SENSATE BODY FOCUS: RENEW YOUR SEX LIFE
…we have found each other / thirsty and we have drunk up / all the water and the blood / we found each other hungry…
- Pablo Neruda
Sensate Body Focus was developed by pioneering sex researchers, Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson and was originally designed to help lovers overcome challenges such as performance anxiety, lack of desire, erectile dysfunction, rapid ejaculation and lack of orgasm. Challenges aside, Sensate Focus is now used as a powerful practice that encourages a deeper connection and intimacy between lovers.
Sensate Focus exercises encourage lovers to slow down and pay attention to the sensations felt when stimulated. Sounds easy, right? Reality is, most of us create busy lives and are often too caught up in reaching orgasm (aka ‘The Quickie’) instead of slowing down and paying attention to the subtle touches and sensations we feel when being intimate and present with our lovers.
Sensate Focus is about exploring new patterns of pleasuring that do not always have to be sexual. The focused exercises take out the pressure to respond to your lover and instead encourage lovers to relax and receive, removing the experience of goal-oriented sex.
When pursuing Sensate Focus exercises, set aside at least 30 minutes with your lover. Begin by establishing ground rules, which might include the following:
- Determine who will be the first giver (partners take turns being the giver and receiver). Establish whether you or your partner want to be clothed, or naked.
- Choose a location where you will both feel comfortable and relaxed. If you wish, use oils (organic coconout oil is a favourite), lubricants (Sylk is perfect) or natural lotions.
- Communicate to the giver what feels good, and what does not. Communication is achieved by guiding the hand of the giver. Limit talking until after the exercise is complete.
Limit stroking and touching to areas of the body that are not sexually stimulating. For example, begin by focusing your touch on your lover’s face or hands. Spend 10 minutes ‘giving’ to your partner. Now allow your lover to do the same to you, fully focusing on the sensations of being touched by your lover and your reactions to it. Try to be as quiet as possible, so you don’t take away from your awareness of physical sensations.
Touch, stroke and explore the sensual responses of the entire body, including the breasts and genitals, without intent to bring about lubrication and/or erection. Start by touching other parts of your lover’s body first, emphasising physical sensations, before gradually working your way to the genitals. Set boundaries as the receiver. Communicate to your lover where they can and can’t touch. Be specific.
This stage is all about mutual touching, making the interaction more natural in the touch exchange. Simultaneous touch also allows partners to focus more on each person’s body instead of paying attention to one’s own response. Couples should communicate what they enjoy and want sexually, without getting caught up in the goal of achieving orgasm.
"Some people know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough & sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace."
SEX FOR ONE: TOP 5 TIPS FOR BETTER SELF-LOVING
Masturbation is whatever you make of it.
It can be as simple as closing one’s eyes, delving into fantasy and reaching orgasm within seconds. Other times it can be a deeply spiritual practice that includes conscious breath work and a sacred sexual ritual. Neither way is right or wrong, what matters is that you enjoy the experience and feel absolutely amazing while you’re doing it.
But let’s face it, sometimes masturbation gets a little, shall we say, over complicated and ‘stuff’ comes up (pardon the pun). More often than not overthinking comes into play, or boredom kicks in, or your trusty old fantasy that you’ve used since high-school just isn’t turning you on.
Which brings me to my top five tips to better self-loving:
Sounds simple doesn’t it? The truth is, we live in a very busy world. We work hard, we play hard and even when we do get time to relax we often have a phone in our hand scrolling through the lives of others on social media. My advice: stop. Put your phone away. Lock the front door. Close the blinds (or leave them open, if that’s your thing). Breath. Enjoy being still. Get Naked. Enjoy the sound and scent of your own body.
2. Let Go Of Pressure
Let go of the pressure to orgasm within seconds. In fact, let go of orgasm as the goal and focus of your self-loving all together! Putting pressure on yourself to reach orgasm often destroys any chance of it ever happening! Let go, enjoy touching and exploring what feels good. You’ll find that as soon as you release the pressure of reaching the Big-O, the juices will flow! Simply Relax. Breath. Be patient. Self-pleasure and knowing what turns you on takes time. You are your own teacher, soon to be your own Master.
3. Get Creative
Yep, get creative with what turn you on. Not sure what turns you on? Every single person is different. What turns on your girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, or lover may not be what works for you, and that’s ok. Masturbation is about you, and only you. It’s your chance to use your imagination and get creative with your sexual fantasies. Or get creative with what porn you choose to watch or what erotic literature you choose to read. No-one has to know about your own personal self-loving session, only you. Make it your own. Get to know what gets your juices flowing.
