Our bodies are sensory super systems eagerly awaiting stimulation, and it’s these sensory systems that are responsible for all the delicious sensations we feel during sex, but what if I told you there’s a whole lot more pleasure to be had? Sensory play makes the most of these systems by teasing all of your senses and putting your body into a state of high excitement.
Often during sex, we focus mainly on our senses of touch and vision and if you have a sex or masturbation playbook that you tend to stick to, you might experience the same types of stimulation. Sensation play aims to delight all the senses with a thrilling sensory smorgasbord that will leave you tingling from head to toe and send your sensory systems into a frenzy of pleasure and excitement.
While you might associate sensation play with BDSM, and it certainly can be a great part of BDSM, anyone can enjoy sensation play. At the soft end of the scale, there are plenty of options for vanilla sensation play options, but there are also plenty of kinky sensation play options as well.
As we stimulate more of our senses, our brains go into a state of high alert that heightens our arousal, making each following touch, smell or sound feel more intense.
Benefits of Sensation Play
Not convinced yet? Here are my top reasons to try sensation play:
- It’s a great way to explore full body pleasure
- It heightens your senses and intensifies your pleasure
- It’s a great way to unlock pleasure all over your body and not only in your genitals
- It makes for some seriously good foreplay
- It’s a great way to get out of a sex/masturbation rut and spice things up a little
- It’s a great way to explore kinks
- You can tailor the intensity to suit your preferences
- It’s perfect for partner or solo play
Sensation Play Toolbox to Excite Every Sense
Now for the fun part — choosing the tools to tease and tantalize yourself or your partner!
Our highly sensitive sense of touch can detect a dazzling array of sensations, including temperature, pain, pressure, and vibrations. With receptors all over the surface of your body, you really have a lot of pleasure potential just waiting to be played with. For best results, always warm up the area first with some massage and alternate between gentle strokes and more intense impact play. Temperature play is another thrilling way to ignite your sense of touch.
Spanking paddles are another great impact play tool. Warm up with some light taps and progress to some harder slaps to really wake up your partner’s sense of touch. This double-sided paddle has a satin side and a leather side so you can enjoy both naughty and nice play! The best places to use spanking paddles are muscley areas covered with fat such as the butt or thighs and always avoid spanking areas with organs.
These torturous-looking implements can be used to tickle and lightly scratch your partner’s body. These stainless steel cat’s claws slip over your finger, giving you ease of movement as you explore your partner’s body. They are also great for solo play as they give you the illusion of having someone else touch you.
Wartenberg Wheel/ Pinwheel
Another fierce-looking tool whose bark is worse than its bite is the Wartenberg Wheel — also known as a pinwheel. The circular spikes are perfect for wheeling over your partner’s skin to awaken the nerve endings in the skin, creating a prickling, tingling sensation. Not to mention, the look of the spikes will have your partner on edge in anticipation!
Vision is the primary sense through which we perceive the world around us and is often one of the first senses to trigger arousal. It’s so powerful that even imagining a sexy image can be enough to get us under the collar! You can choose to turn this sense up to the max with a super sexy show or take it away to heighten the other senses.
To turn the other senses up, remove your partner’s sense of sight with a silky soft blindfold. Not only will each touch feel so much more intense, but the anticipation of knowing what you are doing or when you will touch them will get their heart racing and blood pumping.
At the other end of the scale, you can indulge your sense of sight with a seductive show and all you need is a mirror. Whether you are playing alone or with a partner, take the time to put on something sexy and watch the action in the mirror to give your sense of sight the sexy show it craves.
If you aren’t into watching yourself, you can always look for some ethical, feminist porn to excite your eyes! This can be a great way to explore kinks that interest you.
From the moans of your partner as they get lost in the moment, to the whisper that sends goosebumps over your body, our sense of sound should never be overlooked! There are plenty of ways to tease or please your sense of sound that will get your heart racing.
