After the delivery of your newborn, you have been so frazzled with breastfeeding, catching as many winks as you can, and then returning to work that both you and hubby have placed sex onto the backburner. It has been many moons and now it is not just you, but hubby too is fearful or even resistant to getting back onto the bandwagon.
Just how can you resume sex after a long break?
I would like to introduce Sensate Focus, which is an emotionally focused approach bringing attention to your own varied sense experience. Rather than view orgasm as the sole goal of sex, it is aimed at increasing personal and interpersonal awareness of self and the other’s needs.
The couple may touch or massage each other’s bodies excluding breasts and genitals. They are encouraged to enjoy and become increasingly aware of the texture and other qualities of their partner’s skin. Intercourse is disallowed. Participants concentrate on what they themselves find interesting in the skin of the other, not on what they think the other may enjoy. Talking is discouraged as it can detract from the awareness of physical sensations.
If the couple is able to feel some degree of comfort with stage one, they can move onto the next phase where touch now includes the breasts and genitals. Sensation and gathering information about the partner’s body is encouraged. Intercourse is still forbidden. Couples may use a “hand riding” technique of placing their hand over their partner’s hand in order to show what they find pleasurable in terms of pace and pressure. Learning about the partner’s body is still the goal rather than pleasure.
Couples are asked to try some mutual touching. This practice allows for a more natural or real life form of physical interaction (since most people don’t do just one-way touch during sex), and to help each partner shift attention to a portion of his or her partner’s body and away from watching his or her own response. Intercourse is still off limits.
Couples who are comfortable enough may proceed to full intercourse. Again, the focus is not on orgasm but pleasure and sensation.
Introduced by Drs. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Sensate Focus approach is a treatment for women and men who experience arousal difficulties or any kind of performance anxiety when it comes to intercourse. For men, it could also help with erection difficulties due to fears of losing it.
By moving your attention from penetration to non-penis aspects of sex such as touching, talking, hugging, kissing, and so on, both of you can learn to appreciate a new set of sensual possibilities. By consciously reconnecting physically as well as emotionally, couples who find it easier to talk to each other, express emotion and encourage each other will also recognise that their sexual difficulties or awkwardness around sex will dissipate.
While Sensate Focus was originally developed to assist couples experiencing sexual problems, it can be used for variety and to heighten personal awareness with any couple. By establishing new ways of relating to each other, partners may soon find themselves having some of the best sex of their lives.
If you think it might be worthwhile to try this, share this article with your partner.
By Dr Martha Lee, Eros Coaching.
Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. A certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality, she provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events.
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