Sensate Focus Therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on enhancing intimacy and sexual pleasure by promoting mindful and non-demanding touch between partners. It was developed by Masters and Johnson, pioneering sex researchers, as part of their comprehensive approach to treating sexual dysfunctions.
The primary goal of Sensate Focus Therapy is to reduce performance anxiety, increase sexual communication, and improve overall sexual satisfaction. It is often used to address a variety of sexual difficulties, including erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, orgasmic disorders, and relationship issues.
Here's how Sensate Focus Therapy typically works:
- Gradual progression: The therapy involves a series of structured exercises that gradually progress from non-sexual to sexual touch. Partners start with non-demanding touch, focusing on exploring and understanding their own and their partner's body sensations.
- Sensate focus exercises: These exercises involve specific guidelines for touch and exploration. Couples are encouraged to engage in pleasurable activities that do not involve genital contact initially. This allows partners to become more comfortable and focused on the sensations and pleasure of touch rather than performance or goal-oriented sex.
- Communication and feedback: Throughout the therapy, open communication and feedback are essential. Partners are encouraged to express their preferences, desires, and boundaries. This helps build trust, emotional connection, and understanding of each other's needs.
- Sensory awareness: Sensate Focus Therapy emphasizes developing awareness of sensory experiences, focusing on the present moment, and avoiding distractions. Partners may be encouraged to explore various forms of touch, such as light strokes, massage, and caressing, to enhance sensory awareness and pleasure.
- Transition to sexual intimacy: As the therapy progresses, partners gradually incorporate sexual touch and activities. The emphasis remains on pleasure and exploration rather than achieving specific goals or performance.
Sensate Focus Therapy is typically conducted under the guidance of a trained therapist or counselor who specializes in sex therapy. They provide support, education, and guidance throughout the process, tailoring the exercises to the specific needs and concerns of the couple.
It is important to note that Sensate Focus Therapy is not a quick fix and may require multiple sessions to achieve desired results. However, it can be an effective approach in addressing sexual difficulties, improving intimacy, and fostering a healthier sexual relationship.