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In last week’s blog, I described my Giver/Receiver exercise for couples. The utility of this exercise is not just in the doing, but also in the reflection on what happened for you and the debriefing with your partner. This is a chance to begin making things different. When I’m working with clients in therapy, we debrief the exercise together and strategize about how to use the information that comes from it. To set you up for success to do this on your own, I’m going to lay out a way to use the exercise in a progressive way, addressing some of the main tenets of a successful sex life along the way. The next several blogs will take you through these ideas and will show you how the exercise can help you master each one.

The Nine Phases of Taking the Stress Out of Sex

There are some key skills and attitudes that are fundamental to a healthy and thriving sex life. The Giver/Receiver exercise can be used to practice and integrate all of them. In my therapy practice, my clients are working to develop all these skills at once, but here you can move through them as separate phases. Focus on one at a time and learn how the exercise can help you master each one. The directions for the exercise never change, but you use it to emphasize the development of different competencies in order to grow.

As you follow along with these blog posts, give yourself plenty of time with each phase. There is no quick fix here. You might decide to spend a certain number of weeks with each area of focus. Or you could decide to do the exercise a certain number of times before you move on to the next step. There is not a test to know when to progress to the next phase. Use your judgment about how to proceed to make the most impact on your unique challenge. All these concepts are at play at the same time, so it’s a matter of intentionally focusing on one thing at a time to help you master and integrate each skill.

As you go along, add the newest area of focus on top of the others, so that by the end, you’re working to integrate all the different aspects of a great sex life at the same time. Realize that while I will lay this out in phases building on each other, you may find that you’ll want to work in a different order, depending on what challenges come up for you and your partner. You and your partner can focus on different aspects, too, since your work is different. Work with this information in the way that seems most helpful and relevant to you and your situation.

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