Sensate Focus Technique

I love my partner, but I'm finding it difficult to get aroused. What can I do?

If you’re like us, you’ve experienced the stigma around talking and learning about sex and admitting your curiosity. In these articles, we hope to add excitement and enjoyment in your life, by answering the sexual health questions you're too afraid to ask. Have additional questions? Contact our friendly "sexperts".

The sensate focus technique is a therapeutic tool used to help treat sexual dysfunctions and problems

First developed by world-renowned sexologists, William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the technique is widely used by clinical sexologists and licensed sex therapists for:

  • Female Orgasmic Disorder (Anorgasmia)
  • Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (Low desire)
  • Erectile Disorder/Dysfunction
  • Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (Low libido)
  • Delayed Ejaculation (inhibited ejaculation)


This technique is designed to reduce any sexual anxiety by removing orgasm as a goal of sex and replacing it with pleasure sensations and rewards. It is also designed to increase communication between partners and helps each partner learn the other's body and pleasure responses. If you are interested in learning more about this technique we recommend using an educational video to help guide you and your partner through the treatment process. Many people report that this technique is most helpful when it is done in concurrence with treatment from a licensed and certified sex therapist.

There are many different variations of this technique. Here are some basic steps to help guide you along.

Step 1: No sex
Commit to not having any type of intercourse until you get to the end of this process.

Step 2: Gentle Touch
For the first exercise, remain fully clothed as you each take a 10-minute turn feeling the other person all over their body. Don't speak or attempt to give your partner direction. You should focus solely on the sensation of touch, both when you are giving and receiving touch.

Step 3: Repeat
Wait about a week, and then repeat the exercise. This time, do it in the nude in a relaxed environment but avoid touching breasts, nipples, and genitals.

Step 4: Give positive feedback
Wait another week, and then repeat the nude touching exercise, this time while including nipples, breasts, and genitals. Again, do not speak. But if your partner touches you in a pleasurable way, let them know by moaning softly in pleasure or squeezing their hand.

Step 5: Mutual touching
After another week with no physical contact, move on to mutual nude touching. In other words, the turn-taking is over and you can now do anything you want except oral sex and vaginal or anal intercourse.

Step 6: No-pressure sex
You should now be about 4 to 5 weeks into this process. At this point, you can engage in 'non-demand intercourse', which means intercourse without the expectation of achieving orgasm. In fact, if one of you is about to climax, slow down the action and enjoy these moments with your partner.

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