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Everything you need to know about sensation play

Everything you need to know about sensation play

What is sensation play?

Fishermans Friends…what does this make you think of? I doubt it’s freshening the breath. This was the buzzword for a couple of years. Why? Horny people swing by the servos before dropping in to see a lover. A little minty breath whilst going down on someone could create quite the sensation.

We’ve probably moved on from being friends with the fisherman (or have we?). BUT, sensation play is still very much front and center stage. Let’s sink our teeth into (fresh mints again?) the wonderful world of sensation play!

Sensation play is the act of stimulating the senses (touch, smell, sound, taste and sight) in various ways to heighten or experiment with different types of pleasure. Our senses have the ability to evoke memories, fantasies and eroticism, making it a (very) transcendent experience. It’s a creative way to remain completely present with your partner/s and takes orgasm and penetrative sex off the pedestal, focussing more on pleasure as the objective.

How to get started with sensation play

So you’re curious about sensation play. If you are thinking about trying it with a partner/s, discuss it with them first, outside of the bedroom. This allows them to consider the prospect of sensation play without the pressure to say yes in the heat of the moment.

An example of how you could approach the topic with your partner is;

“I've been curious about exploring sensation play together, and I was wondering how you feel about trying it with me?”

This allows your partner to share their thoughts and creates a space to discuss each other’s boundaries beforehand, for example; “I’m comfortable with temperature play, but i’d like to be able to see what’s happening the entire time” or “I’d like to experiment with touch but don’t feel comfortable with inflicting pain.” Make sure you encourage an open line of dialogue before, during and after to reduce the risk of something going sideways.

As a sexologist, I recommend using the traffic light system, green is for keep going, orange suggests that you are hitting your threshold and red means stop. This is an effective tool for communicating your boundaries in the moment so that you and your partner have a safe, comfortable and most importantly pleasurable experience together.

Sensation play is not one of those things that can be rushed (sadly, it’s not for the 15 minute quickies during the work day). Trust me, you are going to want to indulge yourself. Schedule a date night/day and build the suspense leading up to play.

What are you going to wear?
What playlist are you going to put on?
How are you going to set the mood?
What props do you need?

This is a great way to re-ignite the flames of passion with your partner and connect on a deeper level, even before you have taken your clothes off (it’s also highly arousing).

So, we know that sensation play involves stimulating one (or more?!) of the following senses.

  • Touch
  • Smell
  • Sound
  • Taste
  • Sight

But how do we actually do the stimulating? Tell me more! Babe, I got you - here’s some inspiration to get your juices flowing.


Budget friendly

Nails - use your nails or the tips of your fingers (for the folks who chew their nails) to lightly tickle or stroke your partner's skin. Focus on the erogenous zones (nipples, neck, inner thighs etc). Even a little head massage (feels amazing) and is a great intro into foreplay.

Ice Ice baby - Two ways you could do this, either glide the ice cube along their body with your hands and let your mouth pay attention to other areas (talk dirty in their ear, gently kiss their lips etc) or hold the ice cube in your mouth with your teeth and run it along their body. I’d recommend starting either at their ankles or neck and work your way to their genitals (talk about building suspense!).

Treat yo self

Candles - You could experiment with wax or massage oil candles (make sure it’s body safe). Drip the hot wax or oil over your partner's body. This type of play steps into the realm of experiencing pain as a form of eroticism (did someone say flames of passion?!). This is a great one combined with sensory deprivation, such as wearing a blindfold.

Paddles and floggers - channel a bit of BDSM with some impact play. Tow the line of pain and pleasure and strike your partner on the butt, thighs, back or chest.

Wartenberg wheel - one of the most raved about toys for sensation play. This is a handheld spiky, pinwheel that you can roll along the body. Play around with the pressure. You can keep it gentle, almost like a tickling sensation all the way to inflicting pain on your partner (in a pleasurable way).

Nipple clamps - not everyone’s cup of tea but could be yours? Nipple clamps feel pleasurable just sitting there during play but you could also tug on and manipulate them to experiment with varying levels of pressure and types of sensations.


Set the scene by spritzing the air with a notable scent before play. You could even incorporate it into the play as a little surprise, perhaps when the other person is blindfolded? Hot.


If there is a song playing mid-sex, when I hear that song again, it’ll take me back to that moment. Has this happened to you? Try these:

Erotic audio - try listening to an erotic story with your partner. There’s quite a few free erotic podcasts. Just type in erotic stories into Spotify and take your pick.

Sexy playlist - create your own or find a hot and spicy playlist to set the mood.

ASMR - If you love aural stimulation, you should definitely listen to some ASMR solo or with your partner. Think sounds like whispering voices, sheets on skin, kissing, heavy breathing and sex sounds (drool). Bring on the goosebumps and flutters in your stomach (or other places?!). Audio Desires is a great website for erotic AMSR clips.


Consciously playing with taste is an underutilized sensual technique. Channel your inner Samantha Jones from Sex in the City where she lays sushi on her body in preparation to surprise her partner when he arrives home. Decorate you or your partner's body with sensual foods (strawberries and chocolate? Sushi? Honey? Whipped cream?) Get as messy as you like with it. Then, feed each other or eat off each other's body.


Covering you or your partner's eyes can create an intense sense of anticipation (...where are they going to touch next?).

Budget friendly

Use a shirt tie or scarf from your wardrobe

Treat yo self

If you are feeling fancy, you could buy a silky blindfold (did someone say luxury?!).

Read more on Stimulation:

Looking for more tips on how to level up your play in the bedroom? Check out our blog on ways to spice up your sex life, our guide to Foreplay as the Main Event or find out all you need to know about mutual masturbation.

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