When you think about the spots on your body you want to be poked and prodded, licked and loved, sucked and slurped, bitten and blown, odds are chest, crotch, and ass are the body parts that come to mind. Three areas jam-packed with nerve-endings, these hot spots deserve all the tender, love, and care you give them. But there are a number of other erogenous zones throughout the body that can also respond pleasurably (even orgasmically) to a little tongue, hand, or toy action.
Ahead, sex educators share the 6 erogenous zones that deserve to be incorporated and priortized to play, be it solo, partnered, or multi-partnered.
What are Erogenous Zones?
Put simply, erogenous zones are internal spots or external parts of the body that respond to touch or stimulation in a way that feels pleasurable, erotic, or sexual, says sex educator Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago.
Sure there aresome body parts that are considered highly erotic by the majority of the population (like the genitals, for example). But ultimately what body parts qualify as an erogenous zone varies person-to-person. “As is the case with most sex-related stuff, everyone is different,” says Deysach. “No matter what spots are your personal erogenous zones and how you like those spots to be enjoyed, you’re normal.”
That means in order to know what spots you and your partner(s) enjoy having touched — and how you or they like having them touched — you’ll have to experiment and communicate.
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The tip of the penis isn’t the only head that wants in on the action. “From back-to-front, side-to-side the scalp is full of nerve endings,” says Deysach.
As for how you choose to incorporate the scalp into play? That will vary based on someone’s pain tolerance, pleasure preferences, love language, kinks, and more.
Someone whose love language is acts of service for example, might find it erotically charged to have a partner brush, braid, or wash their hair. Meanwhile, someone into power play and a D/s dynamic may find it more erotic to have their hair pulled, or incorporated into a predicament bondage set. (Of course, you always check in before being aggressive with someone’s hair or head, notes Deysach).
“Some people can get chills up and down their spine just from having their scalp lightly touched,” with a finger, feather, or fingernail, she says.
Dirty talk, moans and groans, and audio erotica aren’t the only way to incorporate your ears in on sex. “The earlobe, interior portions of the ear, and behind the ear can all be very sensitive to touch,” says Deysach.
Some people enjoy the sensation of teeth nibbling on the earlobe, while others prefer to have their earlobes rubbed and massaged between a lover's fingers, she says. “You can also try flicking a tongue behind the ear,” she says.
If your partner is aurally enticed, you can combine sounds with physical sensations by whispering right next to (or in!) their ear, suggests Deysach. “The sensation of the air hitting the ear from a whisper can tickle and tingle in a way that some people enjoy.”
The buttcrack can respond favorably to touch and so can the buttcrack of the upper body: The armpit.
If you’re turned on my sweat, scents, and smells, you’re no stranger to the allure of armpits. But even if you’re not drawn to the area for its aroma, Carol Queen, Ph.D., a sexologist with sex toy company Good Vibrations, which sells The Cowgirl Sex Machine says you might be for the pleasure it can bring. The nerve-endings that make the area ticklish are the same nerve-endings that can make it enjoyable to have touched.
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Her recommendation: Let how ticklish the person is dictate the type of touch you use. “Someone who does not enjoy being tickled will not experience it as an erotic touch,” she says. “For them, a firmer touch will be best,” she says. Actually, rather than using just your finger tips, she suggests putting a little muscle behind your touch and massaging the area. (Pro tip: Massage oil is your friend here).
Of course, if your loverdoes enjoy the sensation of being tickled — or has a tickling fetish (known as knismolagnia) — get your fingers flying.
If the armpit is too sensitive, Dr. Queen recommends traveling South to the elbow.“Any joint has a more sensitive make-up than non-joints, and the elbow is no exception,” she says. “The fold of the elbow can respond pleasurably to sensation.”
One option is to run your nail up and down the arm, occasionally grazing the elbow crease, says Dr. Queen. Another is to use a sensation toy like a tickler, Wartenberg wheel, or a bullet vibrator along the crease.
Obviously, hands regularly get incorporated into sex during acts like handjobs, fingering, vulvar massage, and anal fingering. But hands don’t just give pleasure, they can alsoreceive pleasure.
“The hands aresuper-full of nerves, and can be quite sensitive to touch, stroking, and sucking and licking as well,” says Dr. Queen.
To start, she recommends incorporating a simple massage technique that helps open up the musculature in the hand. “Lace your fingers with your partners like you are about to read their palm, then hold their hand in position to stretch it out,” she says. This helps prep the area for touch.
From there, you might trace your hands' edges with a finger like a kid with a crayon.
Or, if you can treat a finger (or two) like a phallus, and suck its length. “If you have never had someone stick your fingers inside their mouth during sex, you may want to give it a try,” says Deysach. “Licking, stroking and sucking on hands and fingers is not only a sensational feeling, but when combined with eye contact it can be a very intense, erotic feeling.”
There’s a reason foot massages is a gateway to other types of sexual play. “The soles, sides, and toes of a foot can all be erogenous zones,” says Dr. Queen.
If your partner is on their feet all day, she recommends incorporating the feet with some deep tissue work. Experiment with different pressures and techniques, she suggests. If your partner is into it, you can use your fingers to part and play with their toes to give their insoles some reprieve from the hurt-so-good sensation of a massage.
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If you’re both into it, you can also incorporate your mouth in, she says. Known in the fetish community as shrimping, toes sucking can be seriously erotic! You can either focus on one toe and wrap your lips around it the way you might around a clit or cock, or you can move from toe to toe, she says.