Focus and Sensory Awareness
Sensate focus is the art of focusing on the senses, and the
sensations and emotions they unlock.
We often become so anxious or intent about rating our sexual
performance or achieving orgasm that we don’t enjoy the lush, full
experience of sexual engagement. Not only does this mean losing out
on much of the pleasure of sex, but ironically it can prevent
orgasm. Sensate focus exercises can help us let to go of these
inhibiting anxieties and intent by tuning into the present.
The Erogenous Body
Your body is endowed with many pleasure centers. Discovering
your individual sources of pleasure is one of the thrilling aspects
of gaining sexual self-knowledge.
Exercises for Developing Sensate Focus:
The Cardinal Rule
To benefit from sensate focus exercises you must accept that you
are not trying to have an orgasm. The purpose is simply to
expand your awareness of sensation, without any other objective or
pressure. Be completely in the moment, sensation by sensation.
Exercises for Developing Sensate Focus:
your left foot in your hands. Feel the warmth and texture of your skin,
the weight of your touch, the shapes of your hand and foot. Are there
that ache, want to be touched? Are there areas that feel relaxed?
Begin to explore your foot with touch, focusing on
the feeling of its
textures. Try touching
in different ways; light, tremulous,
firm with long
and notice how each
touch feels. What do
you enjoy? Massage
any areas that
breathing with your
You can touch with more than your hand; try using your elbow, hair,
Allow yourself to express emotion through your touch.
Expand Your Range Patiently
Over a period of five days, expand this exercise
to your whole body, including the genitals on the last day. Remember: stop
before you have an orgasm.
not your objective; sensate focus is.
Repeat the exercise with a partner. The individual who touches
concentrates on active giving; the individual whose foot is touched
on passive receiving.
Now repeat the exercise with the individual who receives touch being as
consistently directive as possible: clearly tell and show your partner which
sensations feel pleasurable. How can their touch be made more pleasurable?
Do you want deeper or lighter pressure, to be touched here or there, longer?
Be clear about
your desires, and take charge of getting as much pleasure as
A sensation map is a chart of your body’s erogenous sensitivity zones. It’s
a great tool both for developing your self-knowledge and for increasing
intimacy with your partner. You can learn a lot about yourself and each
other doing this fun and enlightening exercise.
For this exercise you need:
-A large sheet of blank paper. Construction paper will do – anything you can
lay out on the floor.
-A large mirror.
-A comfortable, private, well-lit place where you won’t be disturbed.
Draw your nude body on the paper. Draw your front and your back, using the
mirror where you can’t see.
Starting with your feet and working to the top of your head, slowly touch
your body and note which areas enjoy what kind of touch. You can rate the
areas sensitivity to pleasure on a scale from 0 – 10. As you discover your
sensitivities, map them on your drawing.
You can also use words, colors, and any other means of notation to describe
Done? Study your map. Did you leave out any part of your body? If so, map it
Now your partner will draw you, and then touch you. You give them feedback
on a scale of 0 – 10 on what feels pleasurable, and they’ll chart a map of
your erogenous zones.
When you’re done, switch roles.
Take time afterward to talk about what you’ve learned.
IN TO YOUR SENSES: SENSORY AWARENESS
long for touch and physical contact from the moment we’re born. Our
vulnerable clay responds to the molding language of touch long
before we become verbally articulate. Children who are not touched
often do not attain developmental social plateaus that are essential
to our wellbeing.
One of the main reasons relationships fail is the inability to
share meaningful touch.
Jean-Louis: “No one ever expressed
physical affection in my family. I cannot remember being hugged,
touched, or held, even as a very young child. When I first went to
bed with my girlfriend, I had no idea why she was so unfulfilled
with me; as far as I knew, getting an erection was all sex was
about. What else was there?
Gratefully a series of experiences brought she and I
emotionally closer, and with her courage in showing me her feelings
through passionate and tender touching, I began to understand that
touch is a form of communication I had never learned. It was
difficult for me to open up; I had no idea this level of sensation
and vulnerability existed. Eventually, I craved this intimacy more
For me, the real importance of touch is in conveying
emotion. That’s always what I look for; what touch expresses,
conveys, reveals. It’s a world of emotion beyond words.”
remember being touched very lovingly and naturally by my parents as
a baby. Then when I was around five, they stopped showing me any
physical affection. I was bereft and very jarred by their sudden
distance. They pushed me away, saying "you're grown up now" when I
tried to hug or touch them. So it seemed that being an adult meant
not touching or showing feeling through physical contact.
I became very self-conscious and
restricted about touch, almost hyper-conscious about it. Then it
became second nature to avoid it and I didn't think about it anymore
until I had children of my own. I had to really work not to repress
their affectionate natures in the same manner that I was repressed
but, I'm so happy we're all connected by easy affection, and that
they're comfortable being themselves. My husband also noticed my
greater physical ease and comfort and it's made our relationship
better, warmer, closer."
