Have you ever licked chocolate sauce off your partner? Found yourself really getting into a groove, with your sex playlist setting the soundscape, while tending to that WAP? Asked your partner to handcuff you, or to switch things up with adult products? If yes, then these could have been some ways that you might have dabbled in sensation or sensory play.
You could say that all s-e-x is sensory, in that our senses are involved. But how often do we mindfully focus on our senses when we pleasure ourselves? Take a few minutes to ponder over this and then join Aunt Sassy as she taps into your sense of adventure and guides you through this pleasure practice.
What is Sensation Play?
Sensation play refers to engaging with your senses to arouse pleasure. The acts can range in intensity, from feather play to flogging, with the intensity scale differing for each individual. Sensation play can be pleasant or painful, but it is intended to stimulate desire.
Here’s some types of sensation play with examples for each, that could amp up your bedroom game:
- Textural play: wearing that leather outfit that boo likes so much while getting frisky, tickling your kitten into submission, dribbling our thicc intimate lubricant DTF on them as you prepare for some silky smooth love making
- Impact play: spanking that juicy peach, receiving a good whipping for being a naughty boy, flogging, slapping
- Temperature play: your babe warming their mouth with a hot beverage before sucking you off, dripping candle wax down your lover’s back, using ice cubes or a natural lubricant like DTF which is cool to the touch–to rouse that tingling sensation and some goosebumps
- Sensory deprivation: tying up your shibari rope bunny, being blindfolded, hand-cuffing, choking
- Using stimulants: wearing nipple clamps, using a butt plug, mapping out hot spots on each other's bodies using a personal massager like the OG
You could devote yourself to entirely playing with one sense (think using nipple clamps on your partner), or combine playing with multiple senses, using one sense to heighten another (rubbing ice on your partner’s clamped nipples to add some temperature play to the mix), or stifling one of the senses to awaken another (engaging in nipple play with your partner, while they're blindfolded).
Plotting your Sensory Profile
To curate a sensation play experience that is unique to you, you need to pay attention to your sensory profile. Neurodivergent people often talk about their senses in relation to hypersensitivity (predisposed to being overstimulated) and hyposensitivity (predisposed to being understimulated) by our sensory environment. A partner who’s hypersensitive might find it easier to get in the mood with fewer, familiar and more focused touches. A partner who’s hyposensitive might need you to dial it up, with more pressure, more pain and more novelty. Having an idea about where you fall on this spectrum can be a useful reference to identify what you’d like to try. Remember, one can be both hypersensitive and hyposensitive depending on a variety of factors like the type of play, the physical space, and stress. With 10 different vibrational modes, our fave vibrator for women and folx with vulva, OG is the sensitive lover of your dreams, offering a range of magic touches to help you find the perfect rhythm to shake up your world.
Know all about the different types of sexual products online.
Playing it Safe
Ensure that you’re sticking to your safe pleasure practices, even while experimenting. Make sure you communicate about the different kinds of play you’re planning to toy with before you begin, during playtime and after.
Before you begin: This includes going over how you communicate consent, revoke consent, safe words (non-verbal cues for when you can’t use your mouth), discussing hard limits, sharing prior experiences with similar acts, and making sure you’ve done enough homework to know how to engage in the sensation play of your interest, cautiously (e.g. opting for leather hand-cuffs instead of metal ones to protect your skin). You can also discuss what you’d like to do during aftercare so you’re well prepared for that post banging cuddle sesh, or to stock up on any favourite snacks.
During Sex: Despite having communicated preferences and limits in advance, it is always good to check in with your partner whenever you think it’s important and if you’re getting a lil’ spontaneous in the heat of the moment. Ask them if they’d like for you to slow down, or apply more pressure, and feel free to communicate your own pleasure needs and make adjustments accordingly. One strategy you can incorporate is the traffic light or red light/yellow light/green light exercise, which you can use to verbally communicate when you want to stop, when you want to pause, and when you want to go, go, go.
Aftercare: Post revelling in your carnal bliss and cumming to your senses, comfort each other by talking about it and sharing what you liked and laughing together about the awkward mishaps. You can discuss what you might like to do more of, less of, and what you’d like to try the next time. You can also get physical and cuddle your partner, apply some body oil to any impacted areas or give a massage, based on what can help soothe them.
Benefits of Sensation Play
Indulging in sensation play requires a certain intimacy, vulnerability and trust, which can enhance your bond with your bae in the bedroom and beyond. Having safe, consensual experiences together, while being in compromised situations like being tied up, or experimenting with a personal massager, creates a certain space where you can engage in communication of a very raw, real, and honest nature. The self awareness and mindfulness that you need to tap into when putting together the puzzle pieces of your sensory profile and engaging in sensation play, can aid in building your connection to your own mind-body and lessen feelings of dissociation. And what’s more, all of these benefits that you enjoy, can add more spice to your everyday seggs! So text your boo right away and ask them where they’d like to start. ;)
About the Author
Anna (she/they) is a queer, neurodivergent and disabled psychologist and writer. They have always been curious about pleasure and conversations around it (and wanted to found a condom company when they were 12, because of Global North misinformed panic that the climate crisis is a consequence of overpopulation–they’ve learnt better now). They wish to contribute to a world where everyone can enjoy access to pleasure, safely and shamelessly.