My neck…my back…
Editor’s Note: This article is intended to be broad in gender application. We would like to acknowledge that not everyone uses the same words to describe parts of their bodies, and that not all bodies look the same or function in the same way. It is our intention to be mindful and inclusive of trans, enby, GNC and intersex experiences. We hope this article helps you deepen a beautiful relationship with your body and encourages you to discover pleasure in many places!
In our busy, stressful, screen-based lives it’s easy to forget that our entire bodies are powerhouses of pleasure. Think how good it feels to get a haircut, a massage, or even how a little stretch and sitting up straight can change your perspective on your whole day (try it right now. See? Magic).
When it comes to sex, it’s very easy to become obsessed with what I’m going to call “the obvious targets” – namely, the genitals. There are so many other areas of the body that can bring all kinds of pleasure, and taking time to explore will expand and deepen not only your appreciation of your own body but your whole perception of sex itself. Understanding erogenous zones is also super important for people who are experiencing decreased sexual sensation in the genitals, which can happen due to illness, disability or following surgery, or for whom interaction with their genitals can trigger dysphoria.
Shifting the focus to different parts of the body ensures that everyone can enjoy sexual pleasure and connection, and with some areas even capable of inducing their very own special kind of orgasm*, we promise this little read will be well worth your time.
*Shout out to the nipples – we love you.
Responsible for giving us theatre, tzatziki and the best kind of yoghurt, like all good things the word “erogenous” comes from our friends the Ancient Greeks. Combining “eros” meaning love and “genous” meaning generating, it’s the perfect word to describe those areas of the body that feel especially sensual and arousing to touch. Next time you’re getting down to business with your partner(s), or if you’re taking some time for a little self-care or masturbation, try exploring some of these zones. You never know, you might just discover your new favourite thing.
The Seven Erogenous Zones
The beautiful thing about erogenous zones is that there is a lot of overlap between bodies, so whoever you are and whoever you’re sleeping with, there’s a good chance that at least a few of these nerve-rich pleasure centres will hit the spot.
Remember – not everything is for everyone, and the sexiest thing you can do for another person (and also for yourself) is to ask “what do you want?” and “what feels good?”
1. The Lips
Kissing is the gateway drug to all things sexual, sensual and intimate. With an abundance of sensitive nerve endings, the lips have some of the thinnest layers of skin on the body (which, side note, is why you should use a lip balm with an SPF). They are super sensitive to touch and temperature, and become even more so as blood flows to the lips when we are aroused.
Experiment with pressure and sensation whilst kissing, lightly nibbling, sucking or licking the lips of your partner, and work in some temperature play with warm and cold drinks, or ice cubes.
2. The Neck
For a lot of people the neck is an incredibly sexy area of the body to get to know. Again, the skin here is thin and delicate, and with important blood vessels and our airway tracking through it, the neck can be erotic in its vulnerability.
Light touches and kisses traced across the sides and nape of the neck can send shivers down spines, and biting the neck and shoulders can be very arousing for both givers and receivers – just make sure your partner is into it first! It’s incredibly sexy to communicate during sex – “Bite my neck” or “Can I bite you?” Hot stuff.
As choking becomes increasingly popular, communication is even more necessary. Do not, I repeat, do not choke someone without their consent. Make sure you have an awareness of safety, whether you are engaging in choking or breath play. A bit of pressure can be sexy, a bruised windpipe – not so much.
3. The Earlobes
Staying up top for just a little bit longer, the earlobes are also an erogenous area of the body to play with. They’re so soft, and small, and again are packed with plenty of delicious nerve endings. Light licks or nibbles go down a treat with people who are into their earlobes, with the added benefit that you can whisper all kinds of naughtiness right into their ears…
4. Breasts, Chests and Nipples
Now we are, as they say, cooking with gas. A great area to move to when you and your playmate/s are warmed up, nipples of all types of bodies can be super sensitive to touch and temperature. Start soft, with stroking, licking, and light sucking, with the option to work your way up to more intense biting and twisting if you’re feeling (con)sensually sadistic. Nipples, chests and breasts are also great to touch and play with yourself when receiving oral, intensifying the sensations and adding an extra layer of arousal to the experience.
5. Inner Thighs
Speaking of oral…next time you’re between the legs of your lover, don’t go straight for the genitals. Instead, tease with light kisses, licks and nibbles along the inner thighs to ramp up the erotic tension. This erogenous zone is all about anticipation, so take your time here.