Whip or Crop
As well as being fantastic for stingy impact play, whips and crops, like this one from Bondage Boutique, create sharp whipping sounds that are sure to send shivers over your partner’s skin as they imagine what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of such a slap! Slapping a nearby piece of furniture for the sound effects will definitely keep your partner in line!
For something a little more sensual, let yourself get carried away as you enjoy the erotic sounds of audio erotica. There are so many great websites and apps with stories to suit all tastes!
Our sense of smell is closely linked to emotional states, including sexual arousal and for some people, a certain smell alone is enough to trigger arousal. Smell is also thought to play an important role in attraction — literally helping us to sniff out a partner! As well as enjoying each other’s natural scents, you can experiment with aphrodisiac aromas such as vanilla, ginger, or jasmine.
This massage candle fills the air with the sensual, sweet smell of lavender. As the wax melts, you are left with body-safe oil that is perfect for dripping on your partner’s skin or giving an erotic massage.
If you aren’t keen on open flames in the bedroom, scented massage oils are another fantastic way to engage your sense of smell as you rub and stroke every inch of your partner’s body! This natural option from Earthly Body is made with skin-nourishing almond oil, vitamin E, and hemp oil, with a smell that will transport you to the forest in spring!
Much like smell, the taste of your partner’s body can be such a thrilling aphrodisiac, but there are additional ways to add something new to the mix!
This delightfully delicous chocolate body paint is perfect for drizzling over your partner’s body before slowly licking it all off. A sweet treat for all involved! It’s 100% natural and made with dark chocolate and hemp oil.
Sensation Play Ideas
Once you’ve got your sensation play kit fully stocked with tools to tantalize the senses, you are ready to start using them. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate sensation play either with a partner/partners or alone.
Take the time to explore yours or your partner’s body with different types of touch to discover how to tease and please every inch of them, and tempt every sense from smell to sound to figure out exactly what gets them going. Ask them to rate their enjoyment of each item on a scale of one to ten or observe them carefully for signs of arousal and enjoyment and don’t forget to take notes of their favorites for next time!
When exploring sensation play, using opposites is powerful tool for stimulating the senses. Think hard and soft touches, scratching and stroking, licking and biting, salty and sweet or floral and spicy.
While sensation play can be a great stand alone, it also makes for some next level foreplay that will leave you both tingling with arousal and ready for the main course!
DIY Sensation Play Toys: Perfect Pervitibles to Tease Your Partner
If you are just dipping your toes into the world of sensation play or you’re not in a position to buy a selection of sex toys to use, there are plenty of household objects just waiting to be turned into pervertibles (everyday objects that can be used for sexual play).
A word of warning: It goes without saying that it’s always safer to buy a purpose-made sex toy and you should exercise caution when using pervertibles. We are in no way responsible for any harm caused due to the use or sharing of these DIYs. You are 100% responsible for the outcome should you choose to make your own sex toys.
- Wooden spoon
- Table tennis bat
- Silicone cooking utensils (e.g., Spatula)
- Clean make-up brushes
- Comb for light scratching
- Rolling pin
- Silk Scarves
- Face roller
Sensation Play Safety
As with any sexual activity, especially ones involving using a sex toy or tool on another person, there are some rules for safe play that should always be followed — safety is sexy!
- Play should always be safe, sane, sober and consensual.
- Another, more specific version is RACK (risk-aware consensual kink), which emphasises the importance of understanding the risks involved before participating in the activity.
- Use the FRIES model of consent — Consent should be freely given. reversible, informed, enthusiastically given, and specific.
- Always have a safe word or signal that shows your partner you want to stop immediately
- Have a first-aid on hand with bondage shears if you are playing with restraints
- Always check your toys for signs of damage before use and dispose of any damage toys
- Practice aftercare — this can include things specific to the type of play, such as cleaning the skin after using edible body paint or applying lotion after impact play, as well as more general things such as cuddling, having something to eat and drink and reflecting on the experience