in any way, shape or form and makes me feel beautiful. Good men are an excellent remedy.

      Reply this comment
  3. Cathy C.
    Cathy C. 18 January, 2014, 10:26

    My hubby finally got me over being so self conscious. Spider veins, saggy boobs, and fat rolls are what I saw. Sexy curves, soft breasts and skin are what he sees. Life is good.

    Reply this comment
  4. Carmen
    Carmen 19 February, 2014, 19:39

    Had to click and read about “Habitual Body Monitoring” before even getting to the end of this post because I have a nasty habit (addiction) of stepping on the scale every time I walk past it. The number never really changes, but my mood is reflected accordingly if it’s a pound higher or lower than it was the night, or hour, before. I have pretty much weighed the same for about 5 years now. I will sometimes look at myself in my full length mirror and think “My body looks great today. I wonder how much I weigh…” and then step on the scale. How lame is that? Seriously need to just stop at “My body looks great today” and go about my day.

    Reply this comment
  5. Doug Smith
    Doug Smith 7 March, 2014, 16:51

    I liked Sharon’s response, that her husband loves her and her body. Your opening comment about wondering about your small tits made me start wondering. The world seems to have this idea of what men thing the perfect woman looks like, but is that reality. I do not think so. I remember in my mid 20s riding in a carpool with these old guys (about my age now). One guy would say that all women are 10s. As I have aged, I tend to agree, mainly because there is so much more to a woman (or man) than physical appearance.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply this comment
  6. Mya
    Mya 4 September, 2014, 08:11

    I love it Shannon! And that video was amazing!



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