Love can add a powerful dimension to sexual relating. When two people experience genuine feelings of affection for each other along with sexual desire and arousal they can reach unparalleled levels of sexual enjoyment and satisfaction. Unfortunately, old associations learned from porn can make it difficult for a former porn user to easily tune into feelings of love when his genitals are aroused. Porn use conditions a direct stimu­lus-response relationship between pornographic mental imagery (the stimulus) and genital sensation (the response) that leaves out the heart altogether. As one man shared, “Porn connects a penis with a peephole. Love has nothing to do with it.”

Learning to connect your feelings of love and affection with the pos­itive sensations you experience in your genitals is a two-step process. First you must establish a link between your experience of loving and your awareness of your genitals. Then you need to find a way to remind yourself of that link and feel it when you are with a partner.

The following exercise, “Hand on Heart Anchoring,” can help you accomplish both of these steps. It is a relatively easy technique for form­ing and reinforcing a positive mental association between genuine feel­ings of affection (which we encourage you to imagine as residing in your heart) and the sensations in your genital area. You start by learning “Hand on Heart Anchoring” in a relaxed setting, either on your own or in the presence of a partner. Although there is some touch to the genital area, active sexual stimulation and orgasm are not involved. Later, you can use a variation of the “Hand on Heart Anchoring” technique when you are relating sexually with a partner to awaken and enhance feelings of love during sex.