We’ve been told – again and again by women’s magazines, movies, and TV shows – that we need to stimulate erogenous zones for sexual satisfaction.
Even the term invites exploration, doesn’t it?
Having been coined in 1889, Dr. Thomas Savill was among the first to formally use it in a lecture on hysterical skin symptoms in 1904.
The word erogenous comes from the Greek eros, which means love, and the the suffix genous, which means ‘producing.’
Erogenous zones are sensitive areas of the human body that, when stimulated, may create a sexual response such as relaxation, sexual arousal, and, hopefully, orgasm.
Women have six well-known erogenous zones. These are the clitoris, the vagina, the mouth and lips, the top of the neck, the breasts, and the nipples.
Pop culture typically accords men only three such highly sensitive areas: the penis, mouth, and lips.
Finding Pleasure in Unexpected Places
But there are other, often-overlooked areas on the body where one might creatively demonstrate interest and affection. A the right time , and in the right place, every inch of our skin can be a source of sexual pleasure and arousal.
Why limit our imagination and explorations to only those zones that we know?
So, where should we begin our search for these unexpected erogenous treasures?
The skin is always thinner where the body flexes and the nerves and blood vessels are closer to the surface. These corners of the human body are always rich with erotic promise.
The Inside of the Wrist
Kate McCombs, a sex educator based in New York, says the wrist – especially the inside of the wrist – can be an exciting spot. “It’s got a lot of nerve endings,” she says. “It’s right at that pulse point, and it’s that first stage of when your body starts to become more intimate.”
Touch softly at first, allowing your partner to become aware that you’re touching them sensually. People aren’t used to being touched there, and your partner may need a moment to understand your intentions.
“People often rush stimulation,” says McCombs. “Taking a second and making eye contact can go a long way toward creating a mood.”
The scalp is also full of nerve endings. There is a delicious eroticism in the sensation of fingernails gently running through the scalp. When done correctly, this small act of affection will send tingles through your partner’s entire body.
Many experts suggest that you pay special attention to the space behind your partner’s ears, just above the neck. Don’t ignore the hair, too.
You can deflect a single hair on your head and feel it. You know, too, whether it was a raindrop or a light breeze that just grazed your locks.
Behind the Knees
That soft, delicate spot behind the knee is yet another often overlooked erogenous zone. Give the area some gentle attention during a massage. You can also use your mouth and tongue there before moving up or down the leg.
“The spot behind your knee may not have gotten much love in the past, but stroke it lightly with your hand – or have your partner do it – and you’ll realize that it’s much more sensitive than you realized,” says San Francisco-based sex educator and writer, Emma McGowan.
The Small of the Back
Exactly what makes the small of the back a sexually-charged zone is unclear. Perhaps it’s because the nerves in this portion of the spine are connected to the pelvis. Or maybe it has to do with the erotic vulnerability that is implied in being touched from behind.
For whatever reason, the slightest touch here can evoke pleasure and feelings of intimacy. “Your lower back, just above the crease of your butt, is a supersensitive spot,” says McGowan. “Think about anytime someone has put their hand there as you’re walking together.”
Titillate the area with a feather or gently run your lips and tongue in the trench of the spine. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try an ice cube or a vibrator for some sensual foreplay.
The inside and outside of the ankles are sensitive spots with a multitude of nerve endings. Each corresponds directly to some of the most important erogenous zones of the body: the vagina, penis, uterus, and prostate.
The sensual areas located just below the ankle bones correspond to the ovaries and testicles, which are responsible for fertility, increasing the libido, and improving sexual performance.
The soles of the feet also have tiny sensory pathways to the chest. Touching this area can send waves of sexual energy to the breasts and nipples.
The Crook of the Arm
“If you’ve ever had the crook of your arm stimulated – the inner portion where the humerus connects the ulna – you’ll likely know how sensitive this area can be,” says feminist writer Gigi Engle, who is also a certified sexologist. “The skin there is thin, leading to a more intense feeling.”
To start, try running your fingers ever-so-lightly along the inner arm between the wrist and the elbow. “If it tickles too much, you can also try massaging this area for a deeper feeling,” says Engle.
While not considered an obvious erogenous part of the body, the eyes are capable of sending subtle but powerful erotic signals.
Just looking at a person in a certain way – or being watched – can create erotic sensations. These might range from shivers down your spine to a feeling of hot breathlessness.
Pupils dilate when we are aroused. This makes us appear more attractive to the opposite sex. Relationship experts say the longer the eye contact between two people, the greater and deeper the intimacy.
Hands are extremely sensual. The results of recent scientific research show that men and women find well-shaped, well-groomed hands sexually attractive.
Shannon Chavez, a psychologist and certified sex therapist in Los Angeles, goes so far as to call hands “one of the most important sex organs.” Why not? Even a light touch there can gently produce waves of sensation.
“When you suck them, you’re actually having a form of oral sex,” Chavez says. “If a partner sucks on a finger and massages it with the tongue, it sends the signal to the reward center of the brain similar to sex.”
During a movie or a long walk together, tease your partner’s palm. In the bedroom, Glamour Magazine’s Amanda Chatel suggests having your partner gently kiss the sensitive pads of your fingertips, using their tongue to draw slow circles. “If you’re into it, try a little light suction,” says Chatel.
Exploring Lesser-Known Erotic Zones
When people talk about erogenous zones, our minds almost always turn to the obvious body parts. However, there are many areas on our bodies that – while they may have fewer nerve endings – can become erogenous if you take care to pay attention.
So, go ahead, spend some time exploring your own body and that of your partner, as well. Make that intimate moment a pleasurable way to discover what you and your partner might enjoy.
Dutch researchers have found that the mere expectation of touch triggers activity in the planning and motivation centers of the brain. This is crucial for building arousal.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your partner what they like. They may just surprise you… and arouse you!
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