There are few things in life as satisfying as an “out of body” orgasm: when you seem to lift up above yourself…only thing better I can think of is several of them, coming on like waves, intensifying each time. Well, one way to be sure you hit that level of bliss is by aiming for ‘sensual sex.’ That’s when you’re feeling all five senses during the act. In fact, if you want to up your game with your partner, intentionally incorporate all five senses the next time you’re getting busy. You just may find you’re connecting on a much deeper level, and who doesn’t want more pleasure, which may ultimately lead to more intimacy? Are you in? Keep reading.
Sensual sex is also known as sensory sex. It’s the act of incorporating all five senses into your lovemaking. By using touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing, you’ll likely be more aware of each sensation and reach more orgasms, which can have all kinds of significant impacts on our physical and mental wellbeing. We all know reaching climax can reduce stress and improve mood, so why not bring on all the O’s you can? Heightening sexual pleasure is actually easier when you turn on all the senses. So let’s break them down and see why each one matters and what you can do to “come to your senses,” so to speak (yes, pun intended).
When it comes to love languages, many of us prefer physical touch. Touch gives us a sense of being cared for and loved, as emotional benefits. But physiological benefits include lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Keep in mind that our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it can tell us all kinds of valuable information about the sexual experience. Try playing with your partner’s body to find the parts they like having touched the most and be sure they know the parts that make you tingle when touched.
Know HOW they like being touched, too. I’m much more aroused by soft, barely a whisper, kind of contact, but my partner likes a back scratch that makes it feel like my nails are scraping off skin. To each, their own, so ask, and then deliver. This is much like gift giving–you’re not supposed to give the gift YOU’D want, but the gift THEY’D want. And if the relationship is right, you’ll be able to ask the same of them.
You can incorporate toys if you’d like, from a light feather or leather to an ice cube or hot candle wax (carefully). Switch up the sheets, using satin to make it feel more luxurious, or wear something silky to bed. Bonus–it’ll make you FEEL sexier, too. Go beyond the erogenous zones–and use more than your fingertips to touch. A kiss on the neck can make some people go over the top in arousal levels. For others, it’s one finger drawing slowly up the spine. Close your eyes (or dare I say, get out the blindfold) to intensify the feeling of touch.
Another option would be to take a hot bath together, even better if you add salts to soothe the skin. And honestly, this is all stuff you can even do on your own if you’d like to either up your arousal before partnering up or if you’re just looking to satisfy yourself with self-sex.
We all know certain music can get you in the mood, but did you know it can actually trigger your brain in the same way that food and drugs can? And if you have a special song you heard on that memorable first date or was playing during your first kiss, playing it either to get you in the mood or during foreplay can do wonders for upping your arousal levels. There’s music from different times in your life that will trigger memories and take you right back to those days, which can also help set the mood.
For me, the song “Shake You Down” will always take me back to my college years, and I can’t help but smile, remembering the man I loved then and the intimate memories together that it triggers. John Coltrane and the Dave Matthews Band do the same for other men I’ve loved. The point is, if there’s a theme song to your relationship, play it to get that motor running. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a favorite song. This morning, I simply said, “Hey, Google, play music to get me in the mood,” and was pleasantly surprised by the jazzy, mellow tune the AI chose.
Beyond music playing during intercourse, what’s being said can also help set the mood. There’s nothing sexier than hearing the one you love whisper certain things into your ear, whether it’s foreplay or in the act. Or, try talking dirty to each other. It may feel forced or odd at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes (unless it doesn’t, and then it’s totally fine to try something else). Sighs, moans, or grunts of glory may work just as well. All of it can help guide your partner to do what pleases you and vice versa.
You know that old song line, “You say it best when you say nothing at all”? Well, that couldn’t be more true when using sight as arousal. With a simple look, you can let your lover know you’re in the mood. Or with a specific outfit. Heck, sometimes, all it takes is a pair of shoes. My guy says he knows his cue is when I take off the jewelry. We send out messages with our actions and appearance, and what you do with yours can be incredibly hot. Using visual details to up your sex game will build up anticipation for what’s to come.
Wear what your partner thinks is sexy every now and then. I get that a t-shirt or tank top is comfy, but if you want a night that’ll have you floating, leave those in the dresser and put on something sexy. It can be silk or lace lingerie or one of his business shirts if that’s his favorite look on you. And ACT sexy, too. You don’t have to be swinging around a pole to get his attention; you could be rubbing lotion on your legs. Just give him an eyeful.
Watch a movie together or an erotic film. It doesn’t have to be porn these days. Plenty of streaming series will get you in the mood with certain scenes (Bridgerton, season 1, episode 5, anyone?). Or play dress-up together. Role play can get very arousing. And don’t forget the lighting. These days, smart bulbs come in various colors, and you can control how bright or dim you’d like them. And candles are still cool, or more accurately put, hot, as far as I’m concerned.
Certain scents can take you back to a very precise time and place. They can trigger memories of favorite experiences and change a mood instantly. Working scents into your sex life can also trigger certain emotions. Say you take a trip out of town with your love, let’s say to the coast, and you wear a certain fresh linen perfume you love. Wear it every minute of that trip, and make sure your partner gets a whiff of it at every turn. You can bet, years after you return, when they smell that scent, they’ll think of that trip. Maybe not consciously, but trust me, that’s just how entrenched the scent can become in the mind.
There are even aphrodisiac scents that trigger sexual instinct by building desire, pleasure, or performance. Those scents include pumpkin, lavender, vanilla, cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger. Your lover is sure to have a favorite. Maybe not those basic scents, but there’s a brand they definitely love. Find it and wear it. Often. Do the same with candle scents and oils.
Again, certain foods can be aphrodisiacs. They trigger sex drive and libido. Scientifically, they decrease inflammation in blood vessels and increase blood flow. We’re talking spinach, peppers, ginger, and green tea. And yes, oysters, crab, and dark chocolate, too. There’s a reason chocolate-covered strawberries sell out for Valentine’s Day. Know what’s even better than just eating the foods? Cooking a meal together. It can be a dance of sorts, whipping up a scrumptious meal you enjoy together. Even better if you swap bites, feeding each other.
Not into the cooking thing? Then find a favorite restaurant that becomes ‘your’ spot. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be dark. It just has to be THAT place where you two connect and return to when you want to bond again and again. And there’s no rule that says all the eating has to be in the dining room or diner. Take dessert to go and then enjoy it together in bed. Whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce can be game changers. Mix those in with the taste of your lover’s kiss, and, as Emeril Lagasse would say, bam! And keep in mind that there are also lubes and edible lotions that incorporate flavors. It’s worth a try one playful night.
Taking time during lovemaking to observe each and every scent can pump up pleasure in ways you may not have experienced before. Put in the effort to coordinate things in advance so that it’s not like running down a laundry list when the action is underway. You want to FEEL the senses, not fret over them. But experiencing and appreciating them all in one session will undoubtedly up the arousal level.
And remember, this doesn’t have to require a partner. Self-sex is a great way to explore what it is you like the most so that when you do add a partner, you can be clear on what it takes to get you to the so-called Shangri-la. One final note: Never feel like you HAVE to do any of this. That takes the fun out of it, for sure. Do what’s fun and feels good, and enjoy!