Sensual sex

Playing it safe might work for the first few times, but eventually you, or your partner, are gonna want something different. That’s totally valid, and honestly kind of exciting. Don’t be afraid to experiment (consensually) in the bedroom if things start drying up. Read our guide to sensual sex to get you started.

A young man is looking at his phone. He is considering sensual sex. This is a wide-angle image.

What does sensual mean?

We probably have some explaining to do before we dive into this topic. So, for some context, we’ll answer the question What does sensual mean? 

The word sensual relates to anything involving gratification of the senses, usually in a sexual context. This could be physical things you do with your partner, but it doesn’t stop there. Things done to create an atmosphere that increases both of your sensual pleasures count to. Sensual sex is about exploring these pleasures together to find out what really makes you both tick.

Sensual Sight (more than just lighting)

  • Make your surroundings perfect for some sensual sex. Soft lighting or candles are usually a big hit, but you might also prefer bright colours to get you in the mood. It totally comes down to personal preference.
  • Throw out your granny-panties and treat yourself to some new underwear or other outfits that you know the other will love.  
  • Agree on a secret signal. If one of you is wearing a certain item of jewellery or clothing, that can be a sign to the other person that they’re gonna get lucky tonight.
  • Using a blindfold can really add to the tension. It’ll heighten your awareness of other sensations which makes the experience super pleasurable. Or just try closing your eyes for a few minutes. And if you usually have sex with the lights on, turn the lights off for a change.

Hearing

  • Try playing different types of music during sex. See what happens when there’s a background of calming classical; energetic dance music; or pounding rock.
  • Choose a horny theme tune that has a private meaning for you both. But don’t call it ‘our song’ because that just makes you feel more sappy than dirty. 
  • Try taking turns to pick out a favourite soundtrack for a striptease. And make it one of the most memorable sensual experiences. 
  • If you both like talking dirty then have at it. Just make sure to show some consideration for your neighbours if the walls are thin!

Smell

  • Use small amounts of their favourite aftershave or perfume. Spray a little on your bed sheets.
  • Do you or your partner think any other aromas are sexy? Is there something that reminds you of a passionate experience? It could be anything from suntan lotion to strawberries. Whatever it is, bring it into the bedroom with you.
  • Try scented massage oils or lotions (but remember to  keep oil-based products away from condoms). This can also link into the touch category if you decide to give them a sensual massage. 

Touch

  • Avoid going through the same old motions, try something new and exciting – even if you have to do some research beforehand.
  • Some ideas include: Tickling, light touching, circling, grabbing, a sensual massage, kneading, licking, irregular, rhythmic, speeding up, slowing down.
  • Spend an evening just touching one another all over, no penetrative sex involved. Let the other know what you like and don’t like for future reference. This can be a great bonding exercise but you should also expect to find out things about one another that will surprise you both.
  • Change what’s against your skin. Different textures can be a real sensual delight. Try cotton, silk, satin, fake fur, leather, lace, water, sand, grass, or whatever else fulfils your sensual pleasures.

Taste

  • Go out somewhere special to eat, or cook a favourite meal as a prelude. However, don’t eat too much; indigestion, belching, and heartburn will be the opposite of a sensual delight. Plus you might doze off at a crucial moment.
  • Hand feed each other different fruits (e.g. grapes, slices of mango), or chocolates.
  • Slowly feed them the liqueur they like the most, drop by drop. Make them beg for more.
  • Go crazy with edible body paint, whipped cream, or syrup. Turn your date into dessert. Who cares about the state of the carpet or the sheets afterwards?

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 24-Dec-2021