How Eye Contact Can Improve Your Sex Life

February 25,2014

Eye contact is a pretty anxiety-inducing experience for many of us.

Making eye contact can feel very vulnerable, regardless of if the recipient is a loved one or a complete stranger. Looking another person in the eye is intimidating enough, but if they’re looking right back at us, we can feel even more uncomfortable.


On a literal level, making eye contact means being seen by another person. So many of us have fears and insecurities that we would like to keep hidden from other people, and there’s something about eye contact that can feel like we’re totally exposed. Naked, even.

Speaking of naked, eye contact can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to sex. Sleeping with someone is intimate enough as it is, without the added anxiety of looking at each other while you’re doing it.

Most people have sex in the dark, so eye contact isn’t even possible. Even if there is enough light to see, many people will avoid eye contact.

Your faces may be within inches of each others, but odds are you’ll find ways to look at anything except your partners’ eyes. Others will close their eyes during sex. And eye contact during orgasm – forget it! That’s usually way too intense for most people.

While it may seem intimidating at first, getting more comfortable with greater eye contact can have a big effect on your sex life. Here are some of the potential benefits:


Increases self esteem

Looking people in the eye is a wonderful way to increase your self-esteem and make you feel more confident. It brings you into a stronger and more authentic relationship with yourself. More confidence outside of the bedroom translates to more confidence inside the bedroom.


Deepens your connection

Making eye contact with a romantic partner deepens your emotional connection. A number of scientific studies have shown that consistent eye contact is one of the best ways to bond with your partner.


Builds trust

It doesn’t matter if your sexual partner is a casual friends-with-benefits or a long-term romantic partner – having more trust leads to better sex. When you believe that you’re with someone trustworthy, you open yourself up to a wider sexual repertoire and greater pleasure.


Helps you flirt

Eye contact is an excellent way to flirt. It shows your interest in another person and captivates their attention.


It’s arousing!

Eye contact during sex can be extremely arousing. It’s an amazing experience to watch your partner experience pleasure, and to be witnessed in your own pleasure.


If you’re interested in getting more comfortable with eye contact, here are some great ways to start practicing:


Start small

Start off by making eye contact in low-intensity, low-risk situations, like walking by a stranger on the street.

Try practicing this in small increments, like five minutes at a time. Make an effort to look at every person you pass, even if they don’t return your gaze. Don’t give them a once-over or state at them intently – simply look into their eyes and give a quick smile.

You’ll probably notice right away how infrequently we actually look at each other, even when we’re quite close. You may also be surprised to discover that you’ll have a number of sweet little interactions with the people who do notice you looking at them – perhaps you’ll exchange “good morning”s or “hello”s. (On a side note, it’s interesting to see how adept most of us are at intuitively knowing when we’re being looked at.)


Work up to more intense situations

Work up to making eye contact with strangers for longer periods of time, like during a conversation with a barista or a waiter. When you start to feel more comfortable with prolonged eye contact, try it with people you actually have relationships with, like friends and family members.


Stay in touch with yourself

When you’re looking into someone else’s eyes, try to imagine keeping your energy in your own body.

One of the reasons why eye contact can feel so vulnerable is because it can feel like we’re being sucked into or getting lost in someone else’s eyes.

Trying to envision staying in your body is a subtle act, but very powerful nonetheless.

To help drive this point home, you can even try things like taking deep breaths, wiggling your hands or feet, or simply saying in your head, “I’m still in my own body”.


Start looking at your partner more often

If you’re in a relationship, try gradually incorporating more eye contact with your partner. Again, start with lower-intensity situations, like when you’re talking about your day.

Work your way up to making contact during more vulnerable moments, like when you’re sharing your feelings.


Initiate sex with eye contact

Try making eye contact with your partner when you or they are initiating sex. Notice how that changes the energy between the two of you.


Look at your partner during sex

Practice making eye contact during sex. Try it out for one or two seconds at a time, then let yourself close your eyes or look at something else.

Practice taking slow, deep breaths while you’re doing this, to help regulate any anxiety that may come up. Notice what emotions get evoked.

Experiment with taking short breaks in your sexual activity to gaze into each others eyes for a few seconds.


Interested in more ways to improve your sex life with eye contact? This is one of the most popular topics with my email coaching clients!



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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!