Variety of Sensations

Stroking and Caressing

Stroking and caressing is usually carried out by using the flat of the hand in long strokes along the back, legs, breasts, stomach and shoulders. It is also arousing to have the face and hands stroked gently with light caresses. To further improve the stimulating sensation of stroking, loosely wrap a silk scarf around your hand before caressing your partner or use a soft brush to gently caress his or her body. If you or your partner has long hair, trailing hair slowly over your partner’s body can be highly arousing. Use your mouth and lips to caress your partner. Light kisses and soft licking over all parts of the body is highly stimulating. Stroking and caressing usually takes place at the start of lovemaking and can last from ten minutes to half an hour, or for as long as you both enjoy the sensations.


Massage requires a firm touch during which you should use your hands to not only caress your partner’s body but to manipulate the muscles beneath the skin. Massage can also be used in a non-sexual setting to relax and ease tired muscles. During love play it can add to arousal because it helps you to relax and feel ready to explore your emotions. The back and shoulders are a good place to start, but upper arms and legs can also benefit from different massage techniques. Use EB lubricant or good quality massage oil to help the hands slide over the skin without dragging. It will help you both relax and feel ready to enjoy the sexual experience. Massage is best given when there is plenty of time to undertake it – at least thirty minutes.


Kneading is a form of touch that is stronger and firmer than massage. Usually the hands are semi-clenched to allow the knuckles and fingers to press into the muscles – usually on the back and buttocks but be careful, this technique can be painful if carried out incorrectly. Used on the shoulders and neck can help knotted muscles to relax and always ask your partner if they want this kind of touching. Kneading can be a part of massage or a separate form of touching and should not last much more than ten minutes as the sensation can be painful if carried on for too long.

Rubbing and Circling

A rubbing action can often be very stimulating especially when used with massage oil or emotional bliss lubricant. Use the flat of the hand to rub in a circular fashion on the buttocks and thighs, breasts and back to produce a tingling sensation. Care should be taken not to press to hard so that the rubbing becomes uncomfortable.

Rubbing is also extremely stimulating if used on the penis but make sure you use plenty of lubricant to enhance the natural sensual experience. A light, but firm grip of the fingers around the penis is usually very arousing for men. Lubricant will help your hand glide up and down the length of the penis without dragging the foreskin, gently circle the head of the penis, paying special attention to the frenulum (in uncircumcised men), which is highly stimulating.

Circling can be very arousing for women. Once you are sure that the vaginal lips are well lubricated run a finger along one side of the vaginal lips, around the clitoris and down the other side of the vaginal lips. Once fully stimulated try a circular motion around the head of the clitoris can be very exciting and hugely pleasurable. Be wary of circling or rubbing directly on the clitoris as this can be uncomfortable when a woman is highly aroused.

Rubbing and circling should be used during the mid to later stages of lovemaking and should last as long as both of you feel comfortable with it.

Tickling or Teasing

Although tickling or teasing touch can be annoying at other times, during a sexual encounter it can add to a stimulating experience if used carefully and with understanding. Intense stimulation, alternated with gentle fingertip touching and brushing of the genitals can be extremely arousing. This approach can help to make lovemaking long lasting. The variation between strong arousal and gentle touching can delay orgasm until both of you are ready to reach a climax.

Gentle tapping on the clitoral area or the head of the penis, or soft flicking with the tongue on the tip of the penis or clitoris can be teasingly arousing. Light stroking and teasing can also be arousing as it allows the person receiving the touch to want more intense arousal. Alternating firm stroking of the thighs and back with lighter, less intense touching can improve sexual responsiveness and desire during lovemaking. Teasing and tickling should be part of love play and used for short periods of time (three to five minutes) to the taste of both of you.

Patting and Smacking

Patting can be gently arousing especially if concentrated on the buttocks and genital area. Soft rhythmic patting on the vulva area and light firm squeezing of the whole vulval area can be enjoyable at the beginning of love play. Some men also like their testicles to be patted but this must be done gently to avoid any discomfort. Gently patting of the clitoral area can be arousing because it introduces a teasing quality that many women enjoy during lovemaking. It can help if the woman holds the man’s hand while he pats the vaginal lips and clitoris so he understands how firm a touch she desires.

Smacking can also be arousing but should be undertaken with caution and only with the agreement of your partner. Using the palm of the hand, men and women often enjoy having the buttocks smacked during sex. Three or four reasonably hard smacks to each buttock is probably enough for most people before the experience becomes painful rather than fun. Each of you should take the lead from your partner and only carry on for as long as it seems enjoyable. It is also possible to use the flat back of a hairbrush, a small cane (the kind that support plants can be useful), a ruler or a piece of stiff cardboard to smack a partner. But this must be done with care and consideration for their personal pain level. Patting can be used in the mid lovemaking stage, while smacking should be saved for late stage of arousal. The couple should determine the length of time for both.

Licking and Biting

The mouth is next only to the genital area in having lots of nerve endings that can supply and receive pleasure. Kissing, licking and biting can all be stimulating and arousing during love play. Slow licking of the thighs, buttocks, breasts and genitals can be extremely arousing. Slow and circling licking of the nipples and inner thighs can be good at the start, followed by more intense licking along the length of the penis or vaginal lips. The neck and ears are also highly responsive when licked or kissed and can add to early arousal while your partner caresses other parts of the body.

Some couples also enjoy biting although it is important to avoid breaking the skin in case of bleeding. This is because AIDS and other infections can be passed through contact with infected blood. Gentle biting or nibbling that does not break the skin is OK and can be arousing on the buttocks and neck. Love bites (sometimes called ‘hickies’) should be avoided as there is a danger of infection from raising the blood to the skin, which then causes bruising. (Blood can sometimes pass from the surface of the skin into the mouth during the giving of the love bite.)

Licking can be very intense during oral sex so the couple should discuss the length of time spent on this. Biting should be kept to a minimum, and only used in circumstances where you feel completely safe.


Most people would say that pinching is not enjoyable in normal circumstances but during sex pinching can be stimulating for some couples. You may find that light pinching of the nipples is arousing for some people, although others find it too painful to be stimulating. Pinching can also be stimulating on the buttocks or thighs. Care should be taken to pinch areas of the body where there is plenty of flesh as this will be more arousing and less painful than if pinching takes place on less fleshy areas (such as the wrists and shins). Pinching should be used as part of a much wider repertoire of touching as it can be extremely uncomfortable if used without other kinds of caresses. Before attempting pinching, ask your partner how they feel about this kind of arousal.

The couple should determine the amount of pinching during sex. Any prolonged pinching of nipples or flesh should be avoided – no more than a few seconds – or the skin could be damaged, especially in the sensitive breast area.