By Coleman Molnar (@colemanjaro)
Sex: it isn’t just about the act. There’s a lot more to it than what happens in bed, like the conversation beforehand, the sights and smells and sounds that lead up to the moment, and the strategic touching here and there. Foreplay is an intricate dance and, as such, requires more than just a passionate, interpretive solo of randomly gesticulating limbs — some choreography is not only recommended, but often required.
There are certain spots and techniques that you can learn and add to your routine to maximize your partner’s enjoyment. Knowing the potential erogenous zones on the body, how to stimulate them, and which ones your lover responds to can be the difference between average foreplay and blow-your-socks-off, I’ve-never-been-touched-like-that-there-before foreplay. Seriously. And, as you’ll soon find out, it’s not all about the reproductive bits — these special spots are located from head to toe on the human body. Lucky for you, we had a certified sexoligist point them out, explain how they work, and advise on which ones you should visit. You can thank us later.
1. What zones are we talking about and how do they work?
“The entire body has the potential to be erogenous,” explains Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, sex expert and author of The New Sex Bible. “Slow down and give your partner a full body caress that excludes your typical hot spots.”
The “hot spots” O’Reilly is referring to are the ones you probably already frequent during foreplay — the genitals, the breasts, and so on. These spots are dense with sensitive nerve endings close to the skin’s surface that, when stimulated, light up pleasure centres in the brain and often elicit erotic responses.
We’re not saying neglect those areas — and we doubt you would even if we did — but just know that there are also other spots on the body, some much less obvious, that can arouse or even take you all the way.
“I’ve met three women who reach orgasm from stimulation of the small of their backs and several who become highly aroused through their belly buttons,” says O’Reilly. “I’ve also met men who can reach orgasm from nipple stimulation alone, and others who become excited from foot play.”
People are unique, which is why O’Reilly encourages exploration, but science has helped to identify some of the more common erogenous zones for women, including the aforementioned lower back and belly button, and also the collarbone, inner thigh, neck, and back of the knee.
“Previous associations can also play a role,” says O’Reilly. “You may have an unconscious memory that associates pleasure with a particular area on your body — physical sensations are both innate and learned.”
2. How do I stimulate these spots once I’ve found them?
Not all touch is created equal, so good on you for asking. Some like it soft and slow, others fast and rough — it’s up to you to interpret your partner’s responses in order to discern what works best for them in that moment.
O’Reilly suggests starting slowly and gradually increasing pressure and speed as things heat up.
“When you’re excited or anxious,” she says, “you tend to move more quickly and touch more aggressively, so pay attention and try to ease up a little. I suggest that you avoid using the fronts of your hands — you can use the backs of your hands and other body parts — to caress your partner for the first five minutes of foreplay.”
Another tip, according to O’Reilly, is to avoid direct contact with the specific areas and work your way around them, stimulating related regions and nearby nerve endings.
“By time you make your way to the most sensitive area, they’ll be tingling with desire,” she says. “For example, if you know his or her left nipple is hypersensitive — one is often more reactive than the other — work your way toward it in a circular pattern from the outer chest/breast.”
3. Can you wear out the effectiveness of an erogenous zone by frequenting it too often?
You know when you fall in love with a particular song and listen to it over and over for days on end until you eventually can’t stand the sound of it any more? Well, over-stimulating a certain area again and again can have the same effect. O’Reilly warns that repeated stimulation of certain areas can “normalize the brain’s reaction and therefore the novelty or taboo element that initially created excitement.” So put it on the playlist, by all means, just not on repeat.