Enhance Your Sensual Awareness For Better Health
Our five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – are a precious gift of life. If we ignore or suppress sensual messages from our body, our sensual responses are diminished.
We feel more easily stressed, more easily upset, and recover from illnesses more slowly. However, when one of our senses stops working, when we are in a state of fear or in the throes of passion, all of our functional senses become more reactive. With a little practice, we can bring heightened sensual awareness into our daily lives and into our most intimate relationships. By paying attention to our intimate partner with all of our senses, we become more connected and aligned, which often leads to a greater sense of love, pleasure, and joy in each other’s presence.
It has been said that our eyes are the windows to our soul. Our eyes observe the marvelous beauty, colors, shapes and movements of nature. Through our eyes, we can make or break contact with others. Thanks to our peripheral vision, we anticipate a movement, as in sport, or spot an approaching danger. Even without our consciousness, our eyes detect the attitude and emotional state of others. Infants react negatively to even momentary lapses in the mother’s visual attention. Our eyes see more than the outward physical appearance. Through the eyes of love, we are able to see the inner beauty that lies dormant within each of us and is just waiting to be recognized and appreciated.
Sound warns us of impending danger or a promise of excitement. A mother’s heartbeat comforts and lulls her baby to sleep. A cat’s purr soothes us and makes us smile or jump when we are afraid of cats. A barking dog protects us, if we are the owner, or can frighten us if we are a stranger. Our lover’s voice thrills us with a passionate feeling or pushes us away after a disturbing argument. Some sounds make learning easier. Other sounds, through rhythmic entrainment, help our body to heal. Sounds from the environment or those emanating from our lover increase or interfere with our sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, or overall sexual pleasure.
A healthy person may be able to detect 10,000 to 30,000 different smells. Yet each of us has our own unique scent preferences, based on our society, culture, ethnic group, experiences, memories, or the part of the world we live in. Memories triggered by smell tend to be more emotionally intense than other sensory cues. Some of the worst memories of victims of disasters or sexual abuse are caused by their sense of smell. On the other hand, the aroma of freshly baked cookies or a roast in the oven can warm our hearts, instantly reminding us of an emotionally comforting and happy time from our childhood. The lingering scent of our lover’s cologne or natural body odor can stimulate our desire to reconnect.
Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, MD, author of the book Scentsational Sex, has conducted studies to find out which particular scents cause sexual arousal in men and women. For men, the scent of a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie showed the greatest measurable arousal, increased blood flow to the penis, while licorice and donuts as well as cinnamon rolls had also a stimulating effect. But arousal in the men increased in response to each scent tested. This is not the case for women. Arousal in women, as measured by increased vaginal blood flow, was highest in response to the smell of Good and Plenty, licorice candy, or Allsorts licorice and cucumber combined, but was also affected by a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie. By discovering which scents are personally most arousing to our partner and to ourselves, we can create a scent-sensitive environment designed to increase sensual desire and enhance sexual pleasure.
It’s a matter of taste perhaps truer than we ever realized. The French expression, each to his taste — to each his tastes, describes it well. Humans are, in fact, genetically, culturally and individually different in their ability to perceive food flavors. Scientists have categorized people into supertasters, tasters and non-tasters, based on the number of fungiform papillae, the structures that hold taste buds, on their tongue. About 25% of the population seem to be super-tasters, 25% non-tasters and 50% tasters. Women are more likely to be super-tasters, especially when estrogen is at its peak during ovulation or pregnancy. Supertasters tend to be more sensitive to a bitter compound in broccoli and other vegetables or the bitter aftertaste of artificial sweeteners. Non-tasters seem to barely perceive these bitter flavors. Knowing our partner’s unique taste ability, we can prepare meals that whet the appetite, we can play sensual food games together, or we can savor the taste of each other’s essence.
Touch, even the mere intention of touching, can affect the health, resilience, texture and responsiveness of our skin and internal organs. How our skin reacts to touch is determined by many factors: quality of touch, our genetic make-up, gender, health status, previous tactile experiences, individual pain and pleasure threshold, as well as our perceptions, beliefs and memories. Even a slight touch on the surface of our skin can have a profound effect of pleasure, pain, irritation or tickling. Each of us reacts very differently to touch and we react differently to the same type of touch at different times and with different people. Touch therapy can relieve our physical pain, while somatic body psychotherapy can improve our overall health and well-being.