Have you ever put on an outfit and delighted in the feel of a certain fabric against your skin? Perhaps it’s a linen dress that blows in the wind and makes you feel light and airy. Or maybe it’s a fluffy winter jacket that makes you feel cozy and protected. Sometimes it even feels good to be constricted, like when you fasten yourself into a corset and are forced to stand erect.
Whether it’s the sun on your skin or a stubbed toe on an errant table, our sense of touch guides us and helps us heal. Touch is therapeutic, helping us establish social bonds and like our other senses, deteriorates as we get older. Sensation play is one way to exercise and show gratitude for the gift of touch.
Sensation play happens when we experiment with new textures in the bedroom. You may be familiar with the feeling of kisses along your collarbone, but how might your response change if those kisses were replaced with a long-stemmed rose or a feather duster? Do you think you could recognize these items by touch alone?
It’s easy to become disconnected from the present moment when we’re having sex — sometimes we get lost in our thoughts or distracted by something on the ceiling — but sensation play requires our full attention. It’s also helpful for harnessing greater awareness of our body and its response system.
One of my favorite things about sensation play is that it can involve the most innocuous objects. This is great for those of us who do not have a nearby sex store to visit. Next time you’re in a grocery store, hardware store, or anywhere really, throw a few random items in your cart. Maybe you’ll end up with a paintbrush, a candle, or a box of nails. As you begin to explore various sensations, you’ll learn which ones feel more pleasurable and what kind of touch excites you the most.
Here’s a challenge for couples interested in experimenting with sensation play: before beginning foreplay, set aside five minutes to scour your home for different textures you can use. Perhaps you can pluck a flower from a vase, or steal a spatula from a kitchen drawer. The point is to pick items that you wouldn’t normally associate with sex or pleasure, but that will provide an interesting sensation for your partner. Then try blindfolding each other and see if you can identify the sensations. If you can’t, describe what you think they might be. Notice how your body interacts with various objects based on where they came from. Does it feel different to be touched by a flower or something fresh from the earth? How does that feel compared to metal or a processed material?
One way to heighten sensation play is to deprive the other senses. Try blindfolding each other or wearing noise cancelling headphones (or play music through the headphones to see what effect that has on your sensations). You can also try teasing multiple senses with something that is edible, has a strong scent, or both.
I suggest starting with subtle sensations to raise your awareness. Feathers, petals, silks, or you could even try grazing your partner’s skin lightly with your fingernails. Once they’re fully engaged, up the ante with more intensity. You can bite, claw, or even use candlewax. Be sure to communicate often about how they’re responding to these sensations and what feels most pleasurable. As your practice deepens, you will begin to look at innocent household objects in an entirely new light.
Chakrubs offer us new ways to experience sensations on both physical and non-physical levels. If you have more than one Chakrub or similar dildo toys, you can experiment by blindfolding your partner and asking them to identify the sensations that arise as they interact with the different toys. For example, The Heart Chakrub might activate a warm sensation or perhaps they’ll feel their heart chakra open. Ask them to describe how this feels compared to a regular dildo or a vibrator. What sort of sensations begin to stir from within?
The Shadow Line also lends itself well to sensation play. Imagine the cold steel of the Talu against your cheek, the feeling of your mouth pooling uncontrollably with drool. Or what about Chakrubs obsidian cock rings? How might the sensation of those change as they tighten around a hardening member? As we explore this type of play in the bedroom, it can open us up to new kinks, such as impact play, bondage, and more.
Everything we encounter provides a sensation. It’s when we don’t pay attention or disconnect that we begin to feel numb. Inviting more touch into your life is one way to magnify your earthly experiences and make you feel more alive.