Sensual, not sexual
July 10, 2014 2:30 PM   Subscribