What Are Erogenous Zones?
The word erogenous comes from the Greek word “eros” which means love. Erogenous zones are parts of the body which are highly sensitive and when stimulated, cause arousal. The most common erogenous zones include the breasts (including the nipple and areola), clitoris, anus, the g-spot, and the penis. Other less obvious erogenous zones include the lips, neck, scalp, ears, thighs (specifically inner thighs), collarbones, abdomen and feet. These parts of the body are erogenous zones due to the large amount of nerve endings they contain. The levels of sensitivity and pleasure one feels when touched in these erogenous zones varies by individual. What may feel arousing for one person may not be for another.
How to Find Erogenous Zones
One way to discover your partner’s and your own particular erogenous zones is through a technique commonly used for sexual therapy, known as sensate focus. This technique involves both partners sitting in a comfortable position with one partner’s back against the other’s chest (i.e., one partner has their legs around the other). The partner in the front focuses on his/her breathing and relaxing while the person behind explores their partner’s body, finding areas that are arousing. The partners then switch and take turns exploring each other’s bodies, without pressure or stress to allow full relaxation. Additionally, one may explore their body alone by masturbating in front of a mirror to discover erogenous zones privately, which is known as body mapping. Keep in mind that there are areas of the body other than the genitals that can also elicit sexual responses, so one may wish to spend time discovering what causes personal arousal.
Understanding one’s erogenous zones is an integral part of healthy sexual communication between partners. Being able to talk about and explore one another’s erogenous zones may help in building a stronger sexual connection. For individuals who have experienced any decreased sexual sensitivity due to illnesses, disability, injury, or other circumstances, it is important to discover other ways to be sexually satisfied. The brain connects physical touch with mental stimulation. The mindset that one is in in sexual situations plays a major part in the ability to become aroused. By understanding and exploring individual erogenous zones with a trusted partner will play a key role in a successful sexual experience. Several factors are crucial to having a pleasurable sexual encounter: the partners states of mind, their emotional connection to each other, and the physical touch they exchange.1
Why Are Some Areas More Erogenous than Others?
The erotic sensitivity of each body part depends largely on the amount of nerve endings located in that region. The genital regions of both males and females undergo a process known as vasocongestion, which increases the amount of blood that flows to these regions, making them highly sensitive when aroused. Other areas such as the eyelids, forearm, head, and abdomen have fewer nerve endings but may also be potential erogenous zones for some, especially if touched lightly and softly during foreplay.
A recent study conducted in Canada on female erogenous zones measured sensitivity to light touch, pressure, and vibration.2The study concluded that the clitoris and nipples are the most erotically sensitive zones. The clitoris and nipples are particularly sensitive to vibration, while the neck and vaginal areas are sensitive to light touch. Another highly sensitive area for females is the G-spot. The G-spot is located two to three inches up the front wall of the vagina (the wall below the urethra). An erogenous zone shared by both sexes is the perineum; the small region of skin between the and the anus.
For males, highly sensitive erogenous zones include the frenulum and the raphe. The frenulum is a small elastic band of tissue on the underside of the penis, located where the head of the penis meets the shaft. The other particularly sensitive area is known as the raphe of the scrotum, or the ridge of tissue that extends from the perineum to the midline of the scrotum.3 Males have an erogenous zone inside of the rectum, close to the root of the penis. This is where the prostate is located directly under the bladder. The prostate contributes about 30% of fluid to a male’s ejaculate. Prostate stimulation may lead to a unique type of orgasm. However, the route necessary to reach the prostate is the anus, and for this reason, many people associate prostate stimulation with homosexuality. Nonetheless, both heterosexual and homosexual individuals can enjoy prostate stimulation.
It is important to remember that not all people have the same erogenous zones; what works for one partner might not work for another. It is essential to have open and honest communication with a partner and to discuss the limits and possibilities of exploring one another’s bodies.
- Evans, Samantha. “The Lesser Known Erogenous Zones – and How to Find Them.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 26 Mar. 2018.
- Borreli, Lizette. “The Most Sensual Female Body Parts, According To Science.” Medical Daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
- Whipple, B. 2014. Ejaculation, female. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. 1–4.
Last Updated 17 May 2018.