I created Your Erotic Menu for Curious Couples as a tool to facilitate new ways of talking about sex with your partner. It’s a communication exercise. It’s an adult couples game. It’s a coaching process. It’s sex ed for grown ups.
I’m going to continue adding to Your Erotic Menu by breaking down each of the 6 sexual styles represented in the 186 erotic activities checklist found in the Erotic Menu experience.
Let’s start with the first sexual style, SENSUALITY.
One of my earliest memories was lying in my crib and running the satin trim of my favorite blanket between my fingers. It was a purely sensual experience. I used it to calm myself when I was left alone. I used it to put myself to sleep. It taught me that I could regulate my mood and sooth myself. To this day I love the feeling of satin against my skin.
We’re all born sensualists. The minute we enter this world, our 5 senses are pumping our brain with information that’s directing us away from pain and pointing us toward pleasure.
Lying against our mother’s skin. Smelling her scent, hearing her voice, tasting her milk, and gazing into her eyes. An infant’s senses soothe a baby with pleasure to regulate their distress and disorientation.
We’re all sensual beings. Sensuality is our birthright. We can consciously ignore our senses, but as long as we’re alive in a body, our senses are constantly offering up information that can move us toward pleasure, if we choose to tune in and listen.
So let’s look at why sensuality is inseparable from sexuality and eroticism.
My female clients in particular will often come to me with questions about sensuality. They’re concerned that they’re not sensual enough. Their partners may have told them this, or they themselves acknowledge it. They have a sense of what sensuality looks like in other women, but they don’t know how to embody it.
Sensuality can feel like a mysterious ingredient that you either have or don’t have.
Sensuality is not about doing anything. It’s actually more about not doing anything. Sensuality is about slowing down, getting out of your head and being in your body.
An infant isn’t conceptualizing what’s happening while it’s nursing in the arms of its mother. It’s not thinking about past or future events. It’s tuned into the present moment experience of its 5 senses. An infant gives itself over to the pleasure of the present moment.
This present moment experiencing of pleasure is what lies at the heart of our experience of sex. In other words sensuality is about letting go, and letting go into pleasure is what most of us struggle with when it comes to sexuality.
So, the first of the 5 sexual styles you’ll find in Your Erotic Menu checklist is Sensual.
If we’re going to build a lifetime of sexual fulfillment, both women and men need to become ‘master sensualists’.
Being a master sensualist is knowing how to tune out the world and tune into your body, your senses, your sensations, your experience of pleasure. As we all know, it’s easier said than done.
Let’s look at a few of the sensual activities from Your Erotic Menu checklist, and imagine the sensual experience of each one. Take your time.
What are the senses that each activity would engage?
Catch and release (playful chasing)
Clothing optional resorts/hot tubs
Food play (feeding each other)
Making out (clothes on)
Massage (sensual full-body with oil)
Sheets (satin, silk)
Showering /bathing together
Touching (feather light, stroking, back scratching, kneading)
Words of seduction
Which ones appeal to you? My guess is you chose activities that you can imagine deriving pleasure from. Activities that hold the promise of letting go, of dropping into your senses and sensations, of leaving the world behind.
If we’re going to become masters of sexuality we first need to explore our sensual natures and bring that same body awareness into our sexual/erotic experiences.
This is why I suggest couples play with the sensual experiences that train our brains to Be Here Now.
Present moment experiencing is the secret behind every aspect of sex, including orgasm control, erection challenges, performance anxiety, disconnection, painful intercourse and desire discrepancy.
If we can’t be present in sensual activities, like someone brushing our hair, we’re not going to fully let go and enjoy ourselves during sex.
So when clients want to learn how to be more sensual, I suggest they train themselves with sensual experiences that are pleasurable and relatively simple.
For instance, wherever you are right now, take 30 seconds to give yourself a pleasurable sensation.
Touch your arm with your hand by very slowly running your fingertips very lightly up and down your forearm.
Now, do it twice as slow and half as light, and give yourself permission to simply focus on that sensation without any other thoughts or judgments.
Turn the mental chatter off for 30 seconds and give your full attention to your sense of touch and sensation.
Notice what your arm is experiencing.
Now notice what your fingertips are experiencing.
What is the texture of the skin, the soft hairs, the warmth coming off your body?
Can you heighten the pleasure by altering the speed and pressure, or simply by noticing all these things more intensely?
Follow the pleasure. It will lead you to more pleasure.
If you really did this exercise, you’ll notice that you narrowed your focus to what was happening in the present moment. You tuned into your senses.
You’ll know you’re tuning into your body and out of your mind because:
your breath will deepen
your nervous system will relax
your facial tension will soften
self-judgment and past and future thinking will fade into the background
you’ll make pleasure your primary experience
This is what sensuality looks like.
When you notice someone who appears sensual to you, or your partner requests more sensuality from you, let it just be a reminder to you that you can turn up your sensuality by turning off your mental chatter, and literally dropping into your body.
Get intimate with your 5 senses in the present moment. Your senses are never not communicating to you. You just need to turn toward them with your attention.
What are you seeing that gives you pleasure? What are you hearing, touching, tasting and smelling that can give you pleasure in even the most mundane moments?
You were born into this world as a ‘master sensualist’. There’s nothing stopping you from being a master sensualist again.
If you’re connected to your 5 senses, you’ll feel different, you’ll walk and move differently, your presence will be felt by those around you, and your mastery will give you a sense of sexual empowerment that is only enjoyed by those who understand this secret.
Practice, practice, practice, and bring this skill of presence into your lovemaking, your relationships, your parenting, and your life.
Next week I’m going to write about the second sexual style represented in Your Erotic Menu, SLOW-SEX / TANTRA.
In my coaching practice, I specialize in working with couples, and individuals in relationships.
If you’d like to become a master sensualist and are ready to explore what sex and intimacy coaching can offer you, set up a Discovery Callwith me, and let’s talk about pleasure, and how to get you more of it..
Stay well and love deeply,
Schedule your free discovery call and learn how relationship and intimacy coaching opens the door to better Love, Sex and Desire.
News Flash! Studies now show that long-term couples who may feel they’ve lost that ‘lovin’ feelin’ can reactivate their brain’s romantic reward centers by ushering Romance back into their lives. The whirlwind excitement of Romance carries us into a relationship, and the deepening of Romance keeps that relationship alive and thriving.
Although I speak about how sexual styles may differ from each other, I don’t view them in any kind of hierarchy. I think all 6 sexual styles (sensual, slow sex, romance, passion, fetish and kink) are alive in every one of us. We’re just more familiar with some and less familiar with others. But combined, they offer a full-spectrum erotic experience that can feed us on multiple levels, sometimes even within one sexual occasion.
Ask most couples about the early stages of their relationship, and they’ll remember the ease they experienced around sex and intimacy. They’ll stare off into space with memories of testosterone-driven lust and estrogen flooding seduction.