Ask Gigi: What is An Erogenous Zone?
What are Erogenous Zones and how do they work?
An erogenous zone is a part of the body that, when activated, inspires sexual desire or lustful feelings. Meaning, it feels really, really good. These are areas of heightened sensitivity. While they include the genitals, they are not limited to them ... which is what makes exploration into someone's (or your own) pleasure so exciting. Research has shown that igniting different erogenous zones can elicit different reactions in the body - opening you up to sexual pleasure in myriad ways, ways you may not have thought possible.
Erogenous zones vary from person to person, some thing will work for someone that might not work for another. For example, one person might find the back of their knee quite sensitive and may enjoy having it stroked or lightly tickled. Someone else might find that sensation too tickley or off-putting.
Some common erogenous zones include: Clitoris, vulva, penis, nipples, backs of the knees, inner thighs, belly button, neck, shoulders, lips, ears, perineum. This is not a comprehensive list, though.
Some people have erogenous zones that don't make a "most popular" list. Theoretically, anywhere on the body could be an erogenous zone for someone.
Why it feels so good to get in on your Erogenous Zones.
Touching different erogenous zones releases feel good chemicals into the body such as dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin. Some erogenous zones are particularly nerve-rich, such as the nipples. Touching, vibrating, putting pressure on, or licking these nerve-abundant areas feels pleasurable, to put it simply, because it's a sensitive spot on the body.
Additionally, when you stimulate certain areas of the body, it lights up the same areas of the brain as if you were touching a female person's clitoris or penis.
So, you body and brain are literally talking to each other saying: "This feels sexually pleasurable and is turning me on." Even if you're not directly touching a person's genitals (which are erogenous zones as well), the body can begin to become physically aroused. For female people, the nipples get hard, the clitoris swells, the vagina lengthens and becomes wet. For male-bodied folk, the nipples get hard, the penis becomes erect.
People don't know very much about these zones because we have a limited understanding of human sexuality and its complexities. Overall, we have a pretty narrow view of how our bodies can be aroused. People barely know how to touch a clitoris (or where it is), let alone their bodies are actually a smorgasbord for rousing feelings of sexual excitement.
It’s OK to like whatever you like. (Seriously).
The human body is complex and amazing. Whatever brings you pleasure is good and right. You're allowed to feel pleasure in any way that feels good to you. You may find that something "unusual" feels amazing. Perhaps you really get turned on when someone rubs your feet or lower back or scratches your head. It happens.
Erogenous zones are pretty lax and ever-changing. You might find one on your body that you haven't heard of before.
Our bodies and brains are inextricably linked - even when it comes to sexual pleasure. The spot being touched sends signals to the brain and the brain sends signals back. Your body might say to the brain, "I like this." and your brain can respond, "Yes, that feels good."
It's your body and no one is allowed to shame you for liking a certain kind of touch. If a person doesn't want to touch you in a certain place, that's up to them, but it doesn't make you weird or bad for liking it.
How to find Erogenous Zones you like on your own body.
It's important to explore your your body to find your hot spots. It can really broaden your understanding of pleasure and open your repertoire to many different kinds of touching, licking, teasing etc.
Try getting some massage oil and oil your hands up. Test different parts of the body. Try massaging your neck, rubbing and pinching your nipples, running your hands over your stomach. Don't be afraid to explore yourself.
Masturbate! We learn what we like sexually through masturbation. Touch your clitoris or penis. Get to know your entire genital region. Make note of the pressure, strokes, and movements that feel good to you. Only then can you relay those feelings to a partner.
Part of this article originally appeared as an interview for Elite Daily.
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