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Sensate Focus


The First Stage of Sensate Focus

In the first stage, the couple has two sessions in which they take turns touching each other's body, but with the breasts and genitals off limits. The purpose of the touching is not to be sexual but to establish an awareness of sensations by noticing textures, temperatures and contours while doing the touching, or to simply be aware of the sensations of being touched by their partner.

The person doing the touching is told to do so on the basis of what interests them, not on any guesses about what their partner likes or doesn't like. The couple is instructed that if sexual arousal does occur, they are not to proceed to intercourse.

Masters and Johnson recommend that the initial sessions of sensate focus be as silent as possible because talking can detract from the awareness of physical sensations. Of course, the partner being touched must let his or her partner know, either verbally or nonverbally, if any touch is uncomfortable.


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