4. Release Any Feelings of Guilt or Shame
Easier said than done, right? Every individual has their own ‘stuff’ that comes up when it comes to masturbation. It’s completely normal and Ok to spend time exploring why you feel guilt or shame surrounding the normal and natural practice of self-love. Childhood experiences, religious beliefs, parental attitudes, and past relationships often have a big influence on any guilt and shame that we feel. It’s important to know that exploring your own body is a normal, natural and beautiful part of life. But if you feel like shame and guilt are stopping you from moving forward sexuality coaching or therapy may help. Or perhaps just reading this article will help you move forward freely and give you the permission to pleasure yourself.
5. Explore Your Body
Explore what feels good, what turns you on. Notice how your body reacts to touch. Touch your whole body. Take a mirror, get to know what you look like. Don’t be afraid to watch yourself, watch how your body reacts in colour, size, texture, scent, natural lubrication. Enjoy taking time to feel what feels good.
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"Sex is always about emotions. Good sex is about free emotions; bad sex is about blocked emotions."
The orgasm is no longer a mere biological function used in procreation, nor the side effect of casual pleasure … it is the very centre of the human experience and ultimately determines the happiness of the human race.”
- Wilhelm Reich
In 2013 I made this multimedia clip with the intention of creating more awareness and a deeper understanding of the female orgasm. My passion lies in empowering more women to discover their own body, their own sexuality, their unique path to orgasm and ultimately, sexual freedom.
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I stand for SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT & for the rights of everybody to truly and wholeheartedly listen to their body and their desires and follow them.
I work 1:1 with people who are ready to dive into what their sexuality and desires mean to them and empower people to embrace and accept that sacred part of themselves.
What is your relationship to sex?
Are you honoring your deep, inner desires?
What does intimacy with yourself and others look like?
How do you want to move forward with your sexuality and feel truly empowered as a sexual being?
My goal is to empower people to talk more about sex, to reduce the shame that they feel when talking about themselves as sexual beings and to dispel the myths that surround sex.
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As a young woman I experimented with my sexuality freely, openly and with confidence. When reflecting on my first sexual experience it was with a girl, we were both 14 years old.
Entering womanhood I found myself enjoying sex with both men and women, but mostly men. I was lucky enough to fall in love with more than one man during my twenties and at age 24 I was blessed with becoming a Mum to my beautiful daughter. I was in a loving relationship and happy and yet I knew deep down that I still had more to experience, more to explore.
During these years of exploration and change I never questioned my sexual attractions; instead I embraced myself as a sexual being and encouraged others to do the same. My long-term relationship ended and I expressed my desires and fantasies openly to my new sexual partners and always felt a deep respect and love from those whom I shared myself with.
Within my friendship circle I was the friend who kissed other girls at parties, who openly admitted enjoying the softness of another woman. Often friends would ask me if I could see myself one day falling in love with a woman. My response was always the same, ‘Women are beautiful, I love being intimate and sexual with women, but I could never be in a serious relationship with a woman.’ I remember saying this over and over. At the time, it was the right answer to give.
Reflecting on my comments I realise that I had a fairytale fantasy to uphold; fall in love with the ‘man of my dreams’ and live happily ever after with a house full of children. Obviously the possibility of falling in love with a woman didn’t fit comfortably into this fairytale and so I dismissed the idea altogether.
Then, at age 29, I met her. At age 31 I am still endlessly in love with her.
She gets excited about hot sexy lingerie, day spas and happy endings. She smells like fruity shampoo and freshly sunned skin. Her body is smooth, tanned and clean. She leaves me love notes, takes me to 5-star luxury hotels midweek and embraces me with the utmost love when I’m being a moody high-maintenance bitch/goddess. She’s a woman, she’s not what I’m used to when it comes to commitment and relationship, but she’s now my Everything, my Beloved.
Being with a woman romantically and sexually doesn’t automatically put me into the ‘lesbian’ or ‘bisexual’ box. It means I am open to love and now open to sharing my life with another soul, regardless of their gender or sexual identity.
I believe sexuality is fluid, meaning that throughout our lifetime it is normal and natural for people to explore their sexuality, identifying as either all or nothing in the LGBTIQ alphabet.
Falling in love with a woman was unexpected; it challenged my fairytale ideal and challenged my sexual identity. And yet, it has been by far the most intimate, loving and passionate relationship that I have encountered and I feel truly grateful that I opened myself up and let her in, that she chose me, just as I have chosen her.
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"Anatomy of a Female Orgasm" collage art by bedelgeuse. Created for the 30th annual exotic art show.