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What is sensate focus technique in sex therapy?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
The cornerstone of sex therapy is a series of behavioral exercises called sensate focus exercises. These highly structured touching activities are designed to help you overcome performance anxiety and increase your comfort with physical intimacy. Sensate focus training also helps teach you about your partner's body as well as your own.

Initially, the couple agrees to refrain from intercourse or genital stimulation until the later stages of treatment. This helps dispel anxiety that's built up around sexual performance and allows you to establish new patterns of relating. Couples and therapists also discuss how frequently the couple will perform the assigned exercises between therapy sessions.

Occasionally, couples are reluctant to complete the homework assignments. This too can be revealing. By delving into the roots of this resistance, the therapist can better understand the origins of the problem.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.