Back To Basics: Another Look at 5 Simple Pleasures

simple pleasures

Pleasure comes in many forms. Where does pleasure intersect with sexuality for you?  Our five senses are the building blocks for how we experience the world. From this as a starting point, here are 5 ways to get more pleasure in your life (exponentially more in various combinations, but we’re keeping it simple for now). Let’s  take a little pleasure tour!

It’s worth noting though, that the fastest overall route to pleasure is self acceptance and curiosity!  So we’ll start with an invitation to accept your body for all of its awesomeness, and anticipation of its yet-to-be-discovered capacity for pleasure. Pursuit of pleasure is a lifelong endeavor so appreciate how far you’e come and here are some ideas that may inspire you to proceed with intention.

Sense of Smell

Smell is our strongest sense and it has the most powerful connection to memory. Does the smell of cut grass or the salty air instantly transport you to another time and place?  Do you still remember what your high school sweetheart used to smell like?  Do the words Drakkar Noir or Loves Baby Soft ring any bells? Thats the power of what your nose knows.

I’ve notice a huge spike in home fragrance and more specialized boutiques focusing on personal fragrances, candles, diffusers with coordinating soaps etc. It can be overwhelming for sure, but if you spend a little time with knowledgeable folx in one of these shops you can learn a lot about the notes and how they react with your skin or the environment.

What scents set the sexy scene for you? Do you prefer luxurious fragrances like vanilla, bergamot or rose, or earthy scents like patchouli or sandalwood…. What makes you feel sexy? Do you have a  favorite cologne for your partner to wear that drives you wild?   Is there a scented candle that puts you in the mood? Have you tried essential oils to support your intentions for relaxation or clearing.  Maybe you lean towards outdoorsy, rustic smells like that of a fireplace, the rain or cut grass- cologne, candles, essential oils, incense…experiment, you may just surprise yourself. Play around with this often overlooked element of self care and pleasure. 

Sense of Taste

There are many ways to bring taste into your sexuality. There is the taste of your lover’s kiss, their skin, their sweat…. Of course, this closely linked with  our sense of smell and  we can combine both to maximize the release of those pleasure hormones. I have a friend who just loves chocolate in a “next level” way.  Sometimes to heighten a sensual experience, they’ll take a piece of gourmet dark chocolate in their mouth to bring in that element and maximize the pleasure in the experience.  Mmmm, talk about delicious fun!

I will also mention aphrodisiacs. There is a lot of lore, and actually quite a bit of science supporting how some foods and the compounds therein support libido and body chemistry. A simple google search will yield tons of results and I’ll drop a few at the end of this article (and I promise a further exploration in a future post!)

Sense of Touch

How aware of your touch preferences and when’s the last time you experimented with it? How can you bring more mindfulness into how you are touching yourself or your partner?  I’m glad you asked…

Touch can be so much more than eager hands wandering around one’s body. There are about 1000 nerve endings per square inch of skin… talk about a wonderland! In case you’ve forgotten the details from your HS biology class, nerve endings are specialized to perceive touch, pain, itch, warmth cold. Skin is our largest organ and provides a ginormous playground for exploration.  

If you’re going to explore this with your partner, start by treating it as an experiment and try to keep the focus on curiosity as opposed to a goal of climax… How do I/they react to that specific type of touch?  What if I did it like this, or like that, and so on…

Need Some Ideas To Get Started?

Have you played with varying pressure?  Does a firm grip make you melt, or have you ever experimented with how lightly you can be touched and still get “tingles” (This is currently my favorite exploration).   What if you focus on one specific  spot… what if you engaged in long strokes… You can take that a step further and vary the touches- maybe a little impact then feather-fingers on the same spot.

Making An “Impact”

I’m going to mention “Impact play” here (think ‘spanking’ etc) because impact brings the blood to the surface and skin is more sensitive to all sensations. So if we’re talking about increasing the sensory input through your skin, this is another opportunity to maximize it. You may find you enjoy, it or you may find particular sensations are not your cup of tea.. All this is great information. Do you enjoy tickling? How about the feel of different materials- feathers, leaves, leather, metal…   You can experiment with items that may feel different on the skin and on different parts of the body. 

Cool Things Down or Heat Them Up?

There are other variables to explore too- like temperature for example. Do you remember the scene in 9 ½ Weeks where Mickey Rourke’s character traced Kim Bassinger’s character’s body with an ice cube? Maybe sharing a steamy shower is more your style. Either way, you don’t have to go to extremes to get creative- you probably have ice and a shower already at home.

Sense of Sight

Sunsets and rainbows are exciting in their own right, and some folx are particularly attuned to enjoy elements of nature. Taking a moment to take in those sights wherever you find them, can produce a natural high. I often find scenes in nature exhilarating and all the more exciting when there is someone with me to share the experience.

There may be a particular feature you enjoy on certain bodies… Chest, shoulders, eyes, legs… we have many parts! I have a friend who is particularly fond of clavicles (yep, those bones that radiate out from the base of your neck towards your shoulders). Lots of ways to explore visual stimuli! You can find many of these parts on your partner(s) as well as places like Instagram or Pinterest.

Seeing texts or an item related to “quality time” with yourself and/or your partner can be a playful way to build excitement… dropping hints or “sexting” is of course a way to stay playful and build excitement.   There are a lot of ways to hint about pleasure in a way that builds anticipation… use all the elements in your arsenal!

Sense of Hearing

This is another area with a lot of variables. As a primer, for many people, two of the sexiest words to hear are “yes”, and their name.  Dale Carnegie famously said  “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 

I’m also going to give you permission to make sounds… if you’re shy or make some sound even if its just an audible exhalation, its good to get the vocal cords involved.

Of course music or a natural soundscape can set the scene. If you are with a partner, you may wish to simply start naming what you are noticing. This can open the door to communication and bring you both into the present moment. Play with requests, or be more directive by giving verbal commands. Notice the sound of your excitement building, or that of your partner…  Maybe their pleasure sounds turn you on-  Did you know you can play recorded pleasure sounds on streaming services like Amazon music and Spotify?  There’s also a lot out there about ASMR and sexuality… more to explore! What are your favorite auditory pleasures?

Consent is Crucial

I’d be remiss as a sex educator if I didn’t mention consent.

Perhaps most importantly-when pleasure is on the docket, your physical & emotional comfort and that of your partner should always be paramount. Respect and boundaries help define the scope of your activities and enable everyone to feel more comfortable. I appreciate the direction many sex-positive spaces and communities that honor “consent is sexy”, so by all means, be sure you are having those conversations with your partner. There are many models of consent out there, and this is especially well established in the BDSM community. Here is one simple model I like- and it’s easy to remember- Consent goes well with FRIES. Freely Given, Revocable (anytime!), Informed, Enthusiastic, Specific. Asking for consent- as well as granting it- can be really hot too… play with it and do report back!

Something to look forward to

More on the power of the imagination in a future post, but do know that the biggest pleasure organ is your mind! Imagination and fantasy can enhance any pleasurable experience. If you don’t know what you want, it may be helpful to work with a coach– This is just a simple primer and perhaps a different way to look at pleasure. Check back soon for more posts on a range of topics! 


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Hi, I'm Wendy

My mission is to empower and support folx to be intentional and authentic in their sexuality, and cultivate fulfilling and transformational exploration and experiences in their erotic lives.

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