Getting started with Sensation Play

Written by Ask Carlos (Certified Sexologist, Relationship Coach, and Licensed Psychotherapist, Counseling By Carlos)

Sensation play is one of the best ways to get to know your own, or your partner’s likes and dislikes. Far too often, I hear people tell me that sex and masturbation can feel like a race to the orgasmic finish line. Although an orgasm is a great way to finish off with a bang, don’t forget to take in and make the most out of every step along the way. This type of play is a perfect way to discover erogenous zones you never knew existed and get to know exactly what you need to have a mind-blowing sexual experience. If you are experiencing this with a partner, the intimate experience will bond you and give you a deeper understanding of one another. If going solo, you will be better able to tell future lovers exactly what you need. 

What is Sensation Play? Sensation play is the practice of stimulating or depriving any of the five senses to enhance sexual arousal. Popular methods include playing with temperatures, using blindfolds, ticklers, electrostimulation, and the use of sex toys. 

Before you start:Get in the right headspace. Tell yourself or your partner that the goal of the session is to get to know how our bodies experience and process pleasure. 

If done with a partner:Discuss safe words and signals. For safewords, have one for “caution/slow down” and one for “full stop.” Safewords must be respected to ensure trust isn’t broken and to avoid potential physical and psychological damage.In case the mouth is covered or gagged, ensure you also discuss safe signals that will let the other partner know to stop and check-in. 

Discuss Limits and Boundaries. Knowing what each partner is ok and not ok with will help things run smoothly. Will they be ok with tickling? Is anal play ok? how do they feel about hot wax? Are they ok with having their nipples pinched or bitten? Be as thorough and detailed as possible even if you do not have any of the right supplies, or intend to play with those sensations that particular session. This will give the partner providing the sensations room to get creative, while also keeping an element of surprise. If the partner on the receiving end is not ready to give over control, be more specific on what is ok and not ok that particular session. 
Gather SuppliesGet creative with this, you have 5 senses to work with, and you can add or remove senses. 

Sight:  Blindfolds will leave your partner quivering with anticipation for what might come next. If you are doing solo play, consider playing in darkness or using a blindfold to heighten other senses. To add visual stimulation you can use porn, sexy or intimidating clothing, or let them get a simple peek of what you have cooking every now and then. 

Smell: For smells, you can play with scented lubricants, massage oils, light scented candles, or even use fruits. 

Touch: This is going to give you lots of options. To remove touch you can tie them up take full control over what they feel. Gather things like feathers, ticklers, a Wartenberg wheel, candles made specifically for wax play, ice cubes, floggers, and of course lots of sex toys. I would recommend Svakom’s Nymph. An octopus-shaped toy with moving tentacles at the bottom and a vibrator on top. The tentacle portion is perfect to use all over the body, on the nipples, the testicles, or anywhere else you please. The top will be perfect to stimulate the clitoris, penis head, or apply pressure to the perineum. I also recommend something like Svakom’s Vick or Vicky, dual motor vibrating plugs that you can pop in to stimulate the prostate or g/spot as well as the perineum and the clitoris. This will leave your hands free to add even more sensations to the rest of your or your partner’s body. 

Sounds: This can be as simple as using noise canceling headphones, playing porn, going extra pornographic with your moans, dirty talk, sexy music, or letting them hear the sound of whatever you will use on them next. Toys with vibrations or electronic stimulation provide excellent sounds to get the ears squealing with fear or delight. 

Taste: With taste, you can use fruits, wine, or sweets to stimulate the palette. Rub some fruit on the penis before entering their mouth or kiss feed them a sweet strawberry. Flavored lubes can also be used, and there are many options to choose from. Everything from chocolate to holiday-themed gingerbread. 

During play, ask yourself or your partner things like – Is it pleasurable?  – What is pleasurable about it?  – What does this sensation feel like? – Is there another part of the body where this would feel good?  – If this feels good, what might feel even better?
Keep playing and having fun until whatever comes next. Just be sure to dedicate a good amount of time to the sensation play portion. This can be enjoyed as extended foreplay that can build up a great orgasm, or as time to get to know the body and indulge in pure pleasure. 

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