Sensate focus is one of the major contributions that researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson made to the sexual therapy field decades ago. It is a form of mindful touching. This treatment is the opposite of popping a pill for erectile instability.
It is an investment in long term sexual pleasure and a solution for men whose problem is primarily psychological, as opposed to physical. It takes time, and it takes cooperation between partners. But it works.
If you are struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED) and are partnered, sensate focus is one of the most effective strategies you can use. I have explained how your performance anxiety affects erections before.
If you are a man and you begin to have intercourse and then get focused on how strong your erection is second to second, your anxiety then mounts. You begin to think about failure, a sense of broken manhood, or letting your partner down. As you do, your erection gets weaker because your body senses danger caused by your own thoughts.
Sensate focus can help you overcome that process.
The following case is a perfect illustration of the strength of Sensate focus as a strategy for solving issues with erectile instability:
Bill and Julie are a couple in their 50s. Over time, as is common with men in their 50s and beyond, Bill began to have more than a few episodes of ED. Bill’s feelings of inadequacy about his sexual functioning made him irritable and miserable. Julie tried to calm him down, but she could not. She tried to reassure him that she was still enjoying their sexual activities, but to no avail.
Finally, Bill’s crankiness made her frustrated and upset too, and she insisted they find a sex therapist. They came to me for a virtual office visit.
I sent Bill off to have an evaluation with one of my favorite urologists, as I often do. (Some things can’t be done over the Internet. Lab tests needed to be performed, as did a physical exam.)
The good news was that there was nothing wrong with Bill medically, so I assigned Bill and Julie some sensate focus exercises. (I recommend reading “Sensate Focus in Sex Therapy” by Linda Weiner and Constance Avery Clark.)
Luckily, they were a well-organized couple; they did not fight and were cooperative. Neither of them had experienced any kind of trauma that had affected whether touch felt safe. So this technique was a good fit.
Bill and Julie each enjoyed the structured, mindful touching exercises, where the toucher focuses on the temperature, pressure, and texture of touch without worrying about whether or not he or she was pleasing the other. They did these exercises religiously for weeks on end.
After a few months of Sensate Focus, Bill reported a huge sense of success. He had trained himself to stay in the moment during sex. When he noticed that he was beginning to focus on how erect (or not) his penis was during a sexual interlude the previous week, he told himself to cut it out, to get back to focusing on erotic sensations. He returned to focusing on how pleasurable it was for Julie to touch him. And his erection returned. He was overjoyed to see that he had mastered his E.D..
If you are in a couple as stable, focused, and dedicated to each other as Bill and Julie are, and neither of you has had trauma that makes touch problematic, ED can be fixed by using this excellent technique. Sensate focus cannot do any harm, and it is very likely to help you have sex that is much more satisfying.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.