Maximize Your Pleasure

Rather than rushing to the main event, take time to savor sex using your five senses.

| July 11th, 2012
Maximize Your Pleasure

Think about it: How hot would your sex life be if you couldn’t touch your partner’s body? Hear his voice? Or see his face? We’re guessing pretty bland. Your five senses—hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste—play a significant role in creating arousal and enjoying sex. “One of the biggest reasons why sex becomes routine is because people stop paying attention to their senses,” says Sari Cooper, a certified sex therapist in New York City. “But to fully experience sex in a mindful way, you have to awaken all your senses.”

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Your ability to see lets you appreciate a guy’s drool-worthy physical features (his broad shoulders, dimples or abs) that drew you to him in the first place, but your peepers can enhance sex in other ways. “If you’re having sex with someone you love, keeping your eyes open creates a deeper, emotional connection since you’re visually registering everything about them—not just their looks,” says Kristen P. Mark, Ph.D., statistical consultant and project coordinator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. But if it feels strange to have sex while looking at each other, try closing your eyes. This also heightens physical pleasure by allowing you to focus more on how sex feels without a potentially awkward staring contest.

MORE: Eight Ways Sex Makes You Beautiful


There’s a reason you get chills when your partner gently strokes your arm or inner thighs. Your skin is one of the most sensitive organs you have. “The skin houses different types of nerves that serve various functions such as detecting hard or soft pressure, temperature or pain,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., a New York-based sex therapist. “When someone attractive touches you, your nerve cells alert the brain’s cortical sensory homunculus—the portion that recognizes sensation and movement—and may register as pleasure.”

Get touchy by stroking each other’s stomach, back and chest—the three areas that may release the most feel-good chemicals called oxytocin—or slowly and lightly run your fingertips up and down your partner’s arms, forehead and the tops of his thighs, which stimulate the C-tactile fibers that induce a sense of comfort. You can also use your hair or fingernails to add some texture to your touch. Just keep in mind that guys tend to prefer a firm touch thanks to higher amounts of testosterone, which thickens their skin, while women are more sensitive to lighter types of touch.

MORE: The Beautiful Benefits of Touch


Listening to Usher keeps you motivated during your workout but inviting him into your bedroom (not literally!) can result in hotter sex. A study published in the journal Media Psychology found that when couples listen to music with suggestive lyrics, they find their partner more appealing. “Sexually explicit songs create a sexually-charged environment,” says lead study author Francesca Dillman Carpentier, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “and when you listen with someone you're attracted to, the lyrics make you focus favorably on their physical attributes, enhancing attraction."

You can reap similarly stimulating results with a round of dirty talk, so tell him how good he makes you feel or, if you’re feeling bold, whisper a favorite sexual fantasy.

MORE: Why Are Submissive Fantasies a Turn-On?

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