Breaking down what partners might overlook.
One 2016 study found that the entire body had erogenous potential (happy news for Master and His dievca who love to touch). Note, there are frequent commonalities that are worth exploring.
One 2014 study found that the clitoris and the nipples are the most sensitive to both pressure and vibration (go figure). But, the areas found to be most sensitive to “light touch,” were the neck, forearm, and vaginal margin (the area just at the end of the vaginal opening and at the beginning of the perineum).
A study published in June 2020 used heat maps to show where men and women considered their erogenous zones, based on how aroused they became from appearance alone and then touch alone, as well as how the arousal changed whether they engaged in solo play or with a partner. Women consistently ranked the genital area, breasts, butt, and inner thighs high for touch, though the shoulders, hips, and the back of the neck were also shown consideration.
The study also examined what women consider to be men’s erogenous zones, and vice versa—and while most findings line up, it does show there are areas that might be missed for stimulation. Areas like the neck, inner thighs, and upper back, were ranked erogenous by women in the study, if slightly lower on the scale than the breasts, genitals, and butt.
According to a paper published in 2012, other areas include the mouth, ears, lower back, head and hair, and even—for some people behind the knee.
Maybe we should just take time with our partners and explore their whole bodies to determine their favorite erogenous zones – it won’t be time wasted~
Further Reading – links to related studies in order:
A “Thank You” to Rebecca Decynzski from the Maudern
What is happening between your legs as well as between your ears during arousal?
Desire usually refers to emotionally wanting to have sex, while arousal refers to the physiological changes in your body that happen when you are sexually excited.
During arousal, your brain is welling up with powerful hormones: dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine, which comes first, triggers feelings of motivation. I really want to get this person naked. Oxytocin, the ‘Cuddle Hormone’, kicks in later and makes you feel bonded with your partner.
As a pair, the two neurotransmitters explain why we feel instantly — if momentarily — bonded to our partner when we start to feel turned on. During arousal, certain geography of the brain lights up like fireworks. Half a dozen parts of the brain become activated, including the amygdala (associated with emotions), the hippocampus (associated with memory management), and the anterior insula (helps process physical feelings).
Men and women’s brains don’t always respond the same way to arousing stimuli. In a study published in 2015, men and women watched a series of erotic videos while researchers examined their brains using an fMRI. Both men and women reported feelings of arousal while watching the videos, but researchers noticed that men showed more brain activity in the amygdala while women showed hardly any.
More so than men, women tend to be aroused by stimuli that they can “imagine themselves into” — like an erotic story, or an imagined fantasy. Another study that tracked eye movement as people watched pornography, found that both men and women’s eyes were locked on the woman in the film — regardless of their sexual orientation. The theory? Women need to imagine their way “into” the scene, while men are satisfied by focusing on the visual imagery alone.
Researchers also noticed that women’s stimulation of the vagina, clitoris, and nipples all correspond to the same precise area of the sensory cortex — meaning that all of those areas register as erogenous. Yes, confirming the obvious, but arousal has been difficult to measure as there is often a disconnect between what is happening in your genitals, your brain, and your consciousness.
John Bancroft, Ph.D., senior researcher and former director of the Kinsey Institute, has studied how arousal develops, and his research pinpoints something important:
We need to be aware of our own arousal before we can really feel aroused.
“In the male, sexual arousal is typically associated with some degree of penile erection. The man will become aware of this, and focus his attention on the idea of his penis being stimulated,” explains Dr. Bancroft. But, in women, the equivalent — the stiffening of the clitoris — isn’t nearly as noticeable, and “typically the woman is less aware of her genital response unless her genitals are touched.”
Cognitive components of arousal are especially important for women. Just like sensual touching can jumpstart arousal, so too can sensual thought. Reading erotica, watching pornography, fantasizing about an erotic scenario, or even just thinking about sex all trigger a response in the brain — which, in turn, contributes to feelings of arousal. The biggest sex organ in the body is the brain, talking with a lover in a loving, sexy way can cause a man to become erect, or a woman to become wet.
The mechanics of sexual arousal are well-known, but are there things that can take our arousal to the next level? There are all kinds of supposed ‘sexual aids’ in the form of herbs, supplements, and exercise methods that claim to improve libido. e.g. eating oysters, taking ginseng, using THC lube. No conclusive evidence has been found that these items do not work, but there is no good evidence that they do work either.
What is recommended and proven is communication. The sharing of one’s desires is a great arousal jump-starter. Working to shed inhibitions and opening yourself emotionally can help you get into the right headspace to feel turned on. Don’t think of ‘foreplay’ as something completed to get to a conclusive event (orgasm). Think ‘sex play’ — a menu of different activities to create pleasure between partners, sometimes with a formal conclusion, sometimes without.
Hmmm…dievca falls into this group…
Undergraduate and graduate women (N = 245) from a large midwestern university volunteered to complete nine self‐report scales and inventories. Thirty‐seven percent of the sample reported they had experienced nocturnal orgasm, and 30% reported having had the experience in the past year. The predictors accounted for a statistically significant amount of variation in each of the dependent variables: 33% of “ever experienced nocturnal orgasm,” 44% of “experienced nocturnal orgasm in the past year,” and 27% in the case of “frequency of nocturnal orgasm in the past year.” Positive attitudes toward and knowledge of nocturnal orgasms, sexual liberalism, and waking sexually excited from sleep (without experiencing orgasm) were the most important predictors of nocturnal orgasm experience.
-The Journal of Sex Research, Volume 22, 1986 – Issue 4. Barbara L. Wells