Exercise: Basic Touching
across from your partner. Feel the air between you.
out your hands with the palms flexed. Feel the energy in your hands
and in the space between you.
open your senses to receive touch, connecting at the very tips of
your fingers. Let one partners hands move down the others fingers,
palms, wrists, inner and outer arms, elbows and inner crook, biceps,
with your fingertips. Imbue your touch with different physical
qualities; respond with to the different shapes and textures you
feel. Express your emotions as they arise while staying attuned
to your partners’.
touch each other simultaneously.
Repeat the exercise with your whole
body – caress your partner with your face, legs, back, soles of
feet, backs of hands, eyelashes, breasts, etc. Take your time
exploring how different parts of your body can move to create touch
contact. Stay attuned to each other while you do.
When you’ve finished, share with each other what this felt
Explore touching yourself and each
other with different materials and textures; feathers*, flowers,
silk: let your imagination roam!
feathers, please. Respect our fellow beings.
Many of us learn to repress natural sounds during sex, or to become
self-conscious about them.
The more you can let yourself go and allow sounds
to emerge during sexual expression,
the more whole your experience is,
often, the more pleasurable.
Our partners can understand our responses and needs better when they can
hear our feelings, too.
Children are born vocally free. As we grow older, we learn to speak and utter sounds that
are restricted to our throats, and
from this high point in our bodies.
During sex, we need to
let the sounds come from our
chest, belly and groin.
Finding the Source of Sounds
Put your hand on your throat and hum. Can you feel where the vibration is
in your body?
Put your hand on your chest and hum. Can you feel where the vibration is?
Take a deep, relaxed breath, put your hand on your belly, and project
your hum from there. Can you feel where the vibration is?
Now put your hand on your groin, breathe, and project your hum from there.
Can you feel where the vibration is?
do these different centers sound and feel different?
Exercise: Adding Deeper Sounds
Try this same exercise with a sexual sound, a moan or grunt. Don't worry if
you feel forced or self-conscious at first. That's okay. Just stay with it.
you come to your groin, keep practicing the exercise until you feel a
VIDEO: Karma Sutra Love Sounds
By Enlightened Sex with the marvelous
www.Tantra.com for more inspiring
is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Yet although our
society is predominantly visually oriented, this doesn’t mean that
we truly see ourselves or our partner as they are. We have become
accustomed to looking superficially, judging and evaluating based on
shallow standards of beauty and desirability. We don’t see deeply
into other peoples’ eyes nor do we see the subtlety of their body
language. We observe surfaces and miss complexities. Visually, we
function as if detached from our souls.
Eye contact is intrinsic to intimacy. Making - love while
looking into your lover’s eyes is much different than having sex
with your eyes closed, isn’t it? When we see our partner’s
hesitation or pleasure, tension or abandon, fear or longing or joy,
it guides our actions toward one another and connects us in spirit.
It abjures us from selfishly abandoning ourselves to taking our
pleasure while excludes their needs, and creates a vulnerable bridge
between our deepest selves.
Sight Mirror Exercise: Starting with Yourself
For this exercise you will need:
- A full mirror
- A hand mirror
- A private, comfortable space to work undisturbed
yourself to visually adore your body as you gaze on your nude self
in front of a full mirror. Caress yourself with your eyes. Admire
your uniqueness; your skin and posture that expresses who you are,
your sags and lines that proudly tell the story of your life.
at your genitals in a hand mirror. Study the fabulous colors,
textures and shapes. Countless magnificent poems, sonnets, works of
art and sculpture and photography are dedicated to the beauty of the
human genitals, and yours belong in the pantheon!
yourself lovingly. As you explore your body, watch your sexual
response build and see how intense, involved, and beautiful you
Shared Sight Exercise
In this exercise you will share visual caressing with a
partner. The person to be caressed first should be naked. You may
both be if it makes you more comfortable together. It can, however,
be powerful to experience this exercise naked while your partner is
your partner to see and caress you with their eyes from the bottom
of your feet to the top of your head. Feel the touch of their eyes
upon your skin.
them your genitals and breast/chest. Open your beautiful folds and
crevices to their sight.
yourself erotically and fully allow them to see your reaction. As
you explore your body, let them watch your sexual response build and
see how intense, involved, and beautiful you look.
The Open Eye
This exercise appears simple, but like many things that do, it
has unexpected depths.
across from your partner in a comfortable position.
each other’s eyes. Relax, and try not to blink or block your
Don’t let your concentration wander.
Continue for as long as you can without growing physically tired.
preferences are very individual and very personal. It is not one of
the senses that modern mass culture encourages developing – after
all, what are you smelling when you’re watching television, texting,
or using your computer! – but scent is pivotal to sexual response.
