Guest written by Rain Andersen (@wearenotfriends_) a veteran sworker with eight years in adult entertainment and three years working for Lovers.
Turning yourself on has become quite the challenge in 2021! Acclimating to a new medication, experiencing stress, and consuming alcohol are just a few ways that we risk a low libido. In a world that seems to be at odds with our desires (and our coping mechanisms), it can be difficult to get in the right head space for pleasure. This is why we’ve rounded up five ways to help jump start your arousal. Each of these methods will introduce different forms of stimulation, prompting a cycle of sexual responses that we associate with pleasure.
ACTIVATE YOUR SENSES
Our bodies ability to detect sexual stimuli involves sensory processing. By engaging our five senses, we are flooding our brain with new information. Try adjusting the temperature in the room, lighting a candle, turning on a hot and heavy playlist, or slipping into something sexy. These details help influence our arousal by adding layers of stimulation to our experience. Here are three sensation tools that can help to activate arousal in your mind and body:
Enchanted Shadow Hood ($16.50)
Odax Sensation Wheel ($14.50)
Whip Tickler ($14.50)
INTRODUCE A VISUAL AID
When we are juggling different thoughts and feelings, pleasure can feel like it’s inaccessible. Visual aids can help to inspire us when our brain is struggling to connect all the dots. A visual aid might be a pornography that you enjoy, a photograph of a partner, or an interview with your celebrity crush. Use your sexual preferences to inform you of what type of visual content will get your juices flowing. To help get you started, I’ve compiled a list of 10 erotic novels for you to explore:
1. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin, 2. The Key by Junichiro Tanizaki, 3. The Story of O: A Graphic Novel by Pauline Reage & Guido Crepax, 4. House of Holes by Nicholson Baker, 5. Women by Charles Bukowski, 6. A Sport and a Pasttime by James Slater, 7. The Lover by Marguerite Duras, 8. Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway, 9. On the Rooftops of Paris by Henry Miller, 10. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
CONNECT TO YOUR BODY
One way that we can provoke arousal is through grounding exercises. Grounding exercises help us to stay in the present- an effective technique for a brain that is committed to multitasking. While there are many grounded exercises to choose from, these three exercises are my favorites for kick starting your sexual response cycle:
4-7-8 Breathwork: A breathing exercise such as this one, is great for individuals that feel plagued by racing thoughts. Empty the lungs of air, breathing in for four seconds. Hold the breath for a count of seven seconds. Exhale forcefully through the mouth for eight seconds and repeat.
5-4-3-2-1 Coping: This coping exercise is one way to activate the senses and reinforce sexual stimuli. Acknowledge 5 things you see around you, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Bonus points if you keep your observations to erotic stimuli. This is a fantastic way of staying focused on your arousal, and can keep us busy when our mind is tempted to wander in other directions.
HALT: Ask yourself, am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired? Your level of arousal may be suffering because your brain is prioritizing other signals that are necessary to a healthy and functioning body. Satisfy your bodies need for sleep, sustenance, connection, or unresolved arguments before trying to initiate arousal.
EXPLORE NEW SENSATIONS
Don’t hesitate to introduce new sensations. There are many products that are designed to initiate the sexual response cycle. Stimulants and supplements trigger the physical responses our bodies associate with pleasure. By introducing stimulants, we can communicate to our brains that we are open for arousal. Here are three stimulants to get a dialogue started:
Max Men Pleasure Gel ($18.50)
Intimate Earth Discover G-Spot Gel ($22.50)
Sweet 69 Supplement 2 Pack ($12.50)
GIVE YOURSELF THE FOREPLAY YOU DESERVE
The techniques discussed in this article are meant to ease you into a head space that is receptive to erotic stimuli. Take your time to seduce yourself. You are entitled to pleasure in small and large doses. If your body needs time to warm up, try introducing a few elements of classic foreplay. Take a sensual shower or preform an erotic strip tease in front of the mirror. Neural pathways help to create routine and automated responses to sexual stimuli that releases dopamine in our brains (the pleasure molecule). If there is a form of foreplay that you love to include in your partnered experiences, try recreating it solo. Your ability to recognize familiar stimuli can help to launch your body into a state of arousal.
Neuroanatomy and Function of Sexual Behavior: Wiley Periodicals
Brain Sex in Men & Women From Arousal to Orgasm: BrainBlogger
The Science of Sexual Arousal: American Psychological Association (APA)