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How to Expand Your Sexual Pleasure Potential

Seven science-based to tips to help both men and women enhance sexual pleasure.

Key points

  • Men and women both have the capacity for sexual pleasure, and it can be improved without focusing solely on orgasms.
  • Striving to have a bigger, better, or the best orgasm is the enemy of having the kind of sex that enhances our erotic potential.
  • Being present to the sensations we are having, rather than focusing on what we want to "achieve," is how sexual pleasure blooms.

Why talk about expanding our sexual pleasure potential instead of focusing on orgasms?

The reason why I called my book Why Good Sex Matters rather than Why Great Sex Matters is that one of the most important mindsets for fully enjoying sex is to not be goal-directed. Striving to have an orgasm in the first place, or striving to have a bigger, better, or even the best orgasm, is the enemy of having the kind of enjoyable sex that enhances our erotic potential.

Being goal-directed and striving in the bedroom is one of the big causes of sexual problems in the first place. Being present to the sensations we are having, rather than focusing on what we want to "achieve," is how sexual pleasure blooms.

How Men and Women Can Promote Sexual Pleasure

1. Expand your sexual pleasure zones.

Our lab's study of women showed that the various genital regions (clitoris, vagina, cervix, and nipples) each have separate pathways to the place in the brain that receives and processes sensations from the genitals. By adding simultaneous stimulation to more genital regions to the mix, a wider area of the brain's genital sensation center is activated, creating more intense sensations as they blend and combine, enhancing our sexual experience and increasing the potential of having an orgasm.

And when it comes to men, the story is the same. Similar to our findings in women, we found that the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, rectum, and nipples, too, each have their own wired-in pathways to the place in the brain that registers and process the sexual sensations that lead up to and contribute to orgasm.

When we look at expanding our sexual pleasure zones, what we're really talking about is enrolling and including more ways of simultaneously stimulating the various pleasure pathways to enhance our experience.

2. Your brain is your most important sex organ of all—use it to focus on the sensations you are having.

A finding from our work with both men and women is that our research participants were able to activate parts of the brain that are activated by orgasm just by imagining pleasurable stimulation of their genitals without any touch. Yes! That's right. Just thinking about sexy stimulation made the brain's pleasure centers light up like a Christmas tree.

I've created a good sex tool to help people train themselves to access sensations in their genitals by pairing touch with imagined touch, which will then make it easier to access sexual pleasure. Even if you haven't yet experienced the joys of orgasm, you can still experience delicious pleasures on the way to discovering your sexual pleasure potential.

Sensations are the building blocks of sexual pleasure. Allow yourself to pay attention to what feels good. And then remember, don't chase the orgasm. Let the sensations take you there. Let the orgasm find you. If you learn to expand your sexual pleasure zones, your orgasm just may be more likely to show up!

And remember when you approach expanding your sexual pleasure zones, you can do so in a way that's exploratory and curious rather than striving and goal-directed.

3. Add nipple stimulation to the mix

Rationale: Nipple stimulation wires directly into the brain's genital sensation center in both men and women.

Although there are individual differences in how turned-on we get with nipple stimulation, it could potentially contribute to an increase in the intensity of sensations that converge on the brain's pleasure centers.

4. Work your pelvic floor.

Rationale: A well-toned pelvic floor enhances our sexual pleasure potential

Hone your pelvic floor muscles with a regular practice of kegels and then intentionally contract these muscles rhythmically while moving your pelvis during masturbation or having sex.

How Women Can Promote Sexual Pleasure

5. Expanding pleasures from the clitoris.

Most women tend to focus on the external clitoris during masturbation or sexual activity. Experiment with extending the stimulation from the clitoral glans or head of the clitoris (the external clitoris) to include massaging and stimulation the bulbs of the clitoris (by pressing down and manually massaging the area around the inner lips of your vulva).

And you can also combine stimulation of the clitoris with vaginal stimulation to bump up the intensity.

6. Expanding pleasures from the vagina.

Explore the "G-spot." The G-spot is actually not a "spot," per se. It refers more accurately to the anterior wall of the vagina, a place where stimulation enrolls the entire clitero-urethro-vaginal complex (CUV for short), including the internal clitoris and paraurethral sponge (female prostate gland). Stimulation of the G-spot can lead to some intense sensations, including the feeling of a need to urinate, and can also lead to female ejaculation.

The rationale for adding G-spot/anterior wall stimulation: It has been reported in the scientific literature that stimulation of the anterior wall of the vagina in the region known as the G-spot can trigger powerful orgasms in women who enjoy the stimulation. Based on the intensity of the orgasms described, it is possible that practicing stimulation of this area through regular masturbation and other forms of sexual activity may likely strengthen the connections between this region and the pleasure centers of the brain, possibly potentiating the ability to experience high levels of pleasure and orgasm through sexual intercourse.

Explore the cervix . Cervical stimulation isn't for everyone. Some women describe it as too intense or uncomfortable. But others find this kind of stimulation can result in sensations that have been described as a "shower of stars." If you haven't yet explored the sensations from the cervix, you can experiment with deeper penetration of the vagina.

As vaginal intercourse or the use of a dildo is not always effective in reaching deep enough into the vagina to access the cervix, experiment with sex toys design to access the cervix or intercourse positions such as "doggie-style."

How Men Can Promote Sexual Pleasure

7. Expanding pleasures from the penis, shaft and glans, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and nipples.

Men (and their partners) can explore and expand the sensation and intensity of their erotic experience by combining stimulation from a number of these genital zones, including the nipples and the prostrate, and using the mind to focus on the sensations without chasing the orgasm and/or enjoy your fantasies (mind enhancement).

Bottom Line?

Sexual activity feels good and is good for us. Regular sexual activity has been shown to enhance our overall physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

References

Wise, N. (2020). Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-filled Life. Houghton Mifflin.

Wise, N. J., Frangos, E., & Komisaruk, B. R. (2017). Brain activity unique to orgasm in women: An fMRI analysis. The journal of sexual medicine, 14(11), 1380-1391.

Allen, K., Wise, N., Frangos, E., & Komisaruk, B. (2020). Male urogenital system mapped onto the sensory cortex: functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence. The journal of sexual medicine, 17(4), 603-613.

Wise, N. J., Frangos, E., & Komisaruk, B. R. (2016). Activation of sensory cortex by imagined genital stimulation: an fMRI analysis. Socioaffective neuroscience & psychology, 6(1), 31481.

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