Guest written by Rain Andersen (@wearenotfriends_) a veteran sworker with nine years in adult entertainment and five years working for Lovers.
Senses working overtime; trying to taste the difference 'tween a lemon and a lime.
- What is Sensation Play?
- The Most Popular Styles of Sensation Play
- How to Experiment with Sensation Play
- The Best Adult Sensation Products
What is Sensory Play?
Sensation play refers to a broad category of sexual activities designed to engage one or more of the primary senses (touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight).
Our senses convey information about our surroundings, that can ultimately influence our sexual experiences. Sensation play is the intentional application of, or the exposure to, different sensations in order to enhance or magnify other components of erotic play.
What are Some Popular Forms of Sensation Play?
- Temperature Play: Temperature play is a form of sensation play that engages our sense of touch by activating the neuroreceptors responsible for distinguishing hot from cold. There are many ways to experiment with temperature play. Some of the most popular forms of temperature play include topical products designed to warm or cool, wax play, ice play, and fire play.
EXPERT TIP: Drip candles are sold in a variety of different blends (eg. soy), which can help you to determine the candle’s burning temperature. When using a drip candle, you will want to prevent the wax from reheating as it passes through the flame, by blowing out the candle before application.
- Impact Play: Impact play is a style of sensation play that involves hitting or spanking the body parts of a consenting partner. There are many products designed for this purpose- each offering their own unique sensation, ranging from dull and thuddy (floggers/paddle) to sharp and stingy (crops/whips).
EXPERT TIP: Placing your palm against the skin, directly after impact, can help to minimize the sensation of stinging for particularly snappy impact toys like crops and canes.
The Kink Stinger Electro Wand, $62.50
- Electro Play: E-stim stands for erotic electrostimulation- a sexual activity that involves applying electrical currents to the skin for sexual pleasure. Despite outward appearances, many existing E-stim products are not intended to cause pain. Rather, these products are created to enhance (and dare we say- electrify?) your touch. Violet wands, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS/TNS), and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS/NMES) are all common power sources that can be repurposed for this pleasure.
EXPERT TIP: A great safety precaution for beginners and experts alike, is to only use e-stim products below the waist. E-stim current should never pass across or through the chest and head.
- Tickle Torture: Tickle torture is an activity popularized in BDSM culture, in which tickling is used to relax, arouse, dominate, abuse, or humiliate a partner. Feathers, Wartenberg Wheels (pinwheels), floggers, and chains are commonly used to magnify the sensation of tickling.
EXPERT TIP: There are many ways to touch and tickle our partners. Knismesis is a term used to describe a soft, feather-like touch or graze, and gargalesis is a term used to describe a tickle that is heavy and vibrates.
Breath Play: Breath play (or Erotic Asphyxiation) is a sexual activity that involves cutting off a person’s access to oxygen by gagging, smothering, or choking them. Autoerotic asphyxia is a high-risk behavior that involves limiting blood flow to the brain, resulting in a lightheaded and disoriented feeling. To reduce the risk of autoerotic-related injuries and deaths, we recommend pre-negotiating non-verbal cues and safe words.
EXPERT TIP: When it is done properly, choking can add a remarkably pleasurable layer to your sexual experiences. Use your fingers to focus pressure on the arteries around the throat, surrounding the lymph nodes. Never place pressure directly against the Adam’s Apple, windpipe, or trachea!
Sportsheets Original Bed Restraint System, $79.00
- Sex Toys: Sex toys are a magnificent, but often underutilized, category of sensation products, that can be used to amplify the sensation of touch. Sex toys come in a variety of different textures, and are capable of performing a variety of different functions (vibration, suction, thrusting), making them the ideal accessory for any style of sensation play.
EXPERT TIP: Edging and ruined orgasms are activities designed to draw out and intensify the sensation of orgasm. If you are looking to explore the world of sensation play, but are uninterested in the acts of tickling and spanking, these activities can be a great substitute.
- Sensory Deprivation: Sensory deprivation refers to the deliberate removal of stimuli, in order to amplify and engage other senses. Blindfolds and restraints are a popular and easy way to experiment with sensation play, that help draw attention to specific styles of touch. Learn about different styles of restraints in our Beginner's Guide to Sexual Restraints!
How Can I Experiment with Sensation Play?
Have you ever used a sex toy? If you have- then you’ve participated in a form of sensation play! Many of us have some experience with sensation play, whether or not we are fully aware of it. Now that you have a better understanding of sensation play, and what it entails, it may be easier to incorporate into your sexual encounters.
Sensory play is often approached in one of two ways. The first way, is to flood the senses- overwhelming the body with pleasure signals that we have little time to translate or interpret. The second way, is to cut off access to other senses in an effort to magnify a single sensation. Neither of these methods is superior to the other, and both offer their own appeals.
The 7 Best Adult Sensation Products
Ready to dip your toes into the exciting world of sensory play? We've rounded up some of the best adult sensation products for beginners. Take a look at these seven entry-level products, discussed in this article.
Rosegasm Ballgag, $50.00
Breath Play/Sensory Deprivation
This Rose-inspired ball gag is the perfect accessory for bringing your breath play fantasies to life. Made from soft, supple, body safe silicone, the Rosegasm Ballgag is designed to ward off unpleasant smells and flavors, associated with rubber gags. This breathable and adjustable ball gag, comes with gold accented hardware and a faux leather strap!
Ostrich Feather Tickler, $14.00
Tease and tickle your partner with the ostrich feather tickler. This sensual feather tickler may look innocent, but in the hands of a curious partner- it is anything but! Use the lightweight, plastic rod to glide this feather over the most sensitive parts of your skin.
Firestick Fetish Candles, $14.50
Heat things up with Master Series' Dark Dripper Fetish Candles! These parraffin wax candles are the perfect foreplay enhancement, tapered to create a focused and precise drip pattern. The heat from the flame will melt this product at a lower temperature then traditional candles- so that you feel all of the warmth and none of the burn!
Sex & Mischief Chain Nipple Clamps, $19.50
Sensation Play/Tickle Torture
This classic set of nipple clamps is more versatile than it appears. Perfect for applying pressure to the nipples and other erogenous zones, the S&M Chained Nipple Clamps can also be tugged on or dangled over the skin to produce a range of pleasurable sensations.
S&M Heart Paddle, $14.50
Sex & Mischief created the Heart Impact Paddle for people who want to deliver an audible impact without the consequences. The heart design embedded in the vegan leather is made to leave a gorgeous impression against the skin, with minimal impact marks.
Odax Sensation Wheel, $18.50
Tickle Torture/Temperature Play
Test the limits of sensitivity play with the Odax Sensation Wheel from the Master Series. Run this premium spiked wheel across the skin for an exciting prickle of pleasure. Made from stainless steel, the Odax Sensation Wheel is the perfect product for temperature play. The slick material of the Odax can be warmed or cooled for an extra spike of sensation.
Flirt Blindfold, $10.50
The Flirt Blindfold is a soft, adjustable blindfold designed for solo and partnered use. Slip this accessory over your eyes to heighten the senses and leave the body trembling in anticipation.
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Sensation Play & Sensory Deprivation- A Perfect Pair: Sunny Megatron
How to Enhance Your Senses for the Ultimate Pleasure: Dipsea
I Tried Sensation Play And This is What Happened: Elite Daily