Stimulating the senses with sensory play

The blindfold slips into place. A warm breeze brushes over your bare skin. Something cold touches your chest. Is it ice? A piece of glass? Where it is heading as it glides in a figure-eight over your body?

This is senstation play, also known as sensory play. It's a form of foreplay and kink designed to engage the senses and make the person on the receiving end anticipate and crave simulating touch. Sensation play can take a lot of forms, though it often involves one person being blindfolded and either sitting or laying down in the nude. Their partner then uses a number of items or toys to engage the sense of touch.

This week I'd like to talk about some of my favourite approaches to sensory play and answer some common questions about how to practise it.

Who would enjoy sensory play?

Sensory play, especially when it is relatively mild, is a great form of foreplay between sexual partners. It's also a fun, usually softer, aspect of kink scenes. Really any two partners who want to tease and heighten their senses will likely enjoy sensory play.

Remember that, as with any kind of kinky or sexual play, it's important to get your partner's consent before you blindfold them and start stimulating their sense of touch. Sensation play should be planned, not a surprise. Be sure to discuss up front the types of sensations you want to explore together. Some people might love the feel of ice or coarse rope running along their skin while others may prefer something warm like wax or soft like a feather. Make sure you're both on the same page about what to try before you begin.
This is not how you tease someone with a feather! 

Where to set up?

Sensation play usually takes place on a bed or in a chair. One person, the receiver of the sensations, usually lays on the bed or sits in the chair. They may wish to remain in their underwear or be nude for the scene. If you are going to use any messy materials, such as wax, water, or baby oil then I recommend putting down a sheet or an old blanket before you begin. You don't want to ruin the good sheets on the bed or make a mess on the carpet.
Trust me 

When to engage in sensation play

Sensation play works best when the person receiving new sensations can relax and focus on what their skin is experiencing. It's a good idea to set aside a chunk of time, perhaps half an hour, when you can be fairly certain you will not be interrupted or have other distractions. Sensation play tends to work best in a relatively quiet environment where the receiver can be blindfolded and sit (or lay) calmly.

And then the excitement begins! 

What to use in sensation play?

The person causing sensations can make use of all sorts of objects and toys. Whatever you plan to use, make sure you clear it with your partner first. You might be thinking hot wax and clothespins on her nipples will be exciting while she might want to feel the touch cool, smooth glass and your fingernails across her back. Make sure you're on the same page before you begin.

This is a good place to start

Some common items used in sensation play include, though are not limited to:
  • Ice cubes
  • Candle wax
  • Feather duster
  • Smooth, cool glass
  • Rope
  • Your fingernails
  • Drops of water, delivered from your fingertips or an eyedropper
  • Smooth metal, such as a spoon, that has been placed in warm or cold water
  • The point of a pen cap
  • Soft leather from a belt or flogger
  • Soft material such as silk
  • Your lips and/or teeth
  • The dull side of a knife
  • Food or candy, such as chocolate

How to get started?

The first thing to do is to get the person who will be receiving the sensation to undress and place themselves on the chair, bed, massage table, or other suitable surface. Make sure they are relaxed and comfortable. They will be in place for a while so they may want a pillow or have the heat turned up.

Blindfold the person who is to receive the sensations and then take out the toys you plan to use. (See the above list for suggested items.) Start off lightly caressing and touching the person receiving the sensations. Gradually introduce new toys, switch back and forth between different items so the person receiving them isn't sure what to anticipate next.

Keep in mind the idea is to engage the person receiving sensory play. They should feel anticipation, eagerness, and sometimes a little surprise as you switch between toys. They should not feel shocked, uncomfortable, or startled. Move slowly, talk to your partner during the process. Be sure to check in with him or her occasionally to make sure they remain comfortable and that they are enjoying the experience.
She seems to be having a good time

Why try sensation play?

At this point you may be thinking that this all sounds well and good, but why try sensory play? Maybe it sounds like you're simply touching or tickling someone a lot while they just lay there. Sensory play tends to put emphasis on the play aspect. It's about one person using their creativity and timing to spark the imagination and (often) the desire of their partner. It's about engaging and teasing, inviting the person on the receiving end to anticipate and crave being touched.

When done well with an enthusiastic partner the experience is a lot of fun, often resulting in laughter, squirming, and a lot of touching and kissing. Sexual partners may also wish to introduce other toys toward the end of sensory play, such as vibrators to create an intense finale to the experience.

The ultimate sensation to cap off an exciting experience!

You should also feel free to introduce little side games into sensory play. For example, ask your blindfolded partner to guess which item you are using on them. Cut up small pieces of food ahead of time to feed to them and see if they can guess, by taste alone, which item you are placing in their mouth. Ideally you'll keep your partner guessing, engage their imagination, and make them crave being touched even more!