Let’s talk about something that can spice up your love life- libido.
We all go through changes in our desire for intimacy, and there are so many reasons behind it. Maybe your lifestyle is changing, you’re going through different sexual peaks, you’re experiencing stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalances, or maybe you’re worried about how you look or perform in bed. Phew, that’s a lot to handle, right?
If you’re experiencing difficulties in the bedroom, it’s natural to feel stressed and unsure about how to move forward. That’s why we want to introduce you to Sensate Focus Therapy! It’s a great way to ignite the spark and help you and your partners figure out what works best for both of you and what turns you on.
How does this magical therapy work, you ask? In this guide, we’ll answer all your burning questions and more. By the end, you should feel like you’re back on the same page as your partners and ready to rekindle your fire.
What exactly is Sensate Focus therapy?
It’s a technique in sex therapy that involves touch exercises to help sexual partners overcome negative feelings and anxieties related to intimacy. It’s all about improving communication and rediscovering the joy of sensual exploration. The idea is to “re-map” your body’s pleasure system, and instead of solely focusing on genital touching, pay attention to what it feels like to have other parts of your body touched, kissed, and pleasured.
It typically involves four main steps or stages. These stages are designed to gradually build closeness and comfort between partners as you take turns giving and receiving. Here are the four steps of Sensate Focus therapy:
- Step 1: Non-genital touching done with little to no clothing. One partner is the toucher, while the other is the receiver. The receiver focuses solely on their own sensations without returning the touch. They have the power to pause or stop if something is too intense, uncomfortable, or simply not enjoyable.
- Step 2: Introduce areas such as the breasts or genitals but not intercourse or kissing. The focus remains on slow exploration and internal reaction. You can hold hands to increase partner connection but avoid reciprocating sensual touch. (OPTIONAL: You can also add a step between steps two and three where you incorporate lotion. One way to enhance sensory awareness is to change the medium of touch! Adding cream or oil introduces new textures and, therefore, new sensations).
- Step 3: Mutual touching begins, which can reduce anxiety by allowing both partners to touch each other. Continue to exclude intercourse to maintain a focus on sensual rather than sexual experiences.
- Step 4: It’s time for intercourse! There is no rush, though, only when you are ready.
*It is important to note that the progression through these steps can change for every person! Some people need more time and multiple sessions to feel comfortable progressing to the next stage, while others may progress more quickly. The key is to move forward at a pace that feels comfortable and mutually agreed upon by all parties involved.
What are some examples of Sensate Focus exercises and techniques?
- Start on your own! You don’t have to introduce a partner though the earlier you do, the more you can grow with each other. If you feel anxious, though, and need some time to get back in touch with your body, take the time to do so.
- Try the touch exercise only on one small part of the body. Experiment with pressure, texture, and temperature to evoke different sensations and experiences. Pay extra attention to how it feels to touch vs. be touched.
- Go to a new place; many novice things can awaken sensuality. If you’re feeling stuck or uncomfortable in your usual sexual location, see if changing the setting helps!
- Pay attention to temperature, texture, and pressure. See if any of those things resonate with you…Maybe you want to be touched harder. Perhaps you want to incorporate some feather play or an ice cube. Remember, this isn’t about judgment but finding out what feels good.
Mindfulness has become quite popular lately, and for good reason. It simply means being aware of the present moment- your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. In Sensate Focus Therapy, mindfulness plays a crucial role. It allows you to focus on your own experiences rather than chasing an orgasm or worrying about performance. It helps reduce anxiety and brings you closer to the pleasure of the moment.
During these exercises, you should be focused on mindful touch, exploring each other without any performance pressure or expectations. The goal is to be fully present in the moment, letting your body respond naturally to the sensations you feel. It’s like a journey of self-discovery and connection with your partners.
Who came up with the Sensate Focus?
Dr. Virginia Johnson and Dr. William Masters, pioneers in sexuality research, created this therapy in 1970. They wanted to help couples let go of performance anxiety and expectations that can hinder intimacy and create a relaxed environment where sexual pleasure can flow uninterrupted.
Sensate Focus therapy is a mix of exposure therapy (where you learn to associate positive experiences with touch, sex, and your partners), mindfulness (shifting your focus away from distracting thoughts), and sensate touch (exploring textures, temperatures, and pressures mindfully). It’s a winning combination that helps you appreciate the present moment, making every touch a delightful experience.
Does it actually work?
The sensate focus has been clinically and behaviorally studied for decades and has an impressive effectiveness rate of 83%. That’s no small number! It has been around for quite some time and is popular for many reasons. Medical journals have covered its benefits, and it has worked wonders for a wide range of people. So, whatever your background or sexual health, chances are you could benefit from trying it.
What are the benefits?
It can help with common issues like erectile dysfunction (ED) and sexual performance anxiety. It can improve the quality of your sex life by increasing arousal during sexual activity, and if sexual performance is your nemesis, fear not! Sensate Focus therapy is a commonly used technique to tackle this challenge head-on.
One of the best aspects of the Sensate Focus is that it’s a sloooow process. It allows you to ease into the exercises at your own pace, building comfort over time, not rushing or pushing beyond your readiness.
When it comes to enhancing your sex life, finding what works for you is key. Not every therapy is a one-size fits all solution. However, given the impressive effectiveness of this therapy, we think it’s worth giving it a shot. Who knows, it could be just what you need to spice things up and improve intimacy!
60% of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives. We’re on a mission to change that.
What if you didn’t have to search to find a body that looks like yours, a sex act that turns you on, or a guided exercise that helps you tell your partner exactly what you’ve been craving?
What if YOUR pleasure came first?