The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


What is sensate focus?

Sensate focus is a specific behavioral technique that is used when there is considerable anxiety and stress associated with sex. In order to help people relax and learn to enjoy sexual intimacy, it is often useful to forbid them to actually engage in sexual activity. This takes the pressure off, removing the problem of performance anxiety or fear of discomfort. Instead, couples are instructed to express physical affection in nonsexual ways until they are completely relaxed. From there, they slowly increase sexual contact, moving in very small steps. In this way, negative associations are extinguished, to be replaced with positive associations. This technique has been highly successful with a wide range of sexual dysfunctions.


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