Five Fingers of Intimacy: How Sensation Play will Sensationalize your Sex Life
According to one online dictionary, the word “sensual” means “relating to or involving gratification of the senses and physical, especially sexual, pleasure.” So, remove gratification of the senses to generate physical, sexual pleasure and you don’t have much meaning. Sex becomes more of an amusing mechanical act.
Our human bodies are high-performance organisms. But we have to know how to tune them up and fully engage them properly to enjoy peak achievement. Sensation play may be just the exciting and pleasurable method to heighten sex and intimacy that you and your partner need. The diverse experiences individuals and couples can have with sensation play range from careful to kinky. All completely up to you or you and your partner.
What is sensation play? Well, quite simply it’s ensuring that you employ all of your senses while having sex. It’s easy to fall into the rush of physical contact with a lover and just move instinctively without fully experiencing or enjoying all of your tactile, auditory, aural, olfactory, and visual senses that have potential to be stimulated. Men, especially, can attack sex like they are scrambling up the side of a mountain and grasping for anything in their reach until they exhaust themselves attaining the peak and then slide back down the other side.
Mature lovers know that while expeditious coital moments can be a fun part of your arse-enal – can you say “quickie”? – making slow, elongated love can be far more pleasurable for both parties, if you take the time to develop your awareness of each sense and how each can come into play during sex. You don’t have to take an extended Tantric sex approach – a topic for another article – but just knowing that each sense is a tool to elevate you into the ultimate sexual experiences, when time and desire allow, by heightening your lovemaking one finger, one tongue, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils at a time.
Interestingly, in the 18th century – and this will be only a minor digression – some philosophers and naturalists believed that sex should be considered a sixth sense. Or a “sexth” sense, if you will. For instance, in his masterwork, The Physiology of Taste (1825), Frenchman turned American, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a food writer among other things, posited that physical desire should be listed with sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste.
Truthfully, the ultimate sexual experience should be the union of all five of the senses, each at their pinnacle of sensitivity. After all, what is great sex if not a fluid progression of sensual and erotic sensations?
“Becoming aware of the different feelings and sensations can help keep you in the present and heighten intimacy,” explains Liz Klinger, a certified sex educator and Co-Founder/CEO of Lioness in her 2019 article “What is Sensation Play?”. “And yes, this awareness can also help you have better sex and pleasure (and orgasms, too).”
Getting started is all pretty simple, actually. We’re not asking you to fill out other people’s tax forms for giggles! We’re advising you to jump into the sack with your lover and explore all those tempting sensual assets!! Several sensation play experts like Klinger recommend setting up a checklist and going through each of the senses, keeping track of different ways you’ve viewed, vibrated, touched, tickled, tasted, massaged, stroked, spanked, listened to each other’s voices or reflexive noises, whipped, whispered, licked, inhaled, nuzzled, pressed, pinched, paddled, and savored. Your goal? Find ways to make every zone erogenous!
All of them advise trying out the abundant variety of adult toys available. There are more instruments of pleasure – or pain, if that’s your pleasure – than a Medieval wizard possessed. But let’s plant some suggestions in your mind for some sensation play products you might want to get your hands on.
One of the perennial favorites for sensation players is the Wartenberg wheel. Don’t let the name frighten or intimidate you. (Unless you want it to.) True, it sounds like an implement that would have been de rigueur during the Inquisition to be positioned next to a saw and a drill on a small table next to the rack. But it offers you a choice of cool sensations, whether on your own or in close company.
“The Wartenberg wheel is easily one of the most recommended, most raved about toys for sensation play,” writes Jamie J. LeClaire in a 2020 self.com article. “This handheld spiky pinwheel can be used all over the body. You can use it to apply different levels of pressure, from light and gentle, almost like a tickling sensation, to deeper and more painful-in-a-good-way. The spikes are sharp enough to leave marks on the skin, but not sharp enough to break skin unless pressing very hard.”
But let’s real you back into a shallower, wading pool of sensation play. That’s the fun thing about this activity to discover a wider range of sensations you enjoy or don’t. You can do very simple, pleasurable things like get massage candles that give off a pleasant scent while melting wax that is safe to drip onto a lover’s body to test out whether heat feels good on your skin. Or apply warmed lubricant or massage oils. A sponge or towel run under cold water or an ice cube provide a chilled feeling for the opposite extreme.
By checking out the tools and toys available and giving them your own fun test run, you can work your way through all of the senses. Keep your sensations checklist handy!
Of course, we don’t want to neglect the power of great music to enhance any lovemaking session by stimulating your ears: You probably already have your long-time favorites, but here are a few easy suggestions for starters: 50 Best Songs to Make Love To from complex.com or 50 Best Love Songs of All Time for the Ultimate Romantic Playlist from timeout.com or 50 Sensual Songs to Add to Your Sex Playlist from Oprah!
What feels really, really good will vary widely from person to person, but there's a whole sensory world out there to try bringing into the bedroom. So, when it comes to sensation play, the best thing we can advise is – let’s get it on!