A woman’s brain shuts down for orgasm. Commence the shutdown sequence by holding her head in your lap and massaging the area above her eyebrows with your thumbs.
“People carry a lot of tension in the face, and this helps them release and become more receptive to arousal,” says Dr David Givens, author of Love Signals. Look for her lips to part, he says: “When a person is aroused, he or she will relax the muscles that keep the jaw shut.”
These are portals to two forms of arousal: physical (reflexogenic) and mental (psychogenic), says Dr Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.
Touch or massage the rim of her ear between your thumb and forefinger while cradling the back of her head with your fingers. (Ignore the insensitive earlobe.)
As she responds, graze the ridge of her outer ear with the tip of your nose, says Anne Hooper, co-author of 269 Amazing Sex Tips and Tricks for Men. “Just hearing you breathe will turn her on,” she says.
Brush your lips between her throat and chin, says Dr Sandor Gardos, founder of mypleasure.com.
“The skin is thinner where the body flexes. The nerves and blood vessels are closer to the surface – that’s why it’s also a perfume point.”
You'll engage sensory receptors and trigger an emotional response.
“It feels very intimate to let a person that close,” says Dr Debby Herbenick, a sex researcher with the Kinsey Institute.
Kissing is your entrance exam for the rest of her body.
“It tells her that you understand how to be subtle, no matter where you are on her body,” says Hooper.
You’re also giving her a hormonal hors d’oeuvre, flooding her hypothalamus (the brain’s arousal centre) with pheromone-laden smells and tastes. Softly lick her upper lip or tug it gently between your lips. Deep red lips indicate arousal.
During a movie or long flight, tease her palm; hands are dense with sensory receptors.
Spread your fingers outward from the upper part of her palm, slowly moving them up her fingers. Do it lightly – touch-sensitive receptors in the skin respond better than the pressure-sensitive receptors inside (whose job is grabbing).
“It’s discreet enough for no one to notice but enticing enough to awaken other parts of her body,” says Lauren Slade, founder of the Universal College of Reflexology.
“The inner part of the wrist is extremely sensitive to temperature,” says Herbenick.
Try licking her wrist and blowing softly to create a cooling sensation – special receptors there are tuned to detect differences in temperature. (It’s the site that parents use to check heated baby formula.)
And there are sensitive receptors in hair follicles: “Any area with fine, downy hair is going to respond best to a light, almost nonexistent touch,” says Gardos. “Just stimulate the hairs and you’ll give her shivers.”
Pay respects to the nerve-rich erogenous tissue at the top and underside of the breast before touching the nipple.
“Your technique should be so light that it barely indents the skin,” says Kerrie Grow McLean, a sex therapist at Chicago's Berman Centre.
The nipple (which, like the clitoris, feeds into orgasm-inducing neurons in the brain) contains receptors called Meissner’s corpuscles, cells that adjust to varied stimuli, like the friction of a shirt or the moisture of a tongue. The longer you tease around the nipple, the more intense direct stimulation will be.
The Back of Her Knees
Many women find this spot ticklish at first. Just wait. “She probably is not aroused enough,” says Gardos.
Work on erogenous zones first. Cover the entire back of her leg, then trace your fingers down her thigh and calf and graze the back of her knee, using the full length of three fingers.
A firmer touch can stimulate the pressure-sensitive nerve endings, or Pacini’s corpuscles, in the skin as well, taking away the tickle.
Knead the muscles between her shoulderblades and spine, and follow with light fingertip strokes.
“As you get lower and lower down the back, the nerves become more sensitive,” says Gardos.
Let your fingers drift to her sides, gently touching the sides of her breasts. During sex, take a back-rub break to delay ejaculation. “Switching to a back rub is like, ‘Wow, he’s caring and considerate and not just all about sex’,” Herbenick says. “Little does she know he’s also using the technique to last longer.”
Dutch researchers found that the mere expectation of touch triggers activity in the planning and motivation centres of the brain, crucial for building arousal.
“Women want to wonder, 'What is he going to do next?'” says Herbenick. “That mindset is crucial for psychological arousal and orgasm.”
Stroke her thighs in the direction of her vagina, but pull away before you reach it. Breathe on her or brush your fingers very close, awakening the skin, Gardos says.
“This will transmit a very different sort of sensation than if you’re actually making contact.”