The Sensual Side of Power Play

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 1.54.29 PMTo prepare for your sensual BDSM experience, create erotic energy by setting the mood for getting intimate and feeling safe. Gentle and passionate kisses set the stage for trust and connection, which is very important. Adding ambiance with music, candlelight, feathers, finger foods and drinks to heighten all of the senses can enhance the mood for sensuality.


Before embarking on any BDSM or power play, be sure to share your concerns, fears, desires, and interests so you can both come up with a mutually understood set of limits and guidelines.

Set up a way to communicate while you are playing to let your partner know how things are going. This is an important aspect of safety and essential to create trust and security. Safe words are used to stop play immediately without hesitation. It’s good practice to use non-sexual terms for safe words to maximize communication. Don’t use words that are sometimes spoken during consensual sex, such as NO and STOP, because these words can be a turn-on in role-play, sex, and BDSM scenes.

For safe words, using the stop light system is an effective way to communicate, where saying green means keep going I love this, yellow means you’re at my limits, and red means stop immediately and check in with me now.

Ice Play:

Sensation and temperature play is a form of BDSM power play where objects and substances are used to stimulate the body for sensual effect. Many couples have experimented with using ice cubes on their lover’s body to spice up their sex life. But you can take it a step farther if the focus is on teasing the submissive by the dominant. And like many simple erotic acts, ice play can be turned into a veritable kinky art form, depending upon how and where you use it.

Sensual Biting:

Most people typically don’t think of biting as a form of sex play, but surprisingly, Alfred Kinsey found that 55% of females and 50% of males reported having responded erotically to being bitten. Whether it’s gentle nibbling or offering a firm love bite, biting can be an extremely passionate and enthusiastic BDSM behavior. It’s important to begin erotic biting gently and use good communication to find what is mutually pleasurable. Some people enjoy the use of teeth, others prefer more of a suction action, and a few enjoy a combination. Because biting has the potential to leave marks, it’s always a good idea to discuss skin marks and areas to bite before beginning.

Sensual Fingernail Scratching:

Fingernail scratching on your partner’s body can be an erotic rush for many people. It’s a wonderful way to stimulate the skin and create unique sensations. You can vary the sensation felt by your partner by changing the pattern of scratching, whether it’s digging into the skin, scratching in a straight line, or in zigzag motions. Remember to discuss scratching limits and leaving marks on your body with your partner.

Sensual Hair Pulling:

An erotic activity shared by two partners is hair pulling. For some, it can be a powerful expression of dominance and submission. When we pull hair erotically, we have to remember to not pull from the end of the hair. For most people, that’s not pleasurable pain. For better hair pulling technique, take your flattened hand and slide it upwards beginning at the back of the neck. Get your fingers interlocked with their hair while your flat hand is nestled against their scalp. When you reach the top portion of their head, grip the hair while making a fist and keep your hand close to their scalp. Now you have a firm hold of their hair, which is close to the scalp. Adjust your grip and the pulling according to your partner’s desire. For more advanced hair pulling, try it with two hands.

Sensual Restraints:

Whenever we tie anything to our partners, such as scarves, belt, rope, or neckties, we have to keep safety in mind. Always check to make sure there is enough space between the restraint and their skin. A good rule is to be able to slip one finger in between the restraint and the skin. This will allow for circulation and better comfort. Also, keep a pair of surgical scissors handy, in case you need to remove the restraint immediately.

Sensual Blindfolding:

By using a blindfold to cover your lover’s eyes, you can accentuate all of their other senses, and it can help both partners to feel less inhibited and more daring.

Depriving the senses, such as using a blindfold to remove sight and restraining someone to remove their sense of touch can heighten arousal. It’s a way to increase the sensations of other senses, like hearing, smelling and tasting during sensual BDSM play.


Written by Dr. Ava Cadell, originally published at

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