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EDCAS Tuesday Morning Meeting

Date: May 26, 2020 10:00 am

EDCAS Tuesday Morning Meeting

May 26th, 2020


"Spectatoring: Watching oneself have sex as if it's happening to another person"

Presenter: Sue Kolod, PhD


"Spectatoring” is a term coined by Masters and Johnson (1970) to describe a strategy of selective inattention (Sullivan, 1953) by which the person focuses on something other than the sexual encounter. Spectatoring, can occur on a spectrum from healthy to pathological; it can be fairly benign, a symptom of trauma, and many gradations in between. The following questions will be addressed: Can a person in an extreme state of dissociation, who disconnects and leaves her body, watching the sexual encounter as if it’s happening to another person really consent to sex? Can a person decide NOT to dissociate if she felt it was unhealthy to do so? Clinical themes and discussion will follow.


Sue Kolod, PhD, is a training and supervising analyst and faculty member at the WA White Institute. She is Chair of the Committee on Public Information at the American Psychoanalytic Association and editor of the blog, Psychoanalysis Unplugged. Her article, You Say Seduction and I Say Coercion: The Gray Areas of Sexual Consent, appears in the 2019 issue of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.


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