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Although below-the-belt regions are well known sites of sexual pleasure, they're not the only spots that might make you go hmmm. Other areas of the body have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they're particularly sensitive to touch, pressure, or vibration.
These erogenous zones, as they're called, can contribute to sexual arousal. Think of them as the road map to your pleasure zones for you or your partner.
And while everyone is a little different when it comes to getting hot and bothered, several zones are famous for helping to crank the temperature dial. Might we suggest a little personal experimentation? Get started with the guide below.
Genital-specific erogenous zones
1. The clitoris: a ticket to climax maximus
The clitoris is extremely sensitive. For most people who have one, the clit is pretty freakin' important for a journey to O-town. But it's not just a tiny button of pleasure.
Thanks to 3-D models of the clitoris, we can visualize how it's shaped like a wishbone. The part you can see outside the body is “just the tip.” Internal parts of the clitoris extend down to encircle the vaginal canal and reach toward the anus.
You can certainly stimulate the clit externally, but you can also go for a little indirect rub-a-dub from inside or even some butt play.
2. The vagina: the V-spot to the G-spot and beyond
Heard of the famous mecca of sexual pleasure called the “G-spot?” Yeah, researchers are pretty sure that doesn't exist - or at least in the way we've thought of it. But there's still a pleasurable point to be found.
The “G-spot,” said to be located on the anterior (front) wall of the vagina, is likely the center of that clitoral wishbone rather than a completely different part of the anatomy that heightens pleasure.Hoag N, et al. (2017). The “G-spot” is not a structure evident on macroscopic anatomic dissection of the vaginal wall. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.10.071
Plus, the vaginal opening and interior do contain nerve endings, and stimulation can bring on an immense amount of satisfaction.
And let's not forget the cervix, located at the top of the vaginal canal. It has its own feel-good nerve pathways that can contribute to arousal and climax.Kontula O, et al. (2016). Determinants of female sexual orgasms. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v6.31624
3. The penis: a shaft with pleasurable power
The penis obviously makes the list as a magic wand for awakening desire. And while this can be a sensitive subject, circumcision doesn't appear to decrease sensation or sexual satisfaction.Tian Y, et al. (2013). Effects of circumcision on male sexual functions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. DOI: 10.1038/aja.2013.47
4. The scrotum: a stimulating sack
The scrotum is one of most notable erogenous zones, but the sack is super sensitive to touch. So be gentle when engaging in a little hand ball.
Erogenous zones on every body
5. The perineum: it taint to be forgotten
No matter your gender, the perineum is the area between the anus and your sexy bits. It earned its slang term, because “it ain't” your bum or your genitals. But the taint shouldn't be defined by what it isn't. It can be a serious source of pleasure.
We could offer a lengthy anatomy lesson, but the bottom line (pun intended) is that within the perineum lies the perineal nerve. That nerve transmits signals of arousal from the genitals up your spinal cord to your noggin.
If you ain't had the pleasure of a little taint play, we'll leave you to it.
6. The anus: certainly not a bummer
Yep, a little rear action can lead to lots of sexual excitement. A 2016 study surveyed more than 700 participants, asking them to indicate on a diagram the parts of the body they perceived as erogenous zones. And let's just say the butt lit up.Nummenmaa L, et al. (2016). Topography of human erogenous zones. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-016-0745-z
But if you're not ready for full-on anal sex, you can still engage in butt play with a little rim caressing or digital penetration. Even just touching the cheeks and the upper thighs can increase arousal.
7. The breasts and nipples: tantalizing tatas
Female breasts can obviously play an important role in breastfeeding, but breast and nipple play on anyone can also set off the fireworks of sexual excitement.
Using MRI technology, a landmark 2011 study found that nipple stimulation in women activated the genital sensory cortex, the same part of the brain revved by the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. People with a penis have a genital sensory cortex, too, and the penis sends its signals there.Komisaruk BR, et al. (2011). Women's clitoris, vagina, and cervix mapped on the sensory cortex: fMRI Evidence. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02388.x
Head and shoulder erogenous zones
8. The mouth and lips: pleasure in the pucker
Science says we kiss because it floods the body with natural feel-good chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. These chemicals can fuel desire for our partner by juicing our excitement. So go ahead and rediscover the pleasure of first base.
9. The neck: get at those good kind of chills
We sometimes refer to the hairs on the back of our neck standing up, and there's a reason for that. It's a highly sensitive region. A 2018 study found it to be a pleasure provoking part across genders, although a bit more arousing in women.Panagiotopoulou E, et al. (2018). Dissociable sources of erogeneity in social touch: Imagining and perceiving C-Tactile optimal touch in erogenous zones. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203039
10. Ears: lobes of love
The ear bone is connected to the neck bone… In a 2016 study, females ranked non-genital erogenous zones. The ears came in fourth - behind breasts, lips, and neck.Younis I, et al. (2016). Female hot spots: extragenital erogenous zones. DOI: 10.1097/01.XHA.0000481142.54302.08 Is it the same in all genders? Only one way to find out: nibble away.
While sexual arousal seems like a highly individual sort of thing, there's a bit of consensus on the spots that often get the motor running.
But there's no rush to get revved. Erogenous zone play makes for good foreplay, which ultimately makes for better sex. So take your time and get to know your own body or your partner's.
The list above describes some of the most common erogenous zones, but it is by no means exhaustive. The best way to find out what you and your partner like? Communicate, experiment, communicate some more, and repeat.