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Exercise Your Senses in the Bedroom

Enhancing your sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch can make for an exhilarating experience.
Illustration by Tré Carden

Exercise Your Senses in the Bedroom

Enhancing your sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch can make for an exhilarating experience.
Aleck Woogmaster
Illustration by Tré Carden

Each of us experiences life through the five senses, but not all in the same way. For some people, certain senses are more intense or more exciting. For creative pleasure-seekers, the senses present a golden opportunity for unique sexual experiences. How can you share in that for yourself? Try some of the practices discussed here.

This shouldn't surprise you, but none of these exercises is going to turn you into a superhero. If you follow the advice in this article, you won't develop acute hearing, tactile enhancements or X-ray vision. You might, however, have a lot of fun and discover some new facets of yourself in the process.

Exploring sights unseen

Blindfolds are the best friends of sense-exploration advocates and a lot of kink enthusiasts. There are many good reasons for this, the foremost being that blocking your vision is one of the easiest and most stimulating activities you can do using only household objects and common articles of clothing.

Furthermore, because humans rely on their sense of sight so much, blindfolds make for one of the fastest and most direct ways of letting the mind focus on the rest of the senses. When you are temporarily deprived of your sense of sight, your body is forced to focus on sounds, odors, physical sensations and tastes. As you read on, keep in mind that blindfolding can be a fantastic way of expanding upon the exercises discussed below.

Much of sight-oriented sensory play does focus on impeding it, but there are many ways to excite the eyes, as well. Playing with the lighting in a room or simply involving new visual cues (e.g., outfits, sexy text messages) can be an interesting way of refocusing the eye and drawing new attention to sights we often overlook.

The sheer pleasure of touch

Obviously, one of the senses most pivotal to sexual enjoyment and satisfaction is the sense of touch. It's easy to take for granted the various ways we can experience sensations through the tips of our fingers or by physical contact through other parts of the body. But every aspect of sex can be enhanced by emphasizing a little bit of slow and deliberate focus on anything we touch.

Try experimenting with your partner(s) by implementing different types of textural surfaces into your intimate activities. You may discover that certain materials, such as leather or lace, activate your or your lover's attention or interest in a way you had never felt before.

Every aspect of sex can be enhanced by emphasizing a little bit of slow and deliberate focus on anything we touch.

Incorporating thin, sheer clothing or costumes can also be an interesting way to awaken this particular sensory experience. The subtle difference between a very light layer of cloth or other material and the feeling of skin can become extremely profound in the right context and with the right amount of care and attention.

Aside from accessorizing, you have some more instinctive ways to play with tactile responses and expand your horizons. Applying or receiving various levels of pressure, from massage to impact play, may expose you to arousing elements and sensitivities you didn't know you were capable of feeling.

Opening the ol' factory

For human beings, the sense of smell is intrinsically and deeply connected to memory and emotional resonance with sentiments such as nostalgia. Therefore, tapping into scents and aromas can bring up all kinds of realizations around arousal and awareness of your surroundings.

There are just as many ways to delight the nose as there are to offend it. We make an effort to avoid "bad" odors in daily life, so it can be a lot of fun to spend some time at home focusing on more attractive aromas.

Scented candles, incense and perfumes are all aromatic devices people utilize in the interest of "setting the mood." Of course, once we find aromas we like, we tend to lean on them pretty heavily, getting the nose accustomed to certain experiences and, in effect, reducing the impact those aromas have on us over time.

Knowing that, it's important to mix it up—as in, literally try to mix aromas together. Try tantalizing your partner from across the room with a scent they already like; gradually bring it closer and closer to them so your proximity to each other is coordinated with their enjoyment of the scent.

It might be important to have some discussion about what odors you and your partner would like to experience during affectionate moments, so as not to unwittingly kill the mood. Just because you know, for example, that your partner loves the smell of fried chicken doesn't necessarily mean it will make a good aphrodisiac.

The sound of satisfaction

Pay close attention to the sounds you and your significant other make and react to during sex and foreplay. Everybody reacts to noise a little bit differently, but some advanced knowledge of your partner can put wonderful tools in your kit when it comes to sensory play in the bedroom.

For example, if you have a partner who really enjoys impact play, you may notice that just the sound of a good slap or spanking can instigate arousal, even if nobody is actually receiving the impact. This kind of simultaneous instigation and denial, especially when using the blindfold technique, can have a surprising effect on a person's erogenous thoughts.

Submissives who enjoy impact, for example, may start squirming (in a good way) at the sound of a leather belt being snapped together while they are blindfolded. Less kink-oriented forms of experimenting with sound can include vocal cues, the implementation of rhythmic or relaxing music into sexual activity, or even simply leaving a daytime voice message for your partner, perhaps in sensual tones. This is a great way to build tension and excitement for date night, as well.

For a more complete sensory-deprivation experience that has the potential to light up the unimpeded senses, good earplugs or noise-canceling headphones work very nicely with your favorite form of blindfold.

Savor the flavor

Oral enthusiasts will likely have a leg up (or two) on these techniques. A disciplined and refined sense of taste isn't just for chefs or sommeliers; exercising this particular point of experience can greatly improve sex for both partners.

You don't have to be into oral sex, per se, to make erotic use of your sense of taste. Edible lubricants and lotions, and even edible underwear, are easy to find in a typical sex store and even many adult-themed party stores. If you're someone who enjoys giving or receiving oral, but you or your partner don't get turned on by the taste of another person, flavored accessories can be crucial elements in making the experience of playing with taste more palatable.

Oral sex doesn't only mean mouth-to-genital contact. Sex can invoke any part of the body, from tip to toe, so don't be shy about exploring your partner or asking your partner to explore you. You might discover that you love the taste of their sweat or other certain textural experiences that come up through orally oriented play.

With all of that said, it's probably important to point out that not everyone enjoys oral play, and in fact, some people are really turned off by it. As always, it's crucial to listen to your partner and always practice consensually minded sexual exploration if you want all parties involved to continue having a good time.

Always play safely

We'd like to think that all products sold in sex shops are safe, but unfortunately, that's not always the case. Remember that various toxic chemicals found in some soaps, perfumes, lubes or lotions can have harmful effects on one or more of the senses. Likewise, nontoxic ingredients used in those very same products may cause allergic or other reactions, such as irritation or pain.

Make sure you talk to your partner before invoking unfamiliar elements into your sex routine. As fun and exciting as playing with the senses can be, it's simply not worth experiencing the negative effects of a serious medical condition.

Aleck Woogmaster