Sex, for many people, is a key area of their romantic relationship. It’s an opportunity to bond and show your partner love and affection. It’s pleasurable and fun and can help you feel more secure in your relationship. Problems in a relationship often end up affecting sexual interactions as well. Here are some sex therapy exercises to try at home if you’ve experienced a lull or would just like to improve your sex life.
Exercise 1: Hugging until relaxed
Hugging until relaxed is pretty simple. The partners remain fully clothed and give each other a full-body hug. The couple stands on their own feet physically and emotionally and then embraces. You should hug your partner as they hug you back. The idea is to connect mutually not have one person being the caregiver and the other the receiver.
There’s no genital contact in this exercise and there should be nothing erotic here at all. Sex is completely off the table so neither party should view this as a prelude to sex. The purpose is to hold each other until you relax. It takes real purposefulness to do this exercise, someone must initiate it and the couple should aim at doing this exercise 2-3 times a week. Hopefully achieving a relaxed state while in full contact becomes easier to reach over time and you can move to exercise 2. Hugging has been found to be a very efficient exercise in both couples and sex therapy.
Exercise 2: Head on pillows
This one is also not erotic and needs to be approached with a mutual understanding that it is not a prelude to sex. Here’s how it works: you both lie down, each with your head on your own pillow and facing each other. Quiet your mind and heart and look into your spouse’s eyes. Touching is okay, but try to stay around the hands, face, and other non-erotic areas to avoid distracting yourself from the exercise. It can be challenging to stay relaxed and intimate. Any awkwardness and lack of connection show up during this exercise. With your mind and eyes, try to touch your partner’s heart, all the while soothing your own anxieties with self-talk. Keep in mind what your purpose is while trying to maintain self-control.
Exercise 3: Feeling while touching
If you’ve done exercise 2 enough to get really comfortable, to the point of relaxing and enjoying, then it’s time to move on to feeling while touching. Just like with exercises 1 and 2, this one is not a prelude to sex. Partners should have a mutual understanding of that right from the start. Like in exercise 2, the partners lie down. The emphasis here is on feeling your partner while touching them. One partner touches the other while both of you focus on how that feels. Once a person touches their partner for about ten minutes, they can switch roles. The focus is not on technique, but on feeling each other. Refrain from touching genitals and other erotic areas to avoid distraction. Start with non-genital areas like hands, arms, and face. You’ll need the discipline to stay focused. Talking, candles and music are okay or not depending on how you and your partner feel. The emphasis is on genuinely feeling your partner while they follow your touch. It becomes a shared experience as you commune while touching each other.
The best practice is to start with exercise 1, hugging until relaxed then exercise 2, head on pillows, and finally, exercise 3, feeling while touching. This isn’t just for people whose sex lives are in trouble. There’s always room for improvement. Here’s to being intentional about strengthening our relationships.
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