Sensate Focus

Sensate focus is the art of focusing on the senses. 

We often become so anxious or intent on achieving orgasm or performance that we don’t enjoy the full experience of sexual engagement. Not only does this mean losing out on much of the pleasure of sex, but it can prevent orgasm. Sensate focus exercises can help us let to go of inhibiting anxieties and intent and tune into the present.


The cardinal rule when you begin sensate focus exercises is that you are not trying to have an orgasm. Rather, the goal is to expand your awareness of sensation, without any other objective or pressure. Be completely in the moment.






Exercises for Developing Sensate Focus:


For Yourself

Hold 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 areas  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 contours and textures. Try touching in different ways; light, tremulous, firm with long stokes, etc., and notice how each touch feels. What do you enjoy? Massage any areas that feel tense, tired, or hungry for touch. Coordinate your breathing with your massage strokes.


You can touch with more than your hand; try using your elbow, hair, other foot, mouth, etc.


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. Orgasm is not your objective; sensate focus is.


With Partner Receptive

Repeat the exercise with a partner. The individual who touches concentrates on active giving; the individual whose foot is touched concentrates on passive receiving.


With Partner Directive

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 you can.


Now switch roles.



 Sensation Map

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.


By Yourself

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 your sensations.


Now study your map. Did you leave out any part of your body? If so, map it now.


With a Partner

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.


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