Sexperts Reflecting on Sex: Advantage of Mirrors

Sexpert David Matteson explores the fresh experience a mirror can add to the bedroom.

Last summer, I moved into a new apartment in the trendy, downtown neighborhood of Thornton Park. In addition to a glamorous array of people who eat, drink, and be merry along East Washington Street, the area is known for its historical homes and apartments leasing for steep rates.

When I first stepped into my new apartment, the history seemed less trendy and more tacky. The living room is wood paneled, there is some sort of odd fan unit in the kitchen, and worst of all there is a mirrored wall right behind where my bed now resides. The wood paneling and fan unit quickly began to grow on me, but the mirror continued to throw me off for some time. I can just imagine the original owner of this clearly 70’s home getting freaky with a girl who had an enormous afro. When I mentioned my distaste for the mirror to my father (coincidentally my landlord), he jokingly said, “Well I’ve never had complaints from my past tenants.”

That being said, I initially tried to cover up the mirrored wall. I tried tapestries and wall hangings. I even tried to pry the individual tiles off with a crowbar—turns out that the glue they used in the seventies is much stronger than the gorilla glue we use today. Alas, after several failed attempts, I resigned myself to the fact that the mirror was here to stay and I needed to just deal with it.

Since I moved in, every sexual partner I have had has made some sort of offhanded, wanton remark about the mirror. Its presence felt like a dirty scarlet letter for some sort of kinky perversion that I honestly do not have. I began to fall into the habit of averting my eyes from its mirrored surface while I made love—finding it too distracting to concentrate on mine or my partner’s echoed image while in the swing of things.

My appreciation for the mirror did not begin until I started dating my current boyfriend. The first few months of our relationship I continued to practice my averting eyes technique while having sex—focusing on him, rather than the damned reflection.

But about three months ago, I had a reflective awakening. We were in the middle of a heated engagement, when I looked at myself in the mirror. The angles were what caught my eye first. How could I possibly have gone my entire life without seeing this view? Every sexual position, including those that are tried and true, felt new in some way. I started to become obsessed with the mirror—a newfound voyeuristic tendency had been unleashed.

As my appreciation grew for the mirror, I began to question the nature of this new fetish. The primary question was, “If we have sex in front of a mirror, are we losing some sort of connection with our partner? Are we figuratively having sex with our own reflection?”

I started to ask friends about their rendezvouses in front of mirrored surfaces. I gauged mixed results—some loved to watch themselves as they had sex, others had never tried it, and for the most part people found them to be too kinky or distracting.

After several nights of reflective sex, I realized that I was primarily watching my own body in the mirror. It was not like standing in front of a mirror while getting dressed, or obsessing over my roots in the bathroom mirror. This was different. I was fascinated as my body contorted and re-arranged; as my hair fell in a tussled manner; as my eyes flared and dilated with excitement. Whenever I did glance at my boyfriend in the mirror I realized he was looking at himself, too. I panicked as I irrationally thought that we were each sexually engaged not with each other but with our reflected selves.

Then, when our reflected eyes met, my nerves settled. We were both excited and stimulated—the mirror was not a distraction, nor a stand-in partner, but actually enhancing our connection. I was able to see myself the way he sees me, and vice versa. Our sexual cravings and desires were broadened by this questionable interior design choice.

I am not saying that you should immediately go and buy a mirror to hang over your bed. There is a certain level of comfort that needs to be achieved before you and your partner attempt mirror sex. But mirrors can serve as means of enhancing your sexual relationship, which is also the strongest way of deepening your emotional connection.

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