By Hayley Krischer
There are plenty of reasons to bypass "boring" body parts and focus on the sweet spots when you’re canoodling. But there’s also a really good reason why you shouldn’t: Exploring your partner’s body and touching on unexpected erogenous zones can bring a lot of playfulness into your sex life, says Kate McCombs, M.P.H., a NYC-based sex educator and founder of Sex Geekdom.
Want to discover your partner’s unexplored erogenous zones? "Ask, 'What would delight you?'" suggests McCombs. (That's also a great question to ask yourself, she says.)
Here, a list of erogenous zones that can get your partner -- and you -- all sorts of turned on this Valentine’s Day.
1. The Inner Wrist
Because we're not used to being touched there, the wrist -- especially the inside of the wrist -- can be an exciting spot. "It’s got a lot of nerve endings," says McCombs. "It’s right at that pulse point, and it’s that first stage of when your body starts become more intimate." Touch gently at first, allowing your partner to connect with the fact that you’re touching them sensually. “People often rush stimulation," she says. "Taking a second and making eye contact can go a long way toward creating a mood.”
2. The Nape Of The Neck
Though some people might get all Marie Antoinette about having their neck touched, neck kisses are almost always a turn-on, says McCombs. In fact, women ranked the nape of the neck above the breasts and nipples as an erogenous zone, according to a study published in the journal Cortex. "It’s such a sexy place because it’s such a vulnerable place," says McCombs. "If you combine the lips with the neck, it’s quite a turn-on." She suggests starting with the sides of the neck, kissing or brushing it gently with your fingers.
3. The Buttocks
"You'd think something that's so often used has lost all feeling," says NYC-based sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D. "But the bottom is pretty high up there when it comes to erogenous potential." (Not all that surprising, really, considering its proximity to the genitals.) How to make the most of this erotic area? Ask your partner how he or she would like to be touched there. Hard? Soft? Let them choose.
4. The Scalp
As anyone who's had a salon styling session knows, having someone touch your hair and scalp can be incredibly soothing. It can also be arousing, says Vrangalova. "Play with your partner's hair," she says. "Massage his or her scalp. Run your fingernails across it. See how your partner reacts."
5. Behind The Knee
Why is the soft spot behind the knee erogenous? "It’s another nerve-rich area where we’re not often touched," says McCombs. "It’s a novelty, because it’s not where our friends or colleagues are touching us. Touching the back of the knees and leading up to the thighs is intimate... and it gets you closer to the main attraction." Try gently touching your partner behind the knees while he or she stands in front of you. Or massage them there, alternating between deep pressure and a tickle.
6. The Earlobe
"The sexiest part of the ear is the lobe,” says McCombs. "That gesture where you’re tucking the hair behind the ear feels quite intimate." To make the most of the ears' erotic potential, McCombs suggests sensually tickling the edge of your partner’s ear with your finger. But as far as the rumored phenomenon known as the “uricologenital reflex” goes (which is said to simulate a nerve inside the ear canal and bring some women to orgasm, McCombs is skeptical. "I wouldn’t recommend someone going straight for a tongue-in-ear without talking about it first," she says. "A wet willy? Not so great."
7. The Feet
Though one study found that feet ranked low on the turn-on scale, “there are certainly people for whom having their feet touched, licked, sucked, etc., is a sexually arousing experience,” says Vrangalova. And those people aren't necessarily foot fetishists, either. "Foot fetishes are usually about being attracted to other people's feet, not having your own feet touched."