There’s more to sex and foreplay than the obvious. Knowing and understanding your partner’s erogenous zones — and your own — is key to increasing your sexual satisfaction. The big ones are obvious — the clitoris, the head of the penis — but there’s a lot more area to cover if you really want to heat things up.
“Erogenous zones are areas of the body with heightened sensitivity that cause a sexual arousal response,” says Megwyn White, a clinical sexologist and director of education at Satisfyer. “The number of erogenous zones can actually depend on the person, so there is no specific answer. People with vulvas and people with penises can have different types of erogenous zones, so the number is not mutually exclusive.”
As White notes, not all bodies are the same — meaning different people respond with sexual arousal when different parts of their bodies are stimulated — so it’s important (and fun) to experiment with yours (and your partner’s) erogenous zones to find out what really turns you on.
“Erogenous zones can play a vital role in foreplay for yourself before masturbation or with a partner,” White says. “Given each person may have different erogenous zones, it is important that you communicate with your partner on what feels good to you. It is a fun way to get to know yourself and what your partner likes.”
When exploring , either solo or with a partner, White points out there are also multiple ways to offer sexual stimulation besides using your naked fingers. “Finger vibrators, such as Satisfyer High Fly and Satisfyer Candy Cane, are a great tool for exploring different erogenous zones by yourself or with a partner, as they can be used all over the body.”
Again, exploration and communication are key to finding what works for you and your partner, but in the meantime, White shares some of the most popular erogenous zones to kick off your explorations.
This one is probably not a surprise. “Each nipple has hundreds of nerve endings, to the point where some people can orgasm from nipple stimulation,” White explains. Many people enjoy oral stimulation — kissing, licking, and sucking — on their nipples, or the use of a toy that mimics oral stimulation.
The inner thighs are super sensitive; even a light, grazing tough or slow stroking can get someone feeling pretty hot and bothered. “Other areas that are great to experiment with are slow strokes along the inner thighs, the backs of the thighs, and butttocks,” White says. “All of these areas can help to increase the connection to the pelvic floor muscles and ultimately help to indirectly trigger orgasmic contractions.”
A surprisingly sensitive area! Try gently caressing your partner’s wrist or gently kissing and licking it to turn up the heat. YOU might even entwine your wrist with your partner’s in the heat of the moment.
Nape of neck
The neck is so sensitive that even the slightest touch can turn on your loins, which makes sense — as White notes, the inner thighs, back of thighs, the nape of the neck, and even the arches of the feet, “all bridge a connection to the sexual centre and are great areas to focus on beyond the genitals.” One way to explore the neck is moving your fingers along it or softly blowing and kissing it.
Bottom of the feet
There’s a reason foot massages feel so good. Treat your partner to one, and experiment with different strokes and types of pressure until you find a rhythm that hits the spot. You might even want to try sucking and licking their toes and feet.
If you’ve received a nice scalp massage, you know how tingly it can make you feel. That’s because of its many nerve endings. Give your partner a deep, sensual scalp massage during foreplay, making sure to concentrate on areas behind the ears and right above the neck.
The most sensitive areas of the vulva
Well, obviously. But as White notes, the vulva has multiple erogenous zones with the clitoris being only one — albeit the most sensitive, with approximately 8,000 nerves all concentrated in one area. “Those with vulvas tend to need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm,” White says. “With oral sex, there’s an increased opportunity to experiment with a wider variety of stimulation and uniquely target the clitoris, a highly sensitive erogenous zone.”
Oral sex allows you “to really take your time exploring the vulva, as you intuit and observe the changes in arousal such as pulsing of the pelvic muscles, increased blood flow, and lubrication,” White says.
Whether with a partner or not, experiment with finger stimulation and your hands, along with different pressure and tempo as well as kissing, sucking, and licking.
The most sensitive areas of the penis
When looking for the most sensitive areas of the penis, White says you want to target the glans, frenulum, foreskin, scrotum, and testicles.
“The glans of the penis, like the glans clitoris, are the most sensitive area and highly concentrated with nerve endings,” White says. “Lying just underneath the glans is the frenulum, which is a highly erogenous zone that often doesn’t get enough attention. Your tongue and mouth are able to both hold the glans of the penis and direct focused stimulation of the frenulum at the same time or independently.”
Similarly, according to White, your mouth can stroke the sensitive tissues within the shaft and modulate the focus of the tongue against the various zones with wave-like pressure. “Just like the vulva, you can also use your hand in the supporting role of stroking the length of the shaft or laterally,” she adds.
“As you tap into these erogenous areas, you may find that emotions emerge and that intimacy with your partner naturally deepens,” White says. “This shift — being inclusive of the whole body through erogenous discovery — can not only be a game changer for sexual confidence, but also help to unlock sensual embodiment as they truly embrace the multifaceted sensitivity of the skin they are in.”