Leone Centre Glossary

Sensate focus exercises in psychosexual therapy

Sensate focus exercises

Sensate focus exercises are an element of psychosexual therapy, designed to help individuals and couples enhance their intimacy and sexual satisfaction.

Common challenges

Many individuals and couples experience difficulties in their sexual relationships, ranging from performance anxiety and lack of intimacy to diminished sexual desire. Sensate focus exercises address these issues by encouraging a deeper connection and improving sexual communication.

Understanding sensate focus exercises

Sensate focus exercises are structured activities that guide couples through stages of physical touch without the pressure of sexual performance. These exercises are conducted under the guidance of an experienced therapist and aim to rebuild physical intimacy and trust. Key benefits include improved communication, enhanced physical awareness, and a reduction in performance anxiety.

Sensate focus exercises are a therapeutic practice that involves partners taking turns touching and being touched in a mindful, non-judgemental manner. The focus is on the sensations experienced rather than sexual arousal or performance.

How therapy helps

These exercises help individuals and couples by:

  1. Reducing anxiety around sexual performance
  2. Enhancing physical and emotional intimacy
  3. Improving communication and understanding of each other’s needs and desires

How therapy works

Sensate focus exercises typically involve three stages:

  1. Non-genital touching to build comfort and awareness.
  2. Genital touching without the expectation of intercourse.
  3. Progression to more intimate physical interactions as comfort levels increase.


What are sensate focus exercises?
Sensate focus exercises are therapeutic activities designed to enhance intimacy and reduce sexual anxiety through mindful touching.
Who can benefit from sensate focus exercises?
Individuals and couples experiencing sexual difficulties such as performance anxiety, lack of intimacy, or diminished sexual desire can benefit from these exercises.
Do sensate focus exercises require a therapist?
While not mandatory, guidance from an experienced therapist can help ensure the exercises are performed correctly and address clients specific concerns.


  1. Psychology Today – Sensate Focus
  2. NCBI – Sensate Focus and Sexual Anxiety
  3. Good Therapy – Sensate Focus
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision