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  • In a couple, it's easy to get stuck in a position of not having much sex.

  • Often we stop trying because of something that goes a bit wrong.

  • Perhaps, there were some nasty arguments,

  • or moments of impotence, or some kind of akwardness or discomfort.

  • But what's worse is that failure in the past puts us off from ever really trying again.

  • We become avoidant and shy around the whole topic,

  • and then the situation gets really fraught, because a lack of physical contact quickly destroys trust and intimacy.

  • Before we know it, we're in real trouble.

  • There is one really relable way to break the deadlock.

  • A technique pioneered in the 1980s by those legendary american sex researchers Masters and Johnson.

  • It's called: sensate focus, and this is how you do it:


  • Firstly, stop all attempts to have sex.

  • The idea is that what is stopping good sex is fear,

  • and therefore you have to reduce any tension and expectations

  • by rewinding sexual intimacy to its very beginnings.


  • So, one night focus wholeheartedly just on one thing: kissing.

  • You can be as passionate as you like, but there should be nothing more.

  • You can press against each other, but there is no nakedness allowed.

  • It's like being back at school, making out, with all the accumulated excitement.

  • Oddly enough, not being allowed to have sex is pretty erotic.


  • Then, on another night, you can go a bit beyond kissing, but not a whole lot more.

  • It's like being back on an early date.

  • You can touch bodies, but not genitals or breasts, that's for the next time.


  • By which occasion you'll probably be getting pretty excited.

  • Again, you can do lots of heavy petting and making out,

  • but this time you could also go further and pleasure, and bring each other off, but, no more.


  • That's for the fifth stage of the sensate method, when at last you're allowed penetration.

  • But again, with a bow to adolescence sex, only for a moment, and with no expectation of orgasm.

  • You do that on a couple more evenings,


  • and then, hopefully, you can go all the way and you should be back to normal sex.

  • Though, at the slightest hint of difficulties, just take it back a stage.

  • It's ultimately a sign of how much we care about one another in relationships that sex can get so tricky.

  • The key is not to allow expectations to ruin things.

  • In this area of life, like pretty much every other,

  • it's extremely normal to think oneself abnormal

  • for things that are, in fact, poignantly common, just rarely discussed.

  • That's one of the main functions of art,

  • to show us what other people are going through and leave us feeling a little less bereft and freakish.

In a couple, it's easy to get stuck in a position of not having much sex.

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