The Stanford School of Medicine said sensate focus therapy is an exercise for couples to enhance intimacy and alleviate anxiety related to sexual intercourse.
According to the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), sensate focus can treat problems such as female anorgasmia, erectile problems, and low sexual desire.
It can help both sexes who have difficulty becoming sexually excited and reaching orgasm.
The Independent reported that it was pioneered in the1970s by sex researchers Masters and Johnson.
The main tenet of sensate focus is a ban on sexual intercourse or any genital contact until performance anxiety and fear of failure have diminished and trust has been established, said the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Stanford wrote in each session, couples should create a romantic setting and be completely undressed.
Discovery Health reported in the first stage, the couple takes turns touching each other, but breasts and genitals are off limits. The purpose is to establish an awareness of sensations by noticing textures, temperatures and contours while touching, or to simply be aware of the sensations of being touched by their partner.
Sexual intercourse and orgasms are not permitted during this stage, according to Stanford.
UCSB said this technique is designed to reduce anxieties about reaching orgasm by focusing more on what feels good to the couple. People often mistakenly believe the goal of sex is orgasm. When individuals get anxious about reaching that goal, they can miss out on the joys of simply being with their partner.
Discovery Health wrote in the next stage of sensate focus, couples can begin mutual touching. Intercourse is still off-limits, but breast and genital touching is allowed. Couples should concentrate on the sensations resulting from different pressures in different areas.
The next stages of sensate focus continue with mutual touching, said Discovery Health. Then move to the female-on-top position without attempting penile penetration into the vagina. After a session or two at this level, couples are usually comfortable enough to proceed to full intercourse without difficulty.