Sensation Play: Exploring Pleasure and Pain with Your Partner

Sex is all about the senses. Oftentimes, people begin their journey to sexual discovery by focusing and using one or two senses they're comfortable with, leaving behind the rest. It's not to say that's bad, it's to say that there's more to using your sight and touch at the basic level when it comes to pleasure. This is where sensation play comes in.

According to Mashable, sensation play comes from BDSM and involves the use of different sensations to create pleasure or pain. The main goal of such a play is to provide a different kind of stimulation through various kinds of physical touch, temperature play and sensory deprivation. It's an amazing way to discover new sensations and build more trust and intimacy within the relationship. If you're reading this, then you might be interested in how this works for you and your partner. In this article, we'll explore tips and techniques to engage in sensation play and some ideas that you can do with your partner.

Tips and Techniques for Sensation Play

Sensation play is both exciting and daunting. Before engaging in any of the ideas we'll share, it's important to remember these tips and tricks from Sex with Jess to ensure a fun yet safe experience:

  • Start slowly and build up the intensity gradually. In the grand scheme of things, there's not a one size fits all for sex. Some like it rough from the start, while others like to take it slow but in cases where you're venturing into something new with your partner, it's incredibly important to start slow and build up the pace along the way. You don't want to approach sensation play roughly as it lessens the opportunity to do it right and increases the risk of injury.

  • Use a safe word to communicate when something is uncomfortable or painful. In the same thread, you should also establish a safe word before engaging in sensation play because it gives you the opportunity to opt out when things get too much for you in the middle of the play. The purpose of toying with your senses is to feel good, not overwhelmed.

  • Experiment with different sensations to find what works for you and your partner. Just like any other kind of sex, it's encouraged to play with the different senses to figure out what feels the most toe-curling good.

  • Communicate with your partner throughout the experience to ensure that you are both comfortable and enjoying the play. This is a must! Just because things are getting heated doesn't mean you should forget to check in on yourself and your partner. It's important to ensure that both of you are okay with the pace and intensity of the sensation play in order to enjoy the experience.

  • Consider using a warm-up or cool-down period to help your partner transition back to reality after the play session. Since sensation play is rooted in BDSM, there's a chance that you or your partner might dip into a space while engaging in this play so it's incredibly important to gently bring them back to reality either through warming their bodies up or cooling them down, depending on where they ended up after.

Sensation Play Ideas

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Now that you're prepared to dive into sensation play, here are a few ideas that you and your partner can try as a start:

Ice and Heat

Ice and heat can create a variety of sensations that yield either pleasure or pain. Due to how flexible these temperatures are, it presents a variety of options to incorporate them into the play. First, you can use ice cubes! Place them atop your partner's mouth and press yours against it in a kiss. The heat of your mouths melting the ice provides a new way to get wet and sloppy in your make-out sesh. Plus, you can drink the water afterwards for a quick refreshment. Another way to use ice cubes is by running them around your partner's nipples. Their body heat melts it into a puddle and the contrast of temperatures trigger the sensitive nerves and make them buzz with pleasure. You can go beyond the nipples and run the ice across the inner thighs and neck too. On the other hand, heat play has you using a heating pad or a hot wax to warm up their bodies or create a unique and intense sensation through the use of dripping motions against the skin. It is important to use special candles that are designed for wax play and to test the temperature of the wax before you start.


If you're looking for something more simple, then blindfolds could be the one for you. Temporarily taking away your partner's vision can help heighten their senses and allow it to be more receptive to other forms of texture such as feathers, silk or a leather flogger. This is especially perfect if you're the type to really get in deep with foreplay.


If temperature and temporary lack of sight isn't your thing then maybe pinwheels suit your fancy. They're designed to roll over a partner's body to create a prickly sensation. Running this through the body's most sensitive parts can tickle and excite your partner and make them more receptive about what's coming next. You can also try using different types of pinwheels to create different sensations like a spiked pinwheel can create a more intense sensation than a smooth one.

Sensory Deprivation

Last but not the least, this is probably the most intense idea of the bunch but also the most rewarding if done right. Sensory deprivation involves limiting one or more of the body's senses like touch, taste and smell through various items like earplugs, blindfolds or a hood. You can also try using different textures and temperatures to create different sensations like using a feather to tickle your partner's skin or a piece of ice to create a cold sensation.

These ideas definitely sound exciting but remember that an important aspect to doing sensation play right is the discussion of boundaries and establishing safe words. Communicate with your partner throughout the entire experience and check in with them to make sure they're comfortable and having fun.


There you have it! A quick guide to sensation play and how it allows you to explore new sensations and build more trust and intimacy in a relationship. By playing with different textures, temperatures and sensations, you can create an experience that is truly yours to have and is pleasurable to feel too!

Tina Young

Tina Young has always been passionate about exploring sexuality and empowering others to explore and express their own sexual desires. She is an experienced sex toy reviewer, examining people’s relationship with pleasure and the expression and fulfillment of their desires through sex toys. Tina is also a sex coach, helping individuals understand, express, and become comfortable with their own sexuality.