Does the term “erogenous zones” remind you of that infamous scene in Friends, when Monica gave Chandler the ultimate sex ed lesson? Since it was network TV in the ‘90s, the whole thing was innuendo—we never got names or even a visual. Luckily, we’re here to add some specifics to that vague rundown of sexual pleasure.
An erogenous zone is “any area of the body that has a heightened sensitivity to physical touch,” according to Sandra Carpenter, the moderator of the Dame Labs Facebook group and a Gender Studies doctoral candidate at Indiana University. “Because of their sensitivities, erogenous zones often arouse sexually and are used in sexual acts.”
She also noted that erogenous zones “differ vastly from person to person,” and while certain areas of the body are undoubtedly more sensitive by design, “the body is as social as it is biological.” That means “cultural practices and social environments do play a role in determining which erogenous zones are preferred for each individual.” Past sexual experiences, as well as physical and emotional trauma, can also affect which and how many zones each person enjoys.
Any part of the body can be an erogenous zone, technically; these are just some of the most common ones. The best way to find your favorites is to experiment! Tune in to the touches that make you tingle. Do a scan of your body or your partner’s body and see how you respond to each touch while varying your pressure and approach. During your next sexual experience, bring awareness to what areas on your own body really do it for you, and let that guide you into your most pleasurable future.
Rachel Malkin is Executive Assistant to the CEO of Dame Products, a freelance makeup artist, and a yoga teacher.