So you want to start exploring the world of sensory play but have no idea where to start? Strap in because class is in session.
Before bringing it to your partner, it’s so important that you have some understanding of what you’re after because sensory play is incredibly broad and it means different things to different people. Do you want to explore impact or pain play, restraints, temperature play, dirty talk? Get some clarity around the vision you have in your mind and what you’d like to explore before, during and after sex.
Sensory play is a great stress-reducer, it's great for self-exploration and introducing some variety to the sexual menu but it’s important to understand that sensory play, the lack of control or not being able to see or move during play can be quite vulnerable and overwhelming. So it’s important to have a conversation beforehand and to broach it outside of the bedroom where there’s less pressure and you both have the time and mental energy for this kind of conversation.
I generally recommend doing some research with your partner! This can look like shopping for sensory toys and accessories like blindfolds, headphones, paddles, massage candles, rope, glass or stainless steel toys and talking about each thing together. Make a point of checking in with each other every step of the way and give your partner the opportunity to say maybe or to say no if they don’t feel totally comfortable. Other kinds of things you can do together, you can do the online BDSM test together and discuss your answers, you can read up on tips or guides on how to do particular types of play in ways that are safe but also enjoyable.
Impact play is an easy example of something that can be great in sex but can also go very wrong very quickly, and many people don’t know the importance of warming up your body because the longer you warm up, the more you can withstand in terms of pain or that if you cup your hand in a particular way, it creates a different sound and sensation. So doing your research is not only about creating a safe space and a dialogue around your play but also serves to increase pleasure and to teach you more about yourself. Knowledge is power! There are also classes and workshops you can even do with your partner and make a hot date night out of it. Studio Kink who are here in Sydney and Curious Creatures based in Melbourne run amazing educational workshops!
The most important part of sensory play is talking about aftercare, safe words and boundaries. Of course try to check in and discuss this throughout every step of the way, but at the end of the day you need to know what you and your partner need to feel safe before during and after a session. The traffic light system is a great go-to for safe words, green light being keep going, yellow light being slow down, red light being immediately stop and check in.
Make sure you’re continually paying attention to your partner and their body. Like I had said earlier, sensory overload can be very overwhelming and there can also be a very sharp drop or crash in all the feel-good hormones like endorphins and adrenaline that we feel during play, and sadness and anxiety can set in even
if the sex was incredible and totally consensual, so aftercare is a non-negotiable. For each person this looks different - some people like to be held or cuddled for a while, some people like to shower together or do a massage or words of affirmation. It’s also great to debrief after a session about what you enjoyed and what did or didn’t work for you
Remember that you don’t have to go all in straight away! It is a lot to take in, but amazing entry points into sensory play can be as simple as playing with ice cubes or different foods, talking dirty or having a mirror in front of you. There’s a whole juicy world of pleasure and sensory goodness out there and the limit is your imagination.