Sensate Focus Stages

Sensate Focus Stages

There are stages of Sensate Focus that have rules that are to be followed. These stages are prescribed to you by your therapist with suitable modifications depending on your problems. Please follow the stages and discuss any doubts with your therapist. Do not get tense or worried, the exercises are designed to help you relax and have fun along the way. 

Stage 1: The Warm-Up

The purpose of the first stage of SF is to get both partners comfortable with each other's bodies. Erection and lubrication/arousal is not the end goal for this stage; however, if they happen it's a bonus.  Try not to pay excessive attention to erection and lubrication. Mutual masturbation or any masturbatory activity is discouraged in this stage. But, if you are wanting a release, it's allowed to be done in private to help with sexual relief. 

(1) Establish which of you will be the giver and receiver in every session - both partners can take on either of the roles during the exercise. The feedback given to each other must be constructive, i.e a “how can you do better” approach. You shouldn't complain about being bored and should wait your turn to be the giver or receiver.
- A giver is the one that gives pleasure which also builds intimacy (you shouldn't complain about being bored, you will have your turn). 
- The receiver is the one that guides the giver by communicating their preferences (make sure the feedback is constructive "how can they be better: give examples "I would like it if you would...") 

(2) In stage 1, there is a ban on intercourse and genital touching (also called the ‘bikini-area ban or the swimsuit area ban’). The purpose of this is to take away the pressure of genital arousal (erection and lubrication) and to help both partners understand that there are many areas other than genital areas that can be pleasurable to touch. Hence,
- A man cannot touch a woman's breasts, vagina, and/or buttocks. 
- A woman can't touch the man's buttocks and/or penis area. 

(3) The receiver is to lie on their tummy in the prone position. From head-to-toe (except in the banned areas) are available for pleasure giving which can be a touch, a massage, a kiss, a hug, or anything your partner prefers/likes. The receiver should help the giver by guiding them about how they like to be pleasured.

(4) Approximately after 5-8 minutes (without alarms, no stopwatches please) the receiver turns over on their back and the front of the body is available for pleasure giving which can be a touch, a massage, a kiss, a hug, or anything your partner prefers/likes. 

(5) After another 5-8 minutes, the giver and receiver switch roles and repeat the above with any variations that you would like.
- Variations include: you don't have to lie down, the exercises can be performed in other rooms besides the bedroom. 

Tip: For receivers that are ticklish, the giver should use the flat part of their finger or hand while touching, use continuous touch and not intermittent touch, and use firmer touch rather than a fine touch.

Stage 2: The Heat

In this stage, genital touching is allowed but intercourse is banned. Mutual masturbation/masturbatory activity can be done in this stage.

- Begin with a stage 1 like touching, and progress to include genital areas as part of pleasure giving
- Engaging in oral sex/clitoral stimulation is allowed, and depends on you and your partner's preferences. 

Stage 3: The Love aka Sexual Intercourse

The last stage is sexual intercourse.

There are various sex positions that allow for mutual pleasure during and after experiencing Sensate Focus Therapy. Following are common sexual positions that therapists provide to help couples comfortably experience stage 3.

(1) Male on top
Also called the lithotomy or gynaecology position, this position encourages the woman to support the hollow of her lower back with a pillow. The woman will bend her knees and separate her thighs, before guiding the penis into the vagina. 
(2) Female on top
After foreplay, and when the male’s penis is erect, the woman lowers herself onto his pelvis. She then guides the penis into the vagina, before moving in all directions before lowering herself down to a comfortable position and continuing.
(3) Side position

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Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. The condition can affect anyone at any age.

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Causes

Remember - the blood flow (BF), the nerve supply, and the balance of sex hormones - a concern in any of these can lead to Erectile Dysfunction. Erectile Dysfunction can be caused by a physical (a ‘hardware’ problem) or psychological (mental health effects) - mental health can play a huge part.

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Did you know that Erectile Dysfunction can be an indication of cardiovascular concerns? Chronic health conditions affecting blood flow can lead to Erectile Dysfunction.

Premature Ejaculation
Premature Ejaculation

If a man lasts less than 2 minutes after penetration (all or most of the time), and/or if it leads to frequent dissatisfaction for him or his partner, he may have Premature Ejaculation.

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Causes

The causes of Premature Ejaculation include:
(1) Physical Factors: Medical conditions, chronic health conditions, or sexual disorders are some physical causes of Premature Ejaculation.
(2) Psychological Factors: Depression, Anxiety 

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Did you know that Erectile Dysfunction can be a cause of Premature Ejaculation?

Premature Ejaculation can lead to other sexual dysfunctions, but that is not a wide-known fact.

Vaginismus
Vaginismus

Vaginismus is a condition in which the muscles in the vagina tighten up during penetration.

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Causes

Vaginismus is commonly caused by psychological factors. Women don't have control over the tightening, and it can be uncomfortable. Due to the physical discomfort, the anxiety or fear response gets worse, and this can lead to a cycle of avoidance.

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Did you know that there are four types of Vaginismus?

(1) Primary Vaginismus

(2) Secondary Vaginismus

(3) Situational Vaginismus

(4) Global Vaginismus

Low Sexual Desire
Low Sexual Desire

Low sexual desire, commonly referred to as low libido, is a decrease in sex drive.

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Causes

Individuals that experience low sexual desire due to various causes are impacted physically, mentally, and emotionally by the symptoms the condition can cause.

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Like other most common sexual disorders, low sexual desire can be influenced by many aspects, such as hormonal imbalance, increased age, side effects of medications, chronic illnesses, and addictive or compulsive behavior.

Couple Sex Problems
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This would include concerns with infertility and/or conception. Sexual disorders such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, and Vaginismus can lead to challenges with pregnancy attempts.

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Causes

There could be various causes of infertility, such as sexual dysfunctions, chronic illnesses, and mental health conditions leading to low sexual desire and a low sperm count. A sexual health professional should evaluate the causes of failed pregnancy attempts because there can be a variety of causes.

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Porn Addiction
Porn Addiction

Porn addiction refers to a person becoming excessively dependent on pornography leading to a disruption in their everyday life. This could include their job, relationships and at times, their day-to-day lifestyle.

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Causes

The causes behind porn addiction could be:

(1) Negative sexual experiences

(2) Incorrect understanding of porn and its uses

(3) Initially trying to learn about sexual experiences, resulted in dependency

(4) Experiencing mental health disorders such as OCD (an anxiety disorder) or depression

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Watching porn isn’t a bad thing, nor should it be associated with any shame. However, compulsive porn watching can have negative effects on your sexual, physical and mental health.

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