Jamie Laing, 33, is engaged to Made In Chelsea co-star and TV personality Sophie Habboo, 28, and the pair are set to marry in 2023 after getting engaged in December last year. The couple have a weekly podcast, NearlyWeds, and in a recent episode, Jaime made a revelation that was shocking to many. He told listeners that he used to picture his mum’s face during sex with Sophie, and that – after researching this – doing so is normal. Express.co.uk spoke to psychologists who said the same thing: picturing one of your parents’ face while having sex is “surprisingly common”. Why is this?
In an episode of NearlyWeds, which was released earlier this month, Sophie and Jamie discussed the latter’s “problem”.
Speaking to Jaime, Sophie said: “You had a problem where you kept having sex with me and thinking I was Penny [Jaime’s mum], and you told me, I was like, ‘oh god’.
“He went, ‘don’t worry, it’s really normal,’ I was like, ‘I’m sure it is’.”
Although Jamie no longer pictures his mum whole having sex, the Made In Chelsea star confessed: “There was a period for a bit, it’s an anxiety thing I think, lots of people have it.
“It’s like standing on the tube platform and thinking, ‘I could just jump in front of the tube’, or you look over an edge and think, ‘I could jump over the edge’. There are knives in the kitchen and you think, I’m going to stab myself’.”
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Jamie added that “it’s an OCD thing where I where I would suddenly go to my mum’s image in my head while I was having sex with you”.
Aaron Surtees, psychologist and hypnotherapist at City Hypnosis, agreed that intrusive thoughts can pop into one’s head while having sex.
He told Express.co.uk: “Picturing your parent’s face when having sex is surprisingly common.
“Jamie Laing is very brave to admit this, but it is actually quite common when you find the right partner and it has a subconscious meaning.”
Aaron continued: “When you find your perfect partner or the person you feel you want to spend the rest of your life with it is natural to feel an emotional connection similar to that of a parent.
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“The same chemical reaction occurs in the brain when we are with someone we love and feel safe with. Not only this, but the subconscious mind can also wonder and fantasise about your future together.
“It is the exact same emotional bond Jamie has with his wife-to-be that he has with his mum, therefore the subconscious feels the same connection and emotions which leads him onto picturing his mum.
“However, it all depends on the individual relationship with the parent and there could also be underlining self-destructive thought patterns in play.”
Charlotte Johnson, a sex and relationships expert at Mega Pleasure, added that “it is normal to have intrusive thoughts during sex sometimes which are usually unwanted and disturbing”, and thoughts of “of your mum or family members can pop into your head”.
The expert went on to say that some people can feel guilt when having sex, even with a partner, which could “lead to the thought of your mother or family members”.
She continued: “This might be because you are having sex with someone you shouldn’t or somewhere you shouldn’t, which can make you feel anxious about parents or other people finding out and having an opinion on this.
“This can lead to thoughts of your mother, as growing up she may have been the person to tell you when you should not be doing something.”
Aaron added: “Generally, most people in Jamie’s scenario may have inner anxious thoughts, have stress at that time, or perhaps are at a crossed roads in life.
“Practising mindful techniques such as hypnotherapy can ease anxieties and worries which should be actioned daily to help manage, cope with, and improve mental wellbeing.”
The psychologist explained another reason why someone might picture one of their parents during sex could be because of thoughts of potential future children.
He said: “As your subliminal mind gets working, it is normal to want to reproduce with your chosen partner, thus leading our thoughts to visualise on a subconscious level what your child or children will look like.
“As we are genetically similar to our parents, automatically visualising a version of our parents is understood psychologically, especially as one can use them as a natural benchmark or comparison.”
Both psychologists went on to say that picturing someone else – be it a family member, a celebrity crush, or someone completely random – during sex is not something to be ashamed of.
Charlotte explained: “It is completely normal to think of someone else during sex with your partner.
“Research has shown that 46 percent of women fantasize about someone else during sex and 42 percent of men do the same. Sometimes these thoughts run around your head without control which is perfectly normal.
“This does not mean you feel any different type of way about your partner but can just mean certain memories or reminders of other people have entered your mind at that time.”
Aaron added that picturing someone else during sex, such as “a celebrity or the delivery man”, is usually a “sexual fantasy” and “actually a positive thing”.
“It should only be a cause for concern if you are in a committed relationship but want to act on those feelings in real life with your fantasy,” he warned.
“This is where the lines start to blur.”