The lesser-known erogenous zones
May 30, 2022
Erogenous zones—areas of the body that arouse sexual stimulation in response to a mere brush of skin or breath—can be elusive little devils. Our bodies are all wired differently, so what might work for one person may be a complete, shall we say, anticlimax for another.
Ultimately, even if you click with someone instantly, it may take a while to figure out exactly what drives them crazy—just as it might take them some time to figure out what makes you tick. But that’s the beauty of intimacy; it’s a practice of continual exploring that inevitably leads to delightful surprises for everyone. As long as you and your partner practice good communication and affirm when something feels good (and, of course, when something doesn’t feel good), stepping past the go-to erogenous zones can be exciting.
That doesn’t have to mean getting in your head, though. So, in the spirit of making sex simple, we’ve rounded up some of the secret erogenous zones you may have been missing. You can consider exploring these body parts as a form of foreplay; trying something new can even help you to liven things up if you're falling into a routine with your partner. It might be time to get a little more adventurous—so start with one of these areas and see how the sparks might fly.
Tip of the nose
Fun fact: The tissue in our noses is similar to erectile tissue and can become engorged with blood, which is why we get blocked noses (some say it also happens when we lie). But for some people, the tip and nostrils are also extra sensitive, as is the philtrum, the groove between your nose and upper lip. Not only can a nose kiss be a cute move to pull during foreplay or after sex—but it can also arouse your partner.
This can be a little awkward if you happen just to be playing a benign game of Telephone, but, otherwise, a little bit of whispering in the ear can hit the arousal jackpot. You can also try massaging the lobes between your forefinger and thumb to stimulate the nerve endings. Licking the length of your partner’s ear or sucking and gently pulling on their lobe can also be a winning combination.
Any kind of massage is usually a good way to get things started because it helps release oxytocin, but a scalp massage can be especially arousing. A little bit of hair-pulling (or heavy tousling) might also do the trick…but we recommend you start things off gently.
Sure, armpits don’t generally rank high on the list of the sexiest body parts (though the pheromones they secrete can be one of the keys to sexual attraction). But some strategic stimulation, such as tickling, can awaken them as a powerful erogenous zone—likewise for the inner elbow.
Between the breasts
The nipples may be the most reactive part of the breast, but the skin between them is also sensitive to touch. You can stimulate this area with gentle rubbing, but kisses and tongue make it even more intense.
Above your thigh creases
During foreplay, slowing things down is often a good idea—not rushing right to the genitals but rather, paying attention to the hips and upper thighs. If you’re going down on your partner, pay attention to this area beforehand; kisses, tongue, and massage action can intensify the moment.
Forehead and eyelids
Leave it to a forehead kiss to increase the intimacy of the moment tenfold in an instant. The forehead and eyelids aren’t typically “sexy” body parts, but they are very personal: Just think of how special it feels to touch foreheads with your partner, or to feel their eyelashes sweep across your cheek. In foreplay especially, face-touching of all kinds can increase the heat of the moment, so don’t be afraid to get up close and personal.
When done the right way (read: not in a corny way), a kiss on the hand can be a pretty suave mood. The best way to take things to the next level? Land your lips right on your partner’s inner wrist—a nerve-filled spot that doesn’t usually get much attention from anything other than watches and bracelets. Of course, there are other ways that you can stimulate this spot; consider holding down your partners’ wrists, either against a bed or against the wall, or—if you’re up for it—you can consider some light bondage.
Nape of the neck
Research shows that the neck is especially an erogenous zone for women—with many considering an even sexier spot than their breasts. This makes the nape of the neck a great spot for kissing (obviously), but don’t stop there. Gently brush your partner’s neck with your fingers, and consider using your tongue and breath to make things a little heated. Some people are into a bit of suction action, too—just make sure you don’t go so hard that you leave a mark (unless they’re into that).
Behind the knees
Has a romantic prospect ever made you feel weak in the knees? Turns out, when someone touches that body part, you’re likely to feel the same way. The backs of your knees are nerve-rich—plus, they’re not a part of the body that gets a lot of attention. So, when someone does touch them (think: running your hand up the back of their leg, starting from their ankle, or massaging it before going in for a blow job) you’re likely to feel it.
Although one study shows that feet ranked pretty low when compared to how other erogenous zones stimulate feelings of desire, it still holds true that some people just get off on having their feet touched, tickled, sucked, or caressed. And while a foot massage may not be an intrinsically sexual thing, the endorphins that come from any kind of massage can certainly put you in the mood to take things further.
Small of the back
When your partner’s hands slip from your waist to your sacrum, the butterflies that start to flutter at that very moment are only natural. The nerves at the small of your back are connected to your pelvis, so your mind is bound to drift into fantasyland. While placing your hand on the small of your partner’s back is a simple, subtle flirt that you can do even in public, you can up the ante in private by using your lips or tongue.
Yes, holding hands is innately intimate—but there’s also a scientific reason for that. The center of the palm has lots of nerve endings that make a palm caress feel extra sweet (if you’ve ever gotten a manicure, you know how amazing a hand massage feels). To make it a touch more romantic, rub your thumb around the center of their palm…and then move it to an area of your body that you’d like them to touch. Consider it a guided massage.
Everyone may have different preferred spots, so always remember to give your partner feedback—and encourage them to do the same. Keeping things playful is a great way to explore secret erogenous zones that you may not have previously considered; and sometimes, you discover spots that you didn’t realize were quite so ticklish. We’ll leave the thrill of discovery up to you, but we will say this—a little bit of vibration usually helps.