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Sensual Play For Education, Fun, and Pleasure!
by Steven M. Cohn, Ph.D.
Dr. Steven Cohn

The purpose of this pleasurable, Sensual Play Session is the reduction of performance anxiety which is a prime factor in arousal and erection challenges as well as a factor in the reduction of overall sensual and sexual pleasure. Sensual play focuses on reorienting how couples approach intimacy which permits couples to move away from unrewarding ways of being together. Sensual play allows couples to virtually reinvent the physical side of their relationship.

Although for ease of journalistic style, the Sensual Play Session is described from a heterosexual perspective, homosexual couples can also benefit from sensual play.

Begin by scheduling a one-hour play session. Be aware that during sensual play you are advised to abstain from sexual activity. No matter how aroused you may become, touching of genitals or any other sexual interaction is off limits. This prohibition is to establish a focus on sensual touching and to permit the integration of new ways of physical exploration while avoiding ingrained or stale relational patterns.

To begin sensual play: With both of you nude, your male partner (you may reverse the gender and begin with the female if you choose) lies down on the bed on his back.

You (female) begin exploring your partner's body in any way that interests you. Remember: Genital touching is off limits. Your focus is not to try to turn on your male partner, or to give him a massage, or to try to think about what he will enjoy. You should pay attention to the temperatures, textures, and contours of his body and focus on the sensations you are feeling as you discover his body. This intimacy exercise is an adventure where you are experiencing the physical world through your fingertips. Ask your male partner to roll onto his stomach so that you may explore his back.

The male partner's task is to simply take in all sensations. He is not to touch your body or comment on how he is being touched (unless painful or ticklish). He is not to evaluate your touch ("I like that" or "Why is she doing that"), but rather, he should focus on what sensations he feels as he is being touched.

Continue for at least 15 minutes. Change places and repeat the same Sensual Play Session with the female partner lying down on the bed and the male partner touching her.

The idea is to have fun, get to know yourself and your partner, awaken your sensual connections, and rekindle your erotic relationships.

If you are in a relationship where you are being either emotionally or physically abused, or if you are concerned that you might harm yourself or someone else, please phone the 24-hour-per-day Crisis Line at 215-7082. A trained counselor will help you through your crisis.

Dr. Cohn is the Director of the Portland Couples Counseling Center. He specializes in treating couples from all backgrounds. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cohn, please phone 650-7230, ext. 3.

If you would like to receive a more detailed description of this Sensual Play Session, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Dr. Steven M. Cohn, 6221 NE Fremont, Suite 301, Portland, OR 97213.