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A Sex Therapist Breaks Down Keeley’s Masturbation Scene on ‘Ted Lasso’

[There are spoilers ahead for season 2, episode 2 of Ted Lasso. Read with caution!]

Ted Lasso is not a sexy show. Aside from a few kisses and the insinuation that two people had sex (looking at you, Sassy and Ted) there are hardly any actual sexual moments in this comedy. So when I turned on season 2, episode 2 and saw a scene of Keeley Jones masturbating to a video of her boyfriend, I was somewhat shocked—in a good way. Ted Lasso characters can be freakishly wholesome and sexual at the same time. No one is one-dimensional!

But by far the most intriguing part of this masturbation scene is what Keeley was masturbating *to.* Quick recap: When Roy finds Keeley in her room “having a wank,” she throws her phone across the room to prevent him from seeing what’s on her screen. Eventually, she reluctantly shows him what she was looking at, and it’s a video of him from his retirement press conference. And he’s sobbing. Like, uncontrollably.

Roy is, understandably, a little confused about why Keeley is turned on by something he views as a “pathetic” moment in his life. And she explains that to her it wasn’t pathetic, but it was him showing vulnerability, and that was hot!

The journalist in me needed to know more. Like, is it normal to be turned on by your boyfriend sobbing? Should we all be recording our significant others at their saddest moments for use at a later date? I called Dr. Erika Evans-Weaver, a Pennsylvania-based marriage and family therapist and clinical sexologist, to get the scoop.

In short, yes, what Keeley did is very normal. Dr. Evans-Weaver says the key here is that the character Roy is not super emotive. And when he does express his emotions, it’s usually through anger. “It’s really the idea that this person is showing an emotion other than anger. And being vulnerable in that way can be really sexy,” she explained. “Because it shows the dimensions, the other elements that exist within, that you know exist within a person, but you rarely get to see.” Essentially, it can be really exciting to see a side of your partner that you’ve never seen before.

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Evans-Weaver says there is a fetish connected to this, too. It’s called dacryphilia, and it’s the idea that people are aroused by seeing tears or hearing the sound of crying. But, she cautions, you can’t assign someone a fetish; They have to declare it for themselves. So without more info about Keeley’s sexual desires, we can’t (and shouldn’t) make assumptions.

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The show treats the moment with humor and then moves right along. It doesn’t shame Keeley for her desires, and it’s mostly used as a way for Roy and Keeley to talk about something bigger. (She wants him to take a gig as a football pundit because she thinks it’ll give him a sense of purpose. He doesn’t want to take the job because he thinks it’s stupid.)

It’s almost like flipping the genders of the damsel-in-distress trope, Evans-Weaver says. Roy is the one who needs help, and Keeley is trying to be there for him. “That was an opportunity for her to feel more needed,” Evans-Weaver says, and that can be arousing for people too.

In fairness, men have always been turned on by the whole woman-in-distress cliche. There’s a whole movie industry to prove it! Hello, every princess movie ever made. So it’s only fair that women get in on the action (sorry, I had to).

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