The word ‘foreplay’ is a little problematic when you break it down. It suggests that everything before penetration is a warm-up to the ‘main event’. And while this might be the case for the small percentage of women who can G spot orgasm, the so-called end game isn’t the best part for everyone. Chances are you enjoy the build-up – the gentle strokes, the soft kisses, the swirling tongues – as much, if not more, than the act of sex itself. So we’re dedicating some time to exploring nerve-spiking sessions before sex: enter sense stimulation.
Sensory play is about heightening and focusing on the body’s senses to feel more nuanced pleasure. It can mean blocking out one or two – like sight or sound – to help you zone in on others, like taste or touch. It can be paying attention to only one to add new depth to your understanding of how that can feel. It’s a powerful tool to bring a different sort of dynamic into the bedroom. Involving a whole range of skin-tingling extras including heat, lubricant, ice, blindfolds and audio erotica, here’s how to incorporate “sense-stim” into your sex life.
Most of us are visual creatures, so sight is the prime example of how removing a sense can alter your sexual experience. A blindfold, even if it’s just a scarf or a tie, can bring a delicious wave of anticipation to a heated session. When you deprive your body of the ability to see, the brain can temporarily compensate, making sensations like touch or sound more intense. This ultimately builds anticipation and heightens the whole encounter. It’s important to set ground rules, but once the person blindfolded is comfortable, try stroking sensitive areas in unpredictable patterns. You can try describing what you see to the person who can't, like a sensual version of dirty talk. Focusing on sensitive areas means longer, sexier foreplay, and is a fun way to intentionally (torturously?) delay gratification.
At Dipsea, we explore sex through sound, and think audio stories are a great way to feel sexually empowered, confident, and turned on. Try combining the practice of listening with another sense, such as touch, to build on the erotic experience. Immerse yourself in one of Dipsea’s spicy narratives and ask your partner to trace your body lightly with their fingers or a feather. As things heat up in the story, you can even choose to mirror the character’s choices you find sexiest (this works solo, too!).
Feeling inspired? Try whispering your own erotic story directly into your partner’s ear, maybe a favorite fantasy, or something you’ve always wanted to try with them, or what you’re about to do to them. The only rule? No touching until you say so.
Scent can transport your mind to a memory, place or conjure a mood, so it’s no surprise it can also help turn you on! Try adding a fragrance into the mix the next time you want to get down: massage oils and scented candles are an easy way to stimulate this sense. Take a cue from Pavlov and stick with the same diffuser scent or scented candle when getting down with your partner or playing solo, and it might even work to spark your arousal. You’ll probably already have an idea of what notes work for you – but if you want a starting point: jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood have all been connected to sensuality.
Taste has its own erotic role during sex and it’s not just hot, salty kisses. Have sticky fun with a partner with a penis by pairing oral with a lollipop, hard candy, or even with a fresh stick of mint gum. Don’t sideline food as a way to explore sensation play either. Smother your favorite flavors over your or their skin (Just a word to the wise: be careful about what enters your vagina, it’s a sensitive ecosystem down there), or pour a bit of your favorite drink or sparkling water into the hollow of a chest or collarbone and slurp and suck. Need other ideas less cheesy than the obligatory whipped cream? Try honey, it’s sticky and transparent, and in a squeezable bottle is perfect for careful application.
Touch is the queen of the senses when it comes to sex – it’s pretty much essential, especially if an orgasm is your end goal – but push past the usual finger treatment by toying with temperature. Whether you want to experiment with a drizzle of hot wax from a candle over the stomach (Pro tip: give the wax 12 inches or more before it hits the skin so it’s not scalding), or a chilly ice cube down the spine, test out a different sensation together.
Interested in consensual dabbling with pleasure-pain? Try a prickling pinwheel, nipple clamps, pressing or scratching nails into the skin, or some satisfying slaps (hold the “You’ve been a bad girl” if that’s not your thing! Whoever said slapping was limited to that variety of play?). This can all be extra hot when combo-ed with sightlessness. Being touched with a paintbrush, silk, or even a vibrating massager can take on majorly new meaning. See section one, combo, repeat!