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Sensation Play BDSM: Engage Your 5 Senses During Sex

Looking for techniques to toy with your boy toy? With sensation play, you can use something as light as a feather to get him as stiff as a board.
Editorial team
May 21, 2024
June 22, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Chains and whips excite us, too, RiRi. But did you know BDSM can be less leather and more feathers?

We’re talking about sensation play, the hottest way to engage your senses for a more well-rounded sexual experience. BDSM practitioners commonly employ intense sensations and sensory deprivation techniques to heighten a scene, and now you can, too.

We’ll train you in the art of ESP (that’s extra-sexual perception) so you can use all your most sensitive organs to give yourself and your partner mind-blowing orgasms.

What is sensation play?

Sensation play is a kind of sex that goes beyond genital stimulation and invites your entire body to the party. Your taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight are turned up to the max. It’s a form of foreplay meant to heighten arousal and make your toes curl with anticipation.

Even though sensation play doesn’t necessarily involve pain, a safe word is still nonnegotiable since some sensations can quickly become overwhelming. Tickling is a good example; it can start off fun but become highly uncomfortable for some people. As with all BDSM play, participants should engage in consistent communication, understand each other’s boundaries, and make time for aftercare.

Sensation play ideas

How does one get started with sensation play? Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:


It sounds slightly silly to call touching someone a BDSM activity. Hear us out before you roll your eyes and put your ball gag back in.

Touch is an essential form of communication. You can use it to put your partner at ease, set them on high alert, or even assert your dominance. When you’re slowly running your fingernails up and down your partner’s spine to give him tingles, that’s a form of sensation play. To make it a little more BDSM, use a firm and confident full-body massage to tell him you’re in charge — and you know exactly what his body craves. Kinky, right?

Temperature play

You’re hot, then you’re cold. You’re yes, then you’re… yes again? Temperature play is all about using instruments or items that contrast with the subject’s body temperature.

Ice cubes can make your hair stand on end. Hot wax provides intense heat (just make sure you’re using purpose-made erotic candles). But you can certainly get more creative — what else are you gonna do with that half-eaten freezer-burned bag of cauliflower rice?


A carefully selected scentscape can be part relaxing, part sexy. Aromatherapy is often associated with gentle scents of lavender and eucalyptus. But for sex? Try musk on musk.

This one is easy to do alone, too. Go primal and shove your nose in a partner’s T-shirt or pillow during your next solo session.


You’re probably familiar with the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), thanks to all those videos of people whispering and tapping their acrylic nails on a microphone. ASMR gives some listeners a funny, tingling feeling on the top of their heads that helps them fall asleep.

But sensation play enthusiasts? They’re getting rock hard, sopping wet, and eargasmic about it. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the endless trove of guided masturbation audio recordings online.

Aphrodisiac foods

Food: the final frontier of sex. Although most people prefer to keep their panties and pantries separate, the gooning gourmands among us are delighted to bring food into the bedroom.

Beyond the inherent eroticism of the grapefruit technique, some foods are said to enhance sexual arousal even when they aren’t wrapped around your partner’s pecker. The jury’s still out on how hot a plate of cold cuts can make you. But the brain and stomach are best buds, so it isn’t too far-fetched to think some food makes you wanna fuck.

Impact play

This is where sensation play starts to align more with the popular conception of BDSM: pain and punishment. Impact play is pretty much what it sounds like — striking your partner with various objects. Paddling, flogging, and cropping are all examples of impact play. They’re also excellent examples of why sensation play techniques need a safe word to be sexy.


Sensation play products

When engaging in sensation play, it pays to spend a few cents on high-quality scents. Here are some items that can help you get those big feels going:


Feathers are fantastic for those who like soft and sexy. You can use a single feather to draw some lines on your partner or go ham on their gams with a fully loaded feather duster. Either way, the recipient will be flying high.


Wax play is a touch sensation your partner won’t soon forget — and a fun way to play with fire. However, some candles work better for this. We recommend using massage candles since the wax melts at a lower temperature. 

We also acknowledge that some of you are yawning at that sentence. If sensual romance isn’t on the menu, there are sex candles that burn a little hotter. Still, you should stick to body-safe candles — no dripping the latest holiday scent from Bath & Body Works on your partner’s thighs, no matter how much you want to give them gingerhead.


Blindfolds are excellent for sensory deprivation or to enhance other senses. They’re one of the safest ways to get started with sensation play. Think about how much more you’ll appreciate the heat of molten wax or the gentle caress of a feather when you can’t see it coming.

Flavored accouterments

You can go the aphrodisiac route, but oysters with a mignonette don’t make a fantastic bedside snack, even if they get you bricked up. Instead, opt for sex-specific items like fun-tasting lubes.

You could also argue that alcohol and cannabis in sex act as taste enhancers (and inhibition inhibitors). However, your mileage with such substances will undoubtedly vary.

The benefits of sensory sex

Why bother with sensory arousal during sex when missionary is just lying right there? Here’s why getting the whole sense gang together makes for a better sexual experience:

  • Discover new erogenous zones: The beauty of sensory sex is that you get a chance to explore, and your bodies are the map upon which you scrawl. Along the way, you might find something as simple as someone breathing in your ear or gently tickling your armpit with a feather can turn you on.
  • Learn what turns you on: The zones that turn you on are one thing. The way you flip that switch is quite another. Who knows? Maybe there’s a fetish you never knew about hiding in that horny head of yours.
  • Improve communication between partners: All sex should feel collaborative, but kink, BDSM, and sensation play demand it. A little practice will help you communicate your wants and needs. As an added bonus, this skill also applies outside the bedroom.

Sensation play safety

We’re not done until we talk about the most essential part of sensational sex: ensuring everyone is safe and comfortable while doing it.

  • Practice caution: Do your research before you use products that aren’t specifically marketed to go anywhere they shouldn’t.
  • Talk beforehand: Check in with your partner before breaking out the blindfolds. What are you both curious about? You can use a BDSM checklist to establish boundaries and discover new desires.
  • Is that gonna leave a mark? Some sensation play leaves behind residual evidence that you got freaky with it. Ensure that’s OK with you and your partner, and discuss any areas you want to avoid marking up.

Touched by an angel feather

Your sexual exploration should feel sensational, which is more than enough reason to explore sensation play. Even the tamest of touches can lead to a lightbulb moment.

Looking for someone to get addicted to your touch? Use those fabulous fingers of yours to swipe for sexy sensation play buddies on Grindr. Download the Grindr app today to get started.

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