From the womb to tomb, human beings are sexual creators. We create life, we create ideas, we create dreams, and many more unlimited possibilities. Many areas of thought, sexuality and creativity are synonymous and essential for our ability to thrive and flourish. We need touch to thrive and crave pleasure for our sustainability of life. Due to societal restrictions and conditioning, many have lost touch with their erotic self. We tend to prioritize productivity over pleasure and have been conditioned to demonize aspects of ourselves that aren’t optimal to profit. It is important that we learn to change these scripts and reconnect to our pleasure to live a more balanced and thriving life.

Our senses are the doorway to our erotic self. Being mindful of the cues from our senses help us to be present and experience fully every moment. When it comes to finding our erotic self, it is important for us to connect to our six senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and psychic (connection).


Sight, for many, is the most provocative of all senses. Many people are erotically charged by what they see. The view of cleavage, yoga pants, or grey sweatpants can cause many to take a double take. One of the most important keys to exploring your erotic self through sight is checking your self-image and doing things that help you to feel your best in your own skin.

It is important for all of us to practice looking in the mirror, with and without clothes, and saying affirmations and words of kindness on a regular basis. Our bodies help us each day to make it to the next. Making sure we are showing our bodies love is important to enhancing our eroticism. Know what you find yourself the sexiest in. Some people like to be nude, some need a little more, and some feel sexy and powerful fully-clothed.

In addition to how we view ourselves, our environment can be a big factor in our turn-ons. Some people enjoy light, some like complete darkness. Some people need a totally clean environment and others are okay with some clutter. Pay attention the next time you feel aroused. What is visually in your environment? See if any patterns arise. You might be surprised by what consistently visually stimulates you.


When most people think about eroticism around sound, they think of music. Music is a great way to feel sexy, but there is a lot more about sound to explore. For one, what sounds don’t work for you? Hearing children, parents, pets, or people in the background can be a mood killer. For others, this can be a turn-on. It is also important to be aware of what sounds turn you on during sexual encounters. Do you like hearing moans, groans, whispers, slapping, etc.? Do you like someone talking “dirty” during sex? Sound can be an integral part of eroticism.


Everyone has those special foods that help them feel warm and fuzzy. Having something that connects you with your body before an intimate encounter can help you be present and active in the moment. For some, it can be spicy foods. For others, sweet fruits and the combination of sweet and bitterness in chocolate can help someone feel relaxed and excited. During sexual encounters, it might be helpful to use lubricants or creams on the body that help enhance the experience. Exercise caution when putting these items on the vulva, as this area is sensitive, but why not experiment on the inner thigh and other places? Have fun and know that the opportunities are endless.


Smell is one of our most primal senses. It is most closely connected to memory and emotions.  Scientists believe kissing was created in the early ages with partners sniffing each other and wanting to taste their partner’s essence. Even body odor aided in mating practices by detecting strength in the immune system and fertility. While exploring your erotic self, think about smells that create sensual feelings and memory in your body. For some, this may be herbal, smoky, and/or earthy. Others may like florals or citrusy notes. Certain perfumes and colognes can bring up pleasant erotic memories of the past. As an experiment, go to a fragrance counter and see how different scent profiles spark various feelings in your body and mind. Think about what scents may be distractions from keeping you present and which ones really connect you to the current experience. Try to replicate these.


Touch may seem the most naturally connected to our erotic senses. Many people think of sensual massages, heavy petting, kissing, and many other forms of touch when thinking of self and partnered play. Remember, our skin is our biggest sex organ. The tips of our nails and hair are the only areas that are unable to experience pleasure, so the options are endless. Think about how different fabrics, temperatures, pulsations, and pressures affect your skin. I always recommend having a toy chest of vibrators, feathers, lubricants, and other objects to help diversify and explore different sensations. Another great resource is and both sites come with great techniques for touching and exploring all your erotic spots.


This one may seem like an odd one on the list, but it is very important. Attunement is the ability to sense the feelings and rhythm of those around you and requires a good amount of self-awareness. What connects you to yourself and/or your partner in erotic spaces? Do you enjoy power, commands, kindness, dominance?  Are you more present in high-stress situations, or do you need to feel relaxed to feel connected? We have to look at what energies give us fire and passion and which smoother it. These can change over time and depend on the situation.

Now for homework, go have fun exploring! Try to combine each one of your senses in your erotic play. For example, if you feel turned on by sex on the beach, use your imagination exploring the senses to create “a beach” for solo or partnered lovemaking.  Maybe you can have a fan blowing, a fresh fragrance that reminds you of the beach, a great lubricant, a fun vibrator and/or massage technique, and ocean wave sounds with your beach babe (which can be yourself). Your erotic zone is meant to be fun and playful. Go out and explore, be creative and have fun!

Renée Burwell

Renée Burwell

LCSW, MPA, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist
Renée Burwell, LCSW, MPA, CST is a skilled psychotherapist and educator with specializations in sex therapy and trauma. Her practice, Pandora's Awakening, offers services and educational outreach that help destigmatize mental and sexual health services. She is a skilled facilitator offering trainings and workshops to healthcare and social services professionals on mental health, sexual health, and reproductive justice. In addition to her work at Pandora's Awakening, she is also the executive director of the Tennessee Alliance of Sexual Health, AASECT’s Mid-Continent Representative, an active member of the Association of Black Sexologist, and is a writer and educator for various mediums including Bedroom Kandi and CNN.

She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College, a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, a Post Graduate Certificate in Sex Therapy and Education from the University of Michigan, and is AASECT certified as a sex therapist.