- the enjoyment, expression, or pursuit of physical, especially sexual, pleasure.
“he ate the grapes with surprising sensuality”
synonyms: sexiness, sexual attractiveness, voluptuousness, sultriness, seductiveness, passion;
Leonardo DaVinci once said: “intellectual passion drives out sensuality”. What I think he means is that, if we spend our lives in our brains and overthinking sex, we never get a chance to develop our sensual side.
I’ve said it before, but I believe a loss of sex drive is the canary in the coalmine pointing to other life issues.
So perhaps, your sex drive isn’t broken, you’ve just lost connection with your sensuality.
For me, sex is sensuality- it’s ALL about touch, taste, smell, sight, sound. And as you may already know, feeling anxious, worrying about our bodies and what we look like having sex, being busy and unable to relax are all ways that we’re lifted away from our bodies and senses and are caught up in our minds.
So, to bring back your sex drive, a key focus needs to be on cultivating that sense of sensuality, both in and out of the bedroom.
This is because increasing your feelings during sex will increase arousal, and therefore help you relax and enjoy sex so that it becomes more pleasurable. It’s like a loop, and focussing on increasing this part of your life will have huge benefits beyond the bedroom.
So, how to become more sensual?
Tip one- work on getting back into your body and out of your head.
- The first part of this is around freeing your body from your mind.
Sex is all about the body, but if you experience anxiety it can leave you feeling locked inside your own head and paralysed by worry. So the idea is to get moving to increase your connection with your body.
A great way of doing this is getting physical- this means exercise (yawn. I know. But it really is good for you). Yoga is particularly good- it’s about trying to actively feel your body- how it moves, works, your muscles stretching, inhabiting all of the space within you. You could try incorporating some sexual power yoga poses when you wake up in the morning or before sex- things like the goddess pose, back bends, hip openers, can all help you feel grounded and connected to your body.
Dance is great too– you might be interested to learn more about the sacral chakra (below) if you’re into that, which is around opening the pelvis to release your sexual energy (oo-err). Belly dance is a great one for this as it helps you move your hips in a sensual way. However for me it’s about trying to get you moving and enjoying your body, and a free and fun way to do this is to just dance around your living room! Get the kids involved or your partner, whack the stereo up high to your favourite songs and let LOOSE- dance around and move your body. Have fun with it- laugh, sing, shake and bend your body however you feel. Enjoy yourself and the moment, and feel creative, express yourself through your body rather than your words. And keep practising. For more information check out the section of the blog on physical activity.
There’s also a great resource from Cat Meyer on 6 ways to drop down into your body and our of your head free e-book.
- The second part of getting back into your body is about increasing the sensitivity of your body and your senses through touch.
If you’ve experienced trauma, this can be particularly effective for you however please consult an expert or listen in to yourself and how these exercises feel- aka take it slowly. The aim behind this is that when some women are pregnant, because our breasts swell and our vulva becomes swollen because of the increased blood flow they become more sensitive. And we’ve all heard of pregnant women having the mega horn- this is why! So, to increase your sex drive, we’re going to manually recreate that sensitivity and wake you up to sensuality. And here’s how:
- Start doing kegels. These exercises are key because we’re aiming to revive your vagina and reconnect you to the feelings downstairs. All the feels. Kegels work because they trick our minds into remembering our vaginas are there, increasing the mind body connection that we need for a good sex drive. This mirrors the biofeedback that men get from their penises. There’s an added bonus that kegels also have tons of other health benefits! Here’s a great guide on how to properly do a kegel.
- Give yourself a Breast massage- this is an ancient ayurvedic technique which many women swear by. It has lots of health benefits, however here the idea is more massage as an act of self-care, reconnecting with the body, worshipping the breasts and activating your sensuality. Layla Martin is a huge advocate of this and has a tutorial available here.
- Look at and reconnect with your vagina- so this isn’t exactly touch, although I’d recommend you bring in self-touching here too, however the act of looking at your vulva is SO important to help your body wake up to pleasure and touch. Find out why you should look at your vagina here.
- Wash yourself and use touch- so again, the idea behind this is to use your fingertips to reconnect with your body. Jump in the shower or in the bath with some gorgeous smelling soap, and slowly and gently massage yourself all over. Be present, breathe, use long rolling strokes, short slides, sensual circles and touch every curve, line and part of your body. Celebrate your bod as you go- bring in the fierce self-love techniques- and help to ground yourself as well as get to know your own body
- Use Sensate touch therapy: this might be a tip you want to come back to after you’ve visited the section of the blog on relationships, depending on whether you’re currently having sex or not, but if you trust your partner and feel your relationship is in a good place, then this exercise is great. Its about your partner using sensitive touch to turn you on, with instructions here or here. Pleasureable touches mean you enjoy the journey rather than the destination 😉
Tip two: savour the moment and cultivate sensuality in your everyday life.
