Erogenous Zones

The word erogenous comes from the Greek word “eros” which means love. Erogenous zones are body surfaces (other than genitalia) that result in erotic feeling when touched.1 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

Touching is a powerful means for eliciting sexual arousal, and both affectionate caress from one’s partner and self-stimulation of the genitals are capable of triggering arousal responses. Although human sexual arousal may be triggered by visual and auditory cues, they are also driven by tactile stimulation of the genitals.2 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. Sensate focus is a great way to learn about one another, and can help with communication and also problems such as performance anxiety. 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. 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. It is important for individuals who have experienced any decreased sexual sensitivity due to illnesses, disability, injury, or other circumstances, to discover other ways to be sexually satisfied. This can help put both the mind and body at ease, and can help decrease stress and anxiety that are present in these types of situations. 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. 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.3 Understanding and exploring individual erogenous zones with a trusted partner will play a key role in a successful sexual experience.

 

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.

Popular Female Erogenous Zones

Erogenous zones may be genital or extra genital. Women have a greater variety of erogenous zones on the body compared with men.4 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. On the contrary, another study, conducted in Egypt, showed that extra genital erogenous zones were found in 95.3% of women. In a descending order, the most powerful erogenous zones were breasts, lips, neck, ears, and buttocks. The best method for stimulation differed according to the area – for example, the best method for the lips was oral stimulation, whereas the best method for the breasts and nipples was both manual and oral stimulation. Orgasm due to the stimulation of extra genital areas was reported by 12% of participants.4 Furthermore, a highly sensitive erogenous zone 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. 

Popular Male Erogenous Zones

Some of the more popular erogenous zones on the male body include the penis, the mouth and lips, scrotum, neck, nipples, perineum, and the ears.5 Once again, these erogenous zones can be genital and non genital. This list is general, and there are indeed many other erogenous zones when delving deeper into male pleasure. For example, more 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.6 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.

Concluding Remarks

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 interesting to note that men appear to have effectively the same distribution of erogenous zones found in women, but for women, several body parts are rated at significantly higher levels of intensity. This effect may be related to higher reports of sensitivity to touch by women in other domains.1 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.

 

References

  1. Turnbull, Oliver H., et al. “Reports of Intimate Touch: Erogenous Zones and Somatosensory Cortical Organization.” Cortex, vol. 53, Apr. 2014, pp. 146–154., doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.07.010
  2. Nummenmaa, Lauri, et al. “Topography of Human Erogenous Zones.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 45, no. 5, 2016, pp. 1207–1216., doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0745-z.
  3. Evans, Samantha. “The Lesser Known Erogenous Zones - and How to Find Them.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 26 Mar. 2018.
  4. Younis, Ihab, et al. “Female Hot Spots.” Human Andrology, vol. 6, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 20–26., doi:10.1097/01.xha.0000481142.54302.08
  5. Shoemaker, Emily. “Everything You Want to Know About Male and Female Erogenous Zones.” Daytondailynews, Staff Writer, 9 Sept. 2016, www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyles/health/everything-you-want-know-about....
  6. Borreli, Lizette. "The Most Sensual Female Body Parts, According To Science." Medical Daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
  7. Whipple, B. 2014. Ejaculation, female. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. 1–4.

Last Updated 18 February 2019.

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