When we think about places men get turned on, our brain immediately goes to the penis. And with the entire penis ― glans, shaft, and all ― full of nerve endings that make even the slightest touch feel, well, euphoric, it’s easy to think that it might be the only place where people with penises can feel enough pleasure to be truly turned on. But that isn’t the case. Just as it is with our bodies, there are more than a few places that can be major turn-ons for guys.
"Erogenous zones vary from person to person, so there are no sure-fire hot spots," Jess O’Reilly, PhD., host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast, tells Bustle. "The best way to find out what your partner likes is to ask them — and experiment with different touch techniques, as they may have undiscovered pathways to pleasure."
Not all people with penises are men (just like not all people with breasts and clitorises are women), but if your partner has a penis or any of these erogenous zones, it's helpful to learn about them as you learn what turns each other on. So what are these spots that you need to start paying attention to, if you aren't already? In addition to the penis and the lips, here are nine others.
1. The Nipples
While we may think that only people with breasts can enjoy nipple play, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
"Folks of all genders can enjoy nipple play and some can reach orgasm from nipple play alone," Dr. Jess says. "Research suggests that nipple stimulation can result in the release of oxytocin (associated with bonding, relaxation, and pleasure) and some theorize that the genital sensory cortex can be activated via the nipples."
The genital sensory cortex is the part of the brain that basically lights up and responds to stimulation of the genitals — and, as Dr. Jess points out, some scientists think that nipple stimulation can also kick this the genital sensory cortex into gear. It just depends on the sensitivity of the nipples being stimulated, as not everyone is aroused by having their nipples touched. For some with nipples that are too sensitive, it can feel almost torturous — and not in a fun, BDSM sort of way.
So while nipples are on the list, if your partner doesn’t get anything out of it or asks you to stop, don’t take it personally.
2. The Sides Of The Chest
When it comes to spots that might turn your partner on, it’s important to think outside the box. In other words, what places on their body get little-to-no love and attention? Usually the places that are tricky to get to or that simply aren’t even on our radar, that's what.
"The sensitive skin just below the underarms can respond to light touch, pressure, and temperature," Dr. Jess says. "So experiment with your hands, fingertips, breath, and tongue."
If you want to take it a step further and draw your attention upward a wee bit, the underarms themselves are also a great spot to get your partner all hot and bothered.
"Armpits can be super sexy places to tease your lover," intimacy expert Miyoko Rifkin tells Bustle. "Not only can you tickle them with your nose, lips or tongue, but you’re also immersed in the essence of your lover. Smelling the natural scent of your partner creates maps of pleasure in your brain. Engaging in play while you’re smelling them creates neural pathways of pleasure, which becomes an automatic response of pleasure and happiness when you merely catch a whiff of them."
It might seem a little strange at first to go diving into your partner’s armpit but, even if you’re not totally cognizant of it, you thoroughly enjoy the way they smell so this spot shouldn't be totally surprising.
3. The Inner Thigh
Due to its close location to the penis and scrotum, it only makes sense that the inner thigh would be a major turn on spot.
"The insides of the thighs are a common erotic zone," Rifkin says. "Use your fingers or tongue to dance between the top of the inside of the thigh all the way down to the feet and see if your lover finds even more delight somewhere further down the leg."
While the inner thigh is great, because sensations and sensitivities are not one-size-fits all, it might be worth examining how your partner will respond to you touching other parts of their leg too. For example, behind the knee, a spot that definitely doesn’t get much one-on-one time, might be something that can really get your partner going. Or it won’t. You can’t know for sure until you give it a try.
4. The Hair On Their Stomach
Whether you call it a “happy trail,” “treasure trail,” or nothing at all, this line of hair is truly a path to, well, happiness for some people.
"Just below the belly button, the path (usually with hair) leading down to the pubic mound can heighten sensation in the area, awaken nerve endings, and draw circulation to the genitals," Dr. Jess says. It’s that circulation that, like the engorgement of blood in the genitals when people are aroused, that can take things up several notches.
Also, and similarly to the sides of the chest, we sometimes over look this part on our partner. Even if we use that trail to get down to our partner’s genitals, we might now always linger as long as we logistically could. And not just because you’re getting close to the goods, but because it’s a great spot for really indulging in teasing.
5. The Ears
While you may think that your dirty talk or breathy whispers might be the reason your partner gets turned on every time you graze their ears with your lips, the real deal is what’s going on in the ear, as far as nerves are concerned. Loaded up with sensory receptors, ears are a huge turn-on spot. In fact, ears are so sensitive that they're just behind the scrotum on the list of sensitive places. Because of this, it’s worth exploring on your partner — at least to see if stimulating the ears is something they’ll enjoy.
6. The Perineum
"This is the space between the scrotum and the anus. It is sometimes referred to as the taint, gooch, or chose," Dr. Jess says.
It is a major spot for turning your partner on, not just because of its location ― not quite on the balls, not quite in the ass ― but also because there is a mass of nerves in that area. Most notably, there's the perineal nerve.
"The inner bulb of the penis can be accessed through the perineum — press firmly with several fingers or a toy right behind the balls," Dr. Jess says. "Pulse or slide with pressure or use a vibrating toy." The perineum is also the sweet spot if you want to make them come faster.
7. The Scalp
Perhaps not the most obvious place that can turn someone on, but the scalp really does feel good when touched by someone else. Just think about the relaxing effect that comes with having your hair washed at the hairdresser. While stimulating your partner’s head mid-intercourse might seem a little strange for you, it can be included in foreplay or even during an erotic massage that may, or may not, be part of foreplay. It’s really your call.
But, as with some of these body parts on this list, not everyone likes to be touched all over their head, so be aware of that. Some people, myself included, squirm at even the thought of having their head touched, so that’s something to consider. But for those who love it — whoa nelly — it’s great.
8. The Pucker
No, no, no. Not that pucker, the other pucker; the one below the belt — the outer part of his anus. "The density of nerve endings coupled with its taboo associations makes it responsive both to light touch and heavy pressure," Dr. Jess says.
As much as some people like to steer clear of things that are taboo, anything that’s off limits makes it extra enticing; it’s like getting away with something you’re not supposed to be doing. Combine that with all the nerves in the anus and it can be an extraordinary experience. It’s here that toys can definitely come into play if you and your partner don’t want to get your fingers involved. Or, if you want to really delve into anal play, one or two fingers, just along the outside rim, as Dr. Jess suggests, can feel really good. You can also engage in analingus (also known as rimming), which is stimulating the anus with your tongue. Because there is still such a taboo factor attached to most things anal-related, for this one, it’s all about experimenting with what feels both good and comfortable for you both.
As Dr. Jess points out, when it comes to spots that thrill people they really do differ a bit. But this list gives you a great place to start, as well as opening up a conversation about what works for people and what doesn't.
This post was originally published on November 24, 2015. It was updated on June 12, 2019.
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