Sensate Focus Sex Therapy

Sensate Focus

Sensate focus is an exercise that couples can do to enhance intimacy in their relationship. It is primarily used to alleviate anxiety related to intercourse. It is very effective in the treatment of desire, arousal, and orgasmic disorders. Typically, it takes 20-60 minutes 2 to 3 times a week for 6 weeks to complete the exercise.
Each session should be carried out in a private environment without the possibility of interruption. Ideally, the couple should be completely undressed. If this causes anxiety, undergarments may be worn during the first stage. Create a romantic environment with music/candles.
Week 1-2: The couple takes turns exploring the other’s body and face. The genitalia and breasts should be avoided. The purpose of the exercise is to pay attention to tactile sensation. It is the individual’s responsibility to tell the other person what feels good to them. Sexual intercourse and orgasms are not permitted during weeks 1-2.
Week 3-4: Begin with week 1-2 exercises. Breast and genital stimulation are included this week. Self-stimulation, mutual self-stimulation, and orgasms are also permitted.
Week 5-6: Begin with week 1-4 exercises. Intercourse is permitted this week. Start slowly in a comfortable position. If anxiety or pain occurs, try going back to exercises from weeks 1-4 until an appropriate comfort level is gained in order to attempt intercourse again.


Establish ground rules, which might include the following:
 Determine who will be the first giver.
 Establish whether you and your partner will be clothed or unclothed.
 Choose a location where you both will be comfortable, preferably not the bed.
 Dim the lights and play soft music you both enjoy.
 Use plenty of pillows or a comforter.
 If you wish, use baby oils, scented oils, lotions, or powder.
 Tell the giver what feels good and what does not.
Sensual massage omits the genitals and breasts, which are discussed in the sensate focus section.
Begin with facial caressing. Normally the giver sits and the receiver lies flat on his or her back with the head resting on the giver's thighs. With the hands well lubricated, the giver begins with the chin, then strokes the cheeks, forehead, and temples. Caress the face as if you were a blind person seeking a mental picture of your partner. Then explore the ear lobes, lips, and the nose before returning to massage the temples for complete relaxation. Rest, talk about the experience, and reverse roles.
Massage the remainder of the body tenderly and be attentive to your feelings. Then reverse roles.
Goals of the touching exercise include:
 to show dedication to enrichment of the relationship
 to express in new ways needs and desires
 to find out how each likes to touch and be touched
 to explore new patterns of pleasuring that do not always have to be sexual
 to help the relationship grow

The benefits of sensate focus include:
— Discovering new types of touch;
— Spine-tingling sensations;
— Increased comfort with physical intimacy;
— Better awareness of your lover’s body, as well as your own;
— A strengthened relationship;
— No fear of failure;
— Better sex communication;
— Heightened sexual excitement.

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