8 Ways to Explore Sensation Play

By Dr. Jess Sex Tips Man and Women in bed

Sensation play can enhance arousal, connection, intimacy, and pleasure through the engagement of one or more of the five senses: 

  • Physical touch 
  • Auditory stimulation 
  • Olfactory excitement  
  • Sensual taste 
  • Visual play 

Oftentimes, we get hung up on one sense or assume that erotic play and sexual pleasure is inherently physical, but as you incorporate the other senses you’ll likely discover a new sensation in your body — and new fantasies in your mind.  

Since the addition of lube or massage oil offers a simple and fun segue into sensation play — from tingle and temperature to texture and movement and beyond — we thought it would be fitting to share a few sensation play tips to celebrate the release of our brand new water-based, ASTROGLIDE Quiver Liquid tingling lube. 


Women in sleep mask

1. Play with sensory deprivation.  

The deprivation of one sense can heighten the others when engaging in sensation play, which can help to minimize distractions as you tune into pleasure.  

For example, if you’re blindfolded as your lover whispers in your ear you may find yourself more acutely attuned to the warmth of their breath, the tone of their voice, or the scent of their cologne. For many, this results in a more mindful experience and a more intense response during sensory play. 

For this type of kink, try these approaches on for size… 

Blindfold your partner as you caress their body from head to toe. Exaggerate your movements as you approach them to allow your sounds to drive their desire and anticipation.

Give them earplugs and let them watch your every move in silence. 

Block out all light while you tell a sexy story or describe what you want to do to them…slowly and sensually in great detail for maximum sexual pleasure. Sounds, of course, can also evoke arousal and build anticipation — from a lover’s whisper to the crack of a whip — or even the cracking open of a bottle of lube!

2. Cool things off. 

Awaken your partner’s nerve endings by licking a line down their spine or across their collarbone. Alternatively, you can use a fingertip covered in lube, like ASTROGLIDE Quiver Liquid, or body oil — just make sure you leave a wet path behind you. Then, after awakening the nerve endings, engage in temperature play by breathing warm air over the wet line with a wide-open mouth. Try this in different ways — slowly, purposefully, and sensually.  

Create a stark contrast by following up with an ice cube as their skin erupts in goosebumps, which leads to more intense physical sensations. 

You can also use ice cubes while going down on them or place your props like lube, a sex toy, belts, and handcuffs in the freezer before playing with the sensation of temperature. 




3. Heat it up with hot wax 

Another way you can experiment with temperature play, erotic play, and different sensations is using hot wax. Hot wax play is an unexpected kink that can be soft and soothing or jarring and tingly on the human body. Use a melting candle or massage candles designed specifically for the skin and test a small amount of wax on yourself before applying it to your partner’s skin. Of course, you’ll have different tolerances for heat, so check in with them before engaging in wax play to ensure they’re comfortable and during to make sure it feels good.  

You can use your fingers, a makeup brush, eyedropper, or Q-tips to apply. Just be sure to keep it away from open cuts and membranes.  

To cool the wax before removal, use an ice cube and then slide the wax off with a scraper or flat spoon handle.


4. Experiment with auditory overwhelm.

Overwhelm your senses with loud music as you explore your or your partner’s body. This can help to heighten sensory response and drown out distractions (e.g. roommates, parents, or kids in the next room). Some research suggests that those who listen to loud music have more sex, so don’t be afraid to turn up the volume to explore different sensations.  

Choose your music based on the mood you want to evoke:  

  • Do you want to feel powerful? Listen to heavy bass.  
  • Looking to reignite the spark? Pick songs from your early days of dating.  
  • Do you need to de-stressOpt for a mellow tune. 
  • Do you use sex play to boost your mood? Put on a party anthem. 

The contagion hypothesis suggests that we mimic what we hear in our environment, so create a playlist that puts you in a mindset that you associate with eroticism and pleasure. 


5. Play with feathers and soft fabrics.

Use the soft tip of a feather or makeup brush to caress the skin with the lightest touch in different ways and unpredictable patterns. Add a few drops of lube or massage oil and see how the sensations shift. You can try this out on yourself or with a partner.  

Look around your home for soft props to use on the human body, including fur accessories, silk ties, satin scarves, cotton balls, suede clothing, or flower petals — the options are endless!

6. Get a little rough.

Once you’ve teased your partner and warmed up their skin with a soft brush or feather, consider getting a little rougher by using the pointy end to sensually poke, scrape or tap against their hot spots.  

You’ll find a variety of items for rougher play around your home: combs, brushes, emery boards, electric toothbrushes, loofahs, and toothbrushes can be used all over the body for all types of sensation play. 



7. Tap into olfactory pleasure.

Your sense of smell may be the key to unlocking your erotic potential, as smells seal our most fond memories. 

Scented candles and incense can help set the mood and research suggests certain aromas can aid in arousal. One study found that the smell of pumpkin, lavender, licorice, and even doughnuts are associated with more blood flow to the penis and circulation can promote sexual response, arousal, and orgasm.

8. Play voyeur.

Place a mirror near your bed and tap into the visual arousal associated with watching yourself in action — alone or with a partner! Add a rotating spotlight so that you can catch glimpses of yourself even in the dark. 

However you explore sensory play, allow pleasure to be your guide. There is no rush to check every item off this list, so try one new thing today and enjoy the process with pleasure and an open mind.  

Want more ideas to explore sensation play in the bedroom? Nadia Bokody shares her favorites here.