Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Anytime I mention sensation play or sensory deprivation, many people cringe and say ‘oh that’s not for me’. Then I ask them, have you done body contact, touching your partner like so? They usually respond by saying yes. Ok, well that is part of sensation play. Many assume that sensation play is about inflicting pain and that could not be farther from the truth. There are many reasons to try sensation play and not just about being aroused or hurt by it.
There are many reasons to enjoy sensation play. Sensation play can release endorphins into the body. When this happens, it can create a euphoric type of feeling that many enjoy. Sensation play can heighten other senses that are still able to be used. If blindfolded, hearing is enhanced as an example. Sensation play can also help to create a deeper connection between dom and sub. Sensation play can be very sensual. It also takes a lot of trust to put yourself in a situation like that. Sensation play also allows a submissive to experience being a sub without jumping into any kink because it is not meant to inflict pain.
As with any kink or fetish, there are safety precautions that need to be taken into consideration. Before starting a session make sure to discuss soft and harm limits along with establishing a safe word or safe action. Many use simple things such as red, yellow, green. I have actually met some that use a double tap system, which would require the dom to be paying close attention to body movement. Because sensation play involved touching or doing things to the body, the dom should watch for signs of trouble. Watch the submissive’s body language as this will show if they are in pain or uncomfortable.
Keep an eye on breathing, if too fast then slow things down. If using any kind of bondage, it is wise to keep an eye on circulation. If there is tingling, loss of sensation, drop in temperature, or change in skin color; stop the session immediately. These characteristics are signs of something not being right and could lead to pain or harm to the submissive. Also, know where and how to apply a specific stimulation to the body. Some are meant for certain body parts and should not be used in other places.
Start the session out slow. There is no need to go from 0 to 60 when having a session. Take your time and enjoy the moment. Take the scenic route! When applying stimulation to a specific area, be sure to change it up a little bit. Stimulating a specific area can get monotonous and boring, not to mention possible cause damage or pain to that area from overstimulation. Also, be careful when it comes to the face and eyes. These areas are usually too sensitive to do much and could cause damage if not done correctly. You don't want your submissive to have marks on their face, this could be embarrassing and cause mental trauma for some.
Sensation play can be broken down into two main categories: sensory deprivation and sensory modification. Sensory deprivation is when one or more of the senses is restricted. It can be used alone or in combination with other activities such as sensory manipulation. On the extreme end of sensory deprivation is mummification. This should be left only for those who are experienced as it can be dangerous if you do not know that you are doing. Have tools available to free the submissive in case of an emergency.
There are many different tools that can be used during sensory deprivation. Blindfolds can deprive the submissive of seeing what is going on. This can increase anticipation due to not seeing what is happening. Hoods can deprive the submissive of sight, smell, taste, and hearing. Caution should be used as it can affect breathing. Gas masks can restrict sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Not something for the inexperienced, so caution should be used. Ball gags restrict taste but can cause jaw pain if not used to it or used for long periods of time.
Restraints restrict touch and prevent a submissive from touching things they do not have permission to touch. It can also keep them from moving. As always with any kind of restraint, make sure to follow the 2 finger rule to allow for movement and not to cut off circulation. A restrained submissive should never be left unattended in case something happens. Earmuff or earplugs restrict hearing so that they do not hear what is about to happen. Vacuum beds can restrict all of the senses. It can also restrict breathing so should not be used by newbies and caution should be used.
Sensory modification is when you modify or stimulate the senses. This does not require any special tools and can actually be done with the hands. For example, lightly touching a submissive in a specific spot can cause much excitement. Breathing close to them so they can feel your breath is a sensory modification. Using your mouth to kiss, lick, or bite is also sensory modification. Clamps are sometimes used to increase sensitivity. Sometimes used prior to a session or while giving attention to another area. A ring/spider gag can dictate taste, but use caution as can cause jaw pain if used too long.
Tools such as a flogger, paddle, ticklers, and Wartenberg pinwheels all modify feeling depending on how the tool is used. Some are for impact, meaning how they touch the skin. This could be lightly gliding along the skin or used will a little more force. This does not mean beating someone. While some may like the harsher feel of being flogged or paddled, that is not necessarily the point of sensory play. Be sure to check prior to starting a session as to what the limit would be for this and make sure there is a safe word, phrase, or action.
Electrosex is also used in sensory modification. This is not intended to be painful stimulation, only to modify the feeling in that area of the body. If used gently and carefully, this could bring things to a whole new level of sensory modification. Electro play is considered by some to be edge play, meaning it can be dangerous if not done properly. Be sure you know what you are doing before getting into it so that all parties involved enjoy the session. Trying different textures of tools can also enhance senses. Rough textures followed by smooth textures can sometimes heighten things for a sub.
Temperature play is also part of the sensory modification. Temperature play includes wax play and even using ice cubes. This is about changing the temperature of the area to make it more sensitive. Like electrosex, this can also be seen as edge play because it can be dangerous and cause harm. Use caution as always, using no extreme heat and be mindful of liquids and their temperatures
So you enjoyed a really hot sensory play session, now what? Time to go about your day right? WRONG! We must not forget about aftercare. Subs, more so than doms, require some form of TLC after a session. During a session, many experience a natural high that can be similar to being high from a chemical substance. Like all highs, you eventually have to come down. Subs will sometimes need a period of time after a session to readjust and come down from that high. Subs can become light-headed, weak, emotional, cold, or silent after a session. I recommend having what is called a drop kit ready before starting a session. The drop kit would have things in it that are used to help the sub through this. Some items that help are a special blanket, tea, dark chocolate, wine, and cuddles. While you can't put cuddles into a bag, they should be included at the end of all sessions. Music and smells can also help many people. Something with protein, like peanut butter, can help as well. Having a first aid kit available should always be included even if the drop kit is not. Maybe the sub needs to talk to a specific person to help them, so making sure to have that contact information available can be helpful.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and please feel free to leave a comment so we can keep the discussion going. Play safe, play sane, and have fun!