Sensuality and Care
Sensuality and sexuality, while related, are not interchangeable.
According to Merriam-Webster, sensuality is “relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite,” or to be “devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites.”
Contrasted with sexuality, the human capacity for sex-based attraction, sensuality is the human desire for pleasure of all kinds. Sensuality is how we experience the world through our senses, interpreted through the lens of our sexual interests and needs. We perceive sensuality through stimulation of the senses and of the mind. It informs our ability to enjoy sex, intimacy, and relationships with others and ourselves.
What is Sensual Care
Sensual the practice of building intimacy. You can build physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, and spiritual intimacy.
You can build this intimacy with a partner or just with yourself. It can manifest as self-love or love of another person. Mindfulness toward sensuality homes your attention on invoking the senses, helping you enjoy your relationship on a deeper level.
A sense of pleasure is what gives life its joy. Aesthetic pleasure, physical pleasure, emotional pleasure. . . learning how to feel good just makes everything better, from your relationship with others to your relationship with yourself.
Why Practice Sensual Care
There are a number of benefits to sensual care. If you are not currently in a place where you can have sex or even want to have sex, it’s important to find a way to inhabit physical and emotional intimacy with your partner. Even if sex is a regular part of your routine, it’s still nice to find a way to express desire without sex.
And if you don’t have a partner or you’re not sexually active, nurturing your own sensuality is still important to your mental and physical health. Sensuality tends to carry a sexual connotation, and it can certainly overlap with your sexuality, but it is a different part of yourself that still needs attention. The ability to enjoy the body you inhabit and the mind you operate, and to appreciate these features of other people, is deeply important to building successful relationships.
Sex is often a by-product of intimacy, and intimacy is often a by-product of sex. They feed into each other and build off of one another. Therefore, to enjoy either or both at their fullest potential, it’s best to cultivate both.
If you feel that your life is too hectic to worry about your sensuality, that’s all the more reason to dedicate time to renewing your relationship with yourself. Falling into a slump of self-image can grate on your self-confidence, which in turn can erode your capacity for joy.
Tips for Sensual Care
There are a number of ways you can care for sensuality. Everyone’s needs are specific to them, and all methods and tips can be customized to your personal preference.
Communicate With Your Partner
Communication is always the best place to start. If your needs are different than they used to be, let your partner know so you can reassess what is and isn’t working for you.
Circumstances change over time. Mental health, physical health, age, and a myriad of other things can inhibit your ability to have and enjoy sex. Whatever you’re experiencing, it’s good to let your partner know how you’re feeling.
Open and honest communications spare feelings and allow you both to work toward a solution and figure out what direction you want to take.
Be Vulnerable With Your Partner
Be open, be honest. Sincerity is incredibly sexy. Transparency can feel awkward, but it’s important and worth investing in.
Letting yourself experience vulnerability, and accepting the vulnerability of someone else, solidifies honesty in your relationship. You’re letting someone see a private version of yourself, usually the version you keep purely to yourself. Sharing this part of yourself is a big deal, and if your partner is opening up to you in this way, that’s an honor. They’re placing a lot of trust in you.
Tools and Activities to Try
Massage is a great starting place. It requires physical closeness and attentiveness to the body’s sensation, whether you’re giving yourself a massage or massaging a partner. You can wear as much or as little clothing as you like while giving a massage, but skin-to-skin contact allows you to appreciate the body and can trigger a hormonal response, helping to alleviate your anxiety.
We’d recommend something like Me and Your Luxury Massage Oil. Not only does it contain great ingredients like coconut oil and Vitamin E, but it also comes in a variety of beautiful fragrances and hyperglide technology. Try warming it up a bit beforehand to add an extra element of indulgence.
Depending on what you’re interested in, you might still want to engage in sexual activity as a way to care for your sexuality. If you’re not up to the actual act of sex but still want to indulge, outercourse and mutual masturbation are physically satisfying while being easier on the body than regular sex.
(Pssst! Whatever you’re doing, use lube. Wicked has some fantastic options.)
The written word has a history of being leveraged to enhance sensuality. Reading erotica is fun, and for some people being read to is even more fun.
Dipsea, marketed as “sexy audio stories that spark your imagination and get you in the mood,” helps you unwind while luxuriating in the sexual corner of your brain. They’ve made it their mission to empower people in their sexuality by enhancing intimacy and sensual confidence. These stories can be enjoyed by yourself or with a partner. They cater to all preferences and interests with a focus on being equal parts relatable, entertaining, and empowering.
However you care for sensuality, if you make it a consistent part of your routine it will help you get in better touch with yourself and with others. The senses let humans enjoy the world. And when you learn to mindfully enjoy and enhance your innate senses, the second part of your sex life begins.