Hands on thighs are also hot, tracing up and down with light scratches or squeezes. Bonus points for doing this in public – the perfect one for under the table. Play with seeing how much you can tease before your partner is begging for more.
All hail the humble bum, the great sexual equaliser of our times. Everyone has one, but not everyone wants action in this area so again communication is key.
Externally, the cheeks of the bum are a delightful erogenous zone to get to know. Whether it’s squeezing, stroking, spanking, or biting, touch on the bum cheeks feels as good to give as it does to receive.
Internally, the anus of most people born with penises is home to a small gland called the prostate, also known as the “p-spot”. Well, not exactly – the prostate actually sits just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, meaning it can be felt through the rectal wall. People with prostates are able to experience orgasms just from stimulation of this area alone, a little known fact that completely changes our preconceived ideas of a penis-bodied orgasm being ejaculatory and dick-centric. Even if you don’t have a prostate, anal play is something that can feel really good, as the anus is home to lots of wonderful and exciting nerve endings.
Peak performers for obvious reasons, the genitals are often (but not always) a person’s ultimate erogenous zone. Even so, there’s more to explore here than you might initially think.
When it comes to vulvas, there are so many hot spots – the clitoris and the g-spot, most obviously. But did you know that some people can experience orgasm from stimulation of the cervix? Common in tantric sex practices, a cervical orgasm releases waves of pleasure throughout the whole body, and unlike the few seconds of a clitoral orgasm this sensation can last for literal hours. Anybody else keen for some of that? Yes, please – replies everybody ever.
With penis bodies, again it pays dividends to explore the less obvious centres of pleasure. Many people love the feeling of having their balls played with, or pressure on their perineum (the skin between the balls and the anus). Next time you’re giving head, try exploring with your tongue and hands to see what new sweet spots you can find.
Some Lesser Known Erogenous Zones
Getting less obviously sexy body parts involved in your erogenous exploration can pay dividends. Here are a couple of kookier places you might like to start.
1. The Feet
Our poor feet never get the love they deserve, but like other areas on this list, they are packed with nerve endings and pressure points that can feel delicious when stimulated. The mere thought of a foot massage is enough to make some people cross-eyed with pleasure, and it’s a wonderful way to build intimacy and deeper connection whilst doing something very loving for someone else – or indeed yourself!
Turning the dial from cosy to sexy, there’s something incredibly erotic about kissing and licking feet. The sensation itself can be very arousing for the receiver, with an extra layer of psychological stimulation for all parties involved. It can be a powerful act of adoration or submission to kiss someone’s feet, and the rush that can create in giver and receiver is as erotic as any physical touch.
2. The Eyes
We’re not about to suggest you poke your partner in the eye, although a light touch from fingertips or lips on the eyelids can be very sensual. What we’re really talking about here is the act of looking itself.
For some people, watching or being watched is a huge turn-on, whether that’s taking place during a sexy striptease or just sitting in the pub. So much is conveyed by the eyes, with our pupils dilating when we’re aroused and eye contact creating connection and intimacy. Next time you’re with someone, really take them in with your eyes, or watch yourself in a mirror, and see how playing with this erogenous sense can amp up your arousal.
3. The Armpit
The skin of your armpits is much thinner than in other areas of your body, making them very sensitive to touch and temperature. Similarly to feet, the armpits are not an area of the body that generally gets much love, and licking, kissing or stroking this area can be a big turn on psychologically, again proving a kind of intense adoration and lust that is very hot for both givers and receivers. The armpits are also naturally a hot spot for anyone turned on by tickling.
4. The Brain
The most important erogenous zone of the whole body is the mind. Without stimulating the imagination and developing trust, none of these other areas would make much impact. Think about it – if you go to the doctor and they examine your genitals, you’re unlikely to be feeling super aroused. You’ll most likely be cold, cross, and longing for the experience to be over. Sex is as much a function of the mind as it is the body, if not – controversial opinion alert – even more so.
Stimulate each other’s minds by sending dirty texts, and complimenting each other. Explain in detail exactly what you’re going to do when you see each other again. Grow your own sexual imagination through watching porn and reading erotica. Unlike other physical erogenous zones, there are no limits when it comes to stimulating your mind.
To tell you the truth, every part of the body has the potential to be an erogenous zone. Explore, play and discover your own pleasure points and those of your playmates but remember, as a wise woman once said – communication is much sexier than an unwanted tongue in the ear.