Pepita: I really don’t like stinky
genitals on a man. Unwashed dick is rank to me! Presented with the
same penis after a shower I’m delighted to suck and nibble. My
partner is the diametric opposite; he loves my pussy swampy. The
more pungent the better. At first we couldn’t relax with each other
at all because we both thought the other was weird. Now we get it;
to each their own. He showers for me and I exude for him. We’re both
What parts of your body to you enjoy smelling?
any parts you don’t enjoy smelling? Do you want to change that? Are
you comfortable after a day without washing, or to you prefer your
body smelling clean? Do you like the scent of fresh sweat? Of your
own breath, or your partners, when it’s minty or sweet or sour?
Try smelling the natural secretions of
your genitals. Do you like the smell of these secretions more after
you’ve washed, or when they’ve marinated on your body awhile? What
about your partner’s genitals?
different foods affect your body smells? For example, do you smell
differently after consuming garlic or asparagus? Meat or vegetables?
What scents touch off your erotic
feelings - smells that you associate with memories, or which excite
your pleasure centers by arousing, uplifting or relaxing you?
Explore the possibilities by approaching your body care differently
and by immersing yourself in the scents of different oils, herbs and
spices, plants, and environments.
I usually like anal sex. It’s my favorite form of penetration.
Recently met a woman who likes it a lot, too, but I’m put off by her
fecal smell. This isn’t like me; I’m mostly pretty at ease with
bodily functions and smells. Her smell is stronger and more pungent
than anything I’ve encountered before. Any suggestions?
The three main factors that affect fecal odor are diet, health, and
1. If your partner is
unwell, this might cause an unusually strong anal odor. (An unusual
body odor of this nature is worth reporting to her doctor).
Much more commonly, the cause of body smells is diet. Diet affects
not only our fecal odors but the smell of our breath, sweat, urine,
and other exudations. A change in diet will often result in a
different smell. Going Vegan is the frequent remedy for a strong
fecal smell, because a diet of fruit, grains and vegetables will
usually bring about a much lighter fecal smell than a meat diet.
A change in body smell will probably
not happen the moment someone alters their diet; the body takes a
while to cleanse. If your friend is willing to change her diet, you
will probably notice a change in her fecal scent within a few days
to a couple of weeks.
3. Lastly, simple
hygiene can make the difference. The skin and hair around the anus
can build up an unpleasant odor l if not washed regularly. This is
easily remedied by washing this area daily and if desired, before
A solicitous note: make sure you are
using a kind of lubrication that is specifically designed for anal
sex. Rectal tissue is thin and not very elastic, and it requires a
thicker lube than traditional vaginal-oriented products (and a
Taste is absolutely primary to sex, yet it’s another sensory
factor that we tend to neglect. Just as you want to enjoy your
lovers’ body tastes, you should feel comfortable and confident about
your own taste. Try tasting your genital secretions: do you like
your taste more after you wash, or when you haven’t washed for a
Do you like the taste of your skin, your sweat, your breath?
What factors are present when you like your tastes, and when you
Do you like the taste of your partners’ skin, sweat, breath?
What factors are present when you like you’re their tastes, and when
you don’t? Are you comfortable telling them?
What you eat, your state of health, and hygiene are the main
factors influencing the taste of your genitals, skin, and mouth. If
you want to change these factors, you can adjust your eating habits,
life-style, and hygiene routine accordingly. Light, plant based
foods tend to give the body and its’ secretions a lighter smell.
Applying a consistent approach to healthy living on all levels will
improve your health and body odor, and simple hygienic habits such
as washing your genitals regularly, brushing your teeth, and using a
natural mouthwash will alter your body tastes.
If basic hygienic
care does not improve your bodily tastes, then there may be
a medical cause that should be investigated. Inform your
doctor of unusual or unpleasant body odors.
Expand Your Palette
What other tastes do you find sensually arousing? Do you enjoy
the flavor of minty chocolate melting in your mouth, or warm maple
syrup? Maybe spicy or salty flavors excite your senses? Licking warm
honey off your fingers or your lover’s body? The possibilities are
Try the following partner taste experiment:
Select several delectable taste treats:
chocolate syrup, honey, fresh fruit – whatever appeals to you (be
specific). Decorate your partners’ body lovingly with them one
at a time, and devour them. Mmmmm!
And of course -make sure that the edible delectable you place on
your partners’ body are neither too hot nor too cold for their
A World of Sensation
Most of us don’t tap into our sensory capacity as fully as
possible. The hustle and bustle of daily living becomes a dulled,
habituated pattern of experience, devoid for the most part of the
resplendent powers of sensory -awareness that we actually possess.
It’s as if we exist in a gray world instead of one vibrating with
all the colors of the rainbow.
We forget ourselves.
Developing sensate focus and getting in touch with your senses is an
antidote, lifting the dull grey veil of obliviousness by enabling
you to become more grounded in your body, connected to your partner,
and vibrantly alive to the pulsing sensory universe within and
Copyright © 2015 Shain Stodt. All Rights Reserved.