Increasing Intimacy Through Sensual Touch

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Exploring sensual touch with your partner can be a wonderful way to deepen sexual intimacy, and discover new aspects of your own (and your partner's) sexuality. Try to think about sensual touch not as another sexual technique with the result being an orgasm.  

It's called sensual (as opposed to sexual) in part because it doesn't have to be about a goal, it can just be about exploring. Think of it less as another technique to get to some endpoint, and more as a way of communicating without talking. Some people consider this kind of exploration to be "energy work" or "spiritual sex", but it isn't necessary to name it in that way order to do it.

Guide to Sensual Touching

If you haven't explored this kind of touch before, here's a guide to get you going.

  1. Take time for touch.
    Exploring with touch is a subtle and intimate activity. Make a date to do this when there won’t be many distractions, and when you don’t have to rush off somewhere in half an hour. This is definitely not a “quickie” kind of sex.
  2. Ground yourself.
    Think about exploring touch with your partner almost as a kind of meditation. Try to clear your mind before you start this kind of sex. Try timing it to happen right after you’ve exercised, or done yoga, or just go for a walk beforehand. Even more than other kinds of sex, if you’re distracted both you and your partner will be aware of it, so you want to do your best to feel calm and “grounded”.
  3. Make your partner comfortable.
    This might mean suggesting they start by having a hot bath, or taking a walk. Especially if time and space to relax are hard to come by in your house, figure out what is comforting for them and help make it happen. The idea is to mark this time as apart from daily life. If they live with physical pain make sure they get into a comfortable position. You don’t have to do this on a bed, although that might be best for some people. You can do it on a mat on the floor, or on a comfortable chair. Use pillows and blankets to get your partner as comfortable as they can be.
  4. Set the mood.
    Make the lighting soft, make sure the room temperature is comfortable (not too hot, and not too cold), put on some music that won’t be too distracting (probably avoid music with lyrics). The goal is to create an atmosphere that will take you both to a deeper level of relaxation, but not distract either of you from experiencing what is happening between you.
  5. Suggest that your partner close their eyes.
    Exploring sexual touch is a unique experience because in some ways it is an intense solitary sexual experience that you do together. You want to try and be free of any self-consciousness. Some people ask the partner being touched to wear a blindfold, or just keep their eyes closed. You may find this frees you up to move and touch in ways that might feel awkward if you were being watched.
  6. Take time to take in your partner’s entire body.
    If you can, look at your partner's body as they are lying there. Start with their feet, and slowly work your way up the body, just with your eyes. Don’t do this with a critical eye, or even with a goal in mind, just let your eyes wander slowly up your partner’s body. Pay attention to how they seem to be lying and holding themselves. Pay attention also to parts you find especially desirable. You may or may not focus on those parts (because what you like and what your partner likes may be different) but noticing is worthwhile.
  7. Talk to your partner and tell them about a few parts of their body you love.
    Start by saying “I love the way your body…” or “I can’t stop looking at…” Maybe it’s their elbow, or their bum, or their neck. This is only a time for positivity, so focus on the things that are attracting you at the moment, or have always turned you on. If your eyes want to linger back to one part, keep them moving up the body until you’ve got to the top of their head.
  8. Begin touching your partner.
    You can start on any part of the body. But start with the smallest amount of touch you can do while actually making skin to skin contact. Consider this to be the tactile version of a whisper. Try to keep this going for a while, playing with touching your partner in the quietest and most subtle way you can.
  9. Pay close attention.
    Notice both your partner’s reactions to your touch and how it feels to you. Pay attention to how it feels for them: are they making noises, watch for changes in their facial features, notice how their skin changes beneath your touch or changes in their breathing. Pay attention to how it feels for you: notice the difference in how their body feels beneath your touch: parts of their body will be fleshy, bony, muscular, notice how some of their skin is smooth, some bumpy, where there are scars.
  10. Touch with different parts of your body.
    You might want to start with the tips of your fingers, or the back of your hand, or the side of your wrist. Notice how touching your partner with different parts of your body feels different. Pay attention to their reaction. Touching them with your fingertips might feel a bit rough compared to touching them with the side of your hand.
  11. Experiment with different kinds of touch.
    You can draw one finger slowly along your partner’s thigh, or let the back of your hand trail along their belly. You can tap, rub, scratch, and tickle. Your touch can be firm and commanding, or it can follow the lines and curves of your partner’s body without any input from you at all.
  12. Play with the intensity of the touch.
    Switch back and forth between a firm and vigorous touch to soft and gentle touch. Avoid any quick changes in how you are touching. Try to make any transitions slowly so that your partner isn’t even aware of them.
  13. Add more touch.
    If you’ve started with your fingers or one hand, use your other hand, or gently use your leg or a foot to press against a different part of your partner’s body. There isn’t one way to do this, but increase the kinds of touching you are doing.

Tips for Sensual Touch

  1. Your energy level is important for touching. Don’t try to have this kind of sex when you’re tired or when you are too hyper.
  2. Exploring sexual touch isn’t about orgasm, it is about exploration. Often an orgasm may happen, but this isn’t the goal. Focus your mind on the task at hand (pardon the pun) and not on where it is going to end.
  3. It may intensify the experience for you if you include imagery. As you are touching your partner imagine actual warm energy flowing out of your body and into your partner’s body via the touching.