So this tip is less about sex and more about incorporating sensuality into your everyday life. It’s about slowing down and opening yourself up to the world around you and to pleasure.
It feels self-indulgent, yes, but this is around how in touch you feel with your body, and how much you reside in your mind.
The idea is we want to ignite your senses during your waking life, so when you’re in bed, it’s easier for you to tap into those senses you’ll need to enjoy sex and surrender into the moment. I want you to think Spanish, Italian- fiery latinas that in the movies are always so sensual. Channel the Mediterranean to do this well lovelies.
The techniques to do this are basically mindfulness, so if you’d like to know more or have help with a guided practise, I’d recommend using the HeadSpace App. This area is also closely linked to making time for sex so do have a read of this section on the blog.
However, here are some ideas you can do yourself to have a go. The key point with this is to keep practising- doing this once will likely not make too much difference. Doing this everyday for two weeks will help your senses explode!
- Use food and take the time to savour it. When you cook, breathe in the spices you use, inhale the fragrance of the ingredients cooking, when eating, look at your food, eat colourful vegetables, eat slowly, really tasting each bite. Turn off the TV and put on some sensual music to eat, sit at the table, celebrate your meal. How about going to a food market, looking at the vibrant foods and interesting smells?
- Get yourself outside– kick the autumn leaves around, stop and realise how beautiful the rain is, watch a bird foraging for worms. Many people talk about how forest bathing is great for depression- how about great for your sex drive? Reconnect with nature, slow down, and breathe in life.
- Do the five senses exercise: practise incorporating these into your everyday. Here’s some I use frequently…
Sight: wear colours you love. Get outside and see the horizon- whether it;s from a high building or on the coast, it’s the sense of perspective that is liberating. Go star gazing, read colourful soul-fulfilling magazines, buy art prints or visit art galleries.
Touch: have a bath and gently massage yourself, or get a massage from your partner. How about investing in a silk dressing gown for max sensual points!
Taste: chocolate. Always chocolate. Don’t scoff it though, let it melt on your tongue.
Sound: put on your favourite music, or some classical songs turned up loud to get goosebumps. Or, moan more than you would normally during sex. That’s a winner!
Smell: light fragrant candles, wear your favourite perfume, bake bread or brew coffee.
Tip three: embrace the feminine.
So when I first started reading about the idea of the feminine and the goddess revolution, I thought it was pretty cheesy I must admit! But along my journey I’ve realised that we need to shake off the solely medical model of sex drives and embrace different streams of thought about improving it. I’m a bit cynical and can’t be doing with that weird hippy shit. But theres something in the feminine power thing! So, hear me out- but I’d encourage you to think about how you can incorporate elements of the sacred feminine into your life.
The idea of the feminine is often talked about in terms of shakti energy (a principle in tantra) or “chi” as in Tai Chi, as well as pagan rituals and the idea of the divine feminine. Feminine energy is often associated with nature (Mother Earth) and creativity. So two great ways of reconnecting with this feminine energy (or however you’d like to call it):
- Get outside (see above for numerous times I’ve advised this haha). But seriously, we live life at 100mph, often completely divorced from nature because many of us live in big cities with little green space. If we’re ultimately animals, what happens to us when we lose touch with the natural world?
- Get creative. Our brains spend a LOT of time on the left hand side of our brains, planning shit and being all logical and organised. But our sex drive resides in our right (remember the Da-Vinci quote?). So your task is to unleash the creative side of your brain- write, draw, paint, dance, sing… do whatever you need to, but let that energy go and your heart (and hopefully vulva) will be liberated!
If you’re interested in this, there’s a great book called “Women that run with wolves” where you can learn more about the feminine archetypes that can set us free.
Tip four: make your bedroom a sensual space to be
Making your bedroom a safe and sensual place to be is one of the best things you can do for your sex life.
Declutter, use calming colours, buy candles, use rugs or other soft furnishings to make it a cosy haven for you and your partner. Also, wash your sheets- there’s nothing like the smell of freshly washed sheets to make you feel good about your life (and it’ll boost your senses too!).
So, how do you bring sensuality into your everyday? Do you think this might help reinvigorate your sex drive or keep you more present during sex/foreplay?