We have all heard of the expression “Look but don’t touch.” But when it comes to sex and intimacy using all the senses can result in amazing experiences for both you and your partner. Of all the senses that we use in the bedroom, our eyes are perhaps the most “overlooked”.
This Spring Lovehoney can help get you off to a great start with their high quality lingerie suited to all styles and sizes. Elegance can be found with their floral glamour like the Rose Embrace Pink Teddy or get Parisienne Sexy in their Black Lace Plunge Chemise.
But it isn’t just sexy underwear that can bring visual stimulation into the bedroom. What else can we do to use all our senses, especially our eyes? And why is it so important in the bedroom?
What do the Experts say?
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Sex and Relationship expert for Lovehoney helped break down some of my questions.
Why do we need visual stimulation in the bedroom?
Not everyone needs visual stimulation, but many people enjoy it. In many cases, engaging multiple senses can create a more overwhelming erotic response.
The mere sight of something that you associated with eroticism can lead to arousal and desire. And when you’re in the throes of passion, setting your eyes on something that turns you on can intensify pleasure.
Of course, visually exciting imagery can vary from person to person. You might be turned on by the sight of:
-a naked body
-an eager or excited lover
-a scene that makes you nervous or pushes your comfort zone
-other lovers enjoying themselves (e.g. in porn or at a sex club)
-something kinky that you associated with eroticism
-your own body/bodies in the mirror
Is visual stimulation different for men and women?
We’ll often hear that men are more visual than women when it comes to sex, but I wouldn’t assume individual preferences based on gender alone.
One analysis that examined 36 studies of brains found that 80% of the data sets identified no differences between brain response (in the insula and anterior cingulate brain regions) in response to non-sexual visual stimuli based on gender.
However, sexual motivation and expectations rooted in perceived gender roles may affect whether or not we respond to visual sexual stimuli.
While some studies have found gender-based differences in response to visual stimuli, this study that looked at brain response illustrates the difference between physical response and subjective expression of arousal: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1904975116
In other words, they didn’t find brain response differences by gender — though men may be more likely to express a response to visual sexual stimuli.
What are some ways to add visual stimulation into the bedroom?
These are our top tips from The Ultimate Guide to Seduction and Foreplay by Jessica O’Reilly & Marla Renee Stewart:
Just as we develop personalities and styles when it comes to seduction and sex, we also have a have a preference for learning styles in the sexual realm. Research suggests that we learn through three predominant means: sight, sound and touch. You may be a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic or tactile learner.
Of course, most of us learn via multiple styles and these categories offer a limited scope as some folks cannot see, hear or touch. However, it can be helpful to approach seduction — for yourself and for your lover(s) through the lens of seduction styles in reference to learning styles.
You may already be familiar with your own learning styles as well as your lovers’. If you are primarily a visual learner, you may be most responsive to visual cues like charts, graphs, photos and the written word. You may remember faces, take notes, and make lists and in the bedroom, you may be particularly responsive to watching the action unfold.
For visual learners, pleasure is all about the eyes and the imagination. Visual-linguistic learners may be more responsive to the written word including flirtatious texts, love notes and naughty stories and those who favor a visual-spatial style may enjoy photos, video clips and playful peep shows.
Consider the following strategies to be a skilled visual seducer for your lover:
Make lots of eye contact.
Visual folks crave consistent, steady eye contact and gauge attraction and mood by the way you look at them. Weave it into your general interactions to stay connected — not just when sex is imminent, but throughout the day and week. Consider Tyra Banks’ advice that models ought to “smize” or smile with their eyes; not only can you smile with your eyes, but you can convey lust, admiration, and desire to rouse interest, cultivate eroticism, and seduce a visual learner.
Clean up the clutter.
Visual people are distracted by a busy sightline. Simply put, you cannot compete with piles of laundry or a messy room when you are with a visual learner, so limit the clutter and make sure that everything has its own dedicated place. This applies to sexts and video chats too; it will not matter how hot you look in a photo if they are distracted by an unmade bed in the background.
Tell stories in rich in detail.
Visual folks are daydreamers. Cater to these dreams by drawing out the details of your stories, sex dreams and fantasies. Remember to mention the little things including colors, perspectives, and anything that can be visually imagined.
For example, over dinner or in a casual situation, discuss a recent sex dream or fantasy: I had a fantasy of being on video with you. We bought this state-of-the-art video camera. We set it up next to the dresser facing the mirror and you start by giving me a striptease. You let your hair down. You are wearing that bright red blouse with the ruffles that I like and as you striptease, you slowly reveal your tattoos button by button…etc. Go into as much detail as possible.
This goes without saying, but visual people are a fan of anything that stands out. Depending on their taste, this might include tattoos, piercings and eye-catching fashion. Bold choices and variety are likely to draw them in. Do you have a pair of heels that you can barely walk in, but are amazingly sexy? Offer to wear them exclusively in the bedroom. Lay out sexy outfits on the bed so that they get a preview. Take them shopping and try on outrageous outfits even if you have nowhere to wear them.
Be the opposite of the room.
Show up a little late to the party to make a grand entrance or be the opposite of the movement in the room. If the room is standing still (like a dinner party), move around to get their attention. If the room is busy (like a bar or club), stand still or move purposefully and slowly throughout the room.
For the visual lover, consider the following approaches to planting a sex seed:
- Text a sexy or naughty pic of yourself to their phone or personal (not work!) email.
- Send them sexy pics of other people (within the public domain — photos you are allowed to share) and ask them if they like them.
- Send a quick shot of a body part that is close-up or unclear so they have to fill in the blanks.
- Pull out your favourite toy and let them walk in while you are playing with yourself.
- Tell them about something that you saw that turned you on and make sure that you share vivid details.
- Turn on a sexy video or porn and wait for them in bed.
- Straddle them facing in either direction so they get a beautiful view of your body.
- Do a slow striptease for them removing layer after layer.
- Write them a playful note telling them about what you want to do to them later or make a list of what makes them a great lover. Bonus points for legible writing.
What are some tips for women to be more comfortable in bringing more visual stimulation into the bedroom? (ie. lingerie, role play, porn)
Generally speaking, the more comfortable you are in your skin, the more likely you’ll enjoy being the object of someone’s visual desire. So rather than worrying about lighting or angles, focus on enjoying your body — for movement, function and pleasure. The more pleasure you derive from your body, the more likely you’ll be able to separate your worth from what your body looks like.
This isn’t a simple task and it’s not necessarily about “loving your body”, but it may be more about separating your worth from the shape, size or appearance of your body and knowing that you deserve love and pleasure for being human — not in exchange for having a specific type of body. This is a huge topic and it’s an ongoing process in a world that profits from convincing us to dislike our bodies and never be satisfied with how we look (while also putting a huge emphasis on the way we look with narrow views of what’s desirable).
To get more comfortable in your skin, you might explore pleasure in your body on your own.
Touch yourself. Learn about your responses. Try new approaches (e.g. toys, lube) and get to know what you like so that pleasure becomes more second nature.
Once you’ve tuned into your own pleasure, you can think about your partner’s — visual or otherwise.
One of the most visually appealing scenes, of course, is a lover who is genuinely enjoying themselves. So let your body move in the ways that feel good for you. Let your partner watch you when you’re experiencing real pleasure.
If you feel a bit uncomfortable, practice on your own. Or lower the lights or wear lingerie if it puts you at ease. There’s nothing wrong with using tools (eg lighting and lingerie) to make yourself more comfortable. I just think you’ll both get more out of the experience if it’s about mutual pleasure as opposed to just doing what you think your partner likes (though you can derive real pleasure from that which is a win-win).
And of course think about your surroundings — colors, lighting, art or erotica (including porn) that enhances the visual experience for both of you.
What the Person Between the Sheets says?
I also wanted to ask my partner in crime and in the bedroom, Clyde his thoughts on visual stimulation in a relationship.
What types of visual stimulation do you enjoy?
Ahhhh…something is a tight form you could say. Maybe tight pants that show off a body. Could be a tad revealing; as in small or skimpy which hides everything but gives you a peek.
A message or a picture stating come home and see me.
How important is visual stimulation in a relationship to you?
Well I think it’s just as important as anything. You have foreplay that gets you into the mood but I think visually you have to have something visual be it sexy clothes or coming in and being under the blankets naked to start the excitement instead it being solely about the sex. It makes the sex life of a couple much better.
What are you really thinking about when you see a woman in lingerie?
That’s easy. I’m getting laid. Seriously though it means they’re happy, excited to show themselves off. It excites me.
What is your advice to anyone trying to be more visual in the bedroom?
Try to be open with everything or anything. Try it once. Don’t be afraid. Adding visual stimulation can make the time together that much better.