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Sex and Relationship Therapy

Helping You Navigate The Path To Deeper Relational Understanding And Intimacy.
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Sex Therapy Exercises

Sex Therapy Exercises That Work

Increase Emotional Connection

Instead of asking questions about what happened that day, focus on understanding what it was like for your partner to be who they are. This will make them feel valued and heard in the relationship.

When you hear a statement like, “My boss was such a jerk today,” ask, “What was that like for you?”

Get into the habit of wanting to know about your partner’s internal world.  

Scheduling Fun Time

Don’t schedule sex, schedule fun times that may lead to sex.

Changing Expectations

  1. Write down what makes sex good for you aside from the physical pleasure.
  2. Think about all the good sexual experiences you have had. Show each other this list and decide together what your new set of expectations and values are for sex.
  3. Is good sex going to be determined by penetration and orgasm or by fun and connection, for example?

What Input Do You Want?

The first step is to stop having sex you don’t want to have.

This is a temporary step because, eventually, you will be able to have sex you don’t want to have every once in a while.

Right now, we want to eliminate the pressure to have sex, the guilt, and the frustration you have been feeling.

Reducing the pressure to have sex is meant to change the relational dynamics and negative associations with sex but also allow you the freedom and time to figure out what you want sexually.

As you proceed in this step, you want to take note of what you want.

Complete the following exercise and then share it with your partner.

Your partner will not be coming on to you or asking you for sex during this step of the process.

Think about what type of contact you want during this time. Is it ok for them to kiss you, touch you, hug you?

Where would it be ok for them to do so?

Also, remember that any connection can stop and start at any time. You can be touched and then be done with it at any time.

Talk to your partner about how it would be ok to tell them you don’t want to continue.

What Did You Do At The Beginning?

Think about when you first met. What did you do to get the other person to like you and eventually have sex with you? Did you show up in sweatpants, without a shower, and in a foul mood? Probably not, because that would not get you laid.

We often think that sex should happen after we have secured the relationship. But this is not true, especially for responsive desire. Responsive desire opens up with connection, harmony, beauty, fun, ease, playfulness, and adventure. You may think you shouldn’t have to work for it, but you won’t get laid. It’s as simple as that. Responsive desire doesn’t respond to loyalty duty or payback. It doesn’t matter how often you have done the dishes; if you aren’t creating a connection, responsive desire will be shut down.

How much of what you did in the beginning are you doing now? Are you inviting the person out? Are you thinking about them and what they like? Do you flirt with them? Do you show interest in them? Do you try and have fun?

If not, you need to start putting in the effort. Some people will tell me they are willing to put in the effort if the other person can guarantee rewards. This is not the attitude one adopts at the beginning of the relationship. There are no guarantees.

Begin to see your interactions as a series of first dates that are on repeat!

Sex Therapy Exercises That Don't Work!

Sensate Focused/Guided Sensory Exploration

Sensate focus exercises are techniques used in sex therapy to enhance intimacy by focusing on touch rather than sexual performance. These exercises involve partners taking turns to touch each other, emphasizing the sensations felt rather than arousal.

 

Sensate-focused exercises might work with issues that involve performance anxiety, but they don’t work for someone who wants to increase their sexual desire.

Typically, mismatched libidos are caused by continuous sexual experiences that are motivated by wanting to make sure that one’s partner is not upset or to make them happy.  They are not motivated by wanting to have sex for themselves.

Because the underlying dynamics in this scenario involve forcing yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing, forcing yourself to do sensate-focused exercises is more of the same and will have similar results.

Hugging Until Relaxed

During this exercise, partners hug each other gently and hold the embrace until both feel a noticeable relaxation, fostering a deeper emotional connection and reducing stress.

This is not going to work with people who feel pressured to have sex because they don’t want to engage in anything that could lead to sex.  They don’t want to open up that door with their partners.

Solve Disagreements Before Bed

This exercise encourages couples to address and resolve conflicts before they sleep. This practice aims to prevent the accumulation of resentment by ensuring that issues are discussed and managed promptly, promoting better communication and a peaceful night’s sleep.

This won’t work if someone is triggered or highly anxious.  Discussions often escalate, lasting hours until both parties can find a resolution.  Discussing triggering topics before bed is a bad idea.

Erotic Communication

Communicating about sex before relational dynamics are healed often leads to more disconnection and conflict.  Typically, one person wants to talk about sex, and the other is tired of talking about sex.  Both people are triggered.  One because they want something they aren’t getting and need to talk about it, and the other because they feel that sex is the only thing their partner wants to talk about.  

Questions like “What do you like sexually?” or “What do you fantasize about?” or “When do you feel the sexiest?” are not going to work when the relationship is strained, and there are woundings in regards to the sexual relationship.

Light Candles, Take A Bath, Masturbate

Many people advocate for this style of intervention for people who are struggling with sexual desire.  But this type of stuff is not going to work because the cause of the lack of desire resides in relational dynamics.  

Tantric Exercises: Soul Gazing, Breath Sync, Conscious Sexuality, Sensual Eye Contact

During this exercise, both partners sit close, match their breathing rhythms, and focus on deep, synchronized inhalations and exhalations. This synchronization can help reduce stress, enhance emotional connection, and promote partner harmony. It’s particularly effective in couples therapy to build intimacy and improve non-verbal communication.

Again, this doesn’t work when there is a strained relationship, and conflictual and relational dynamics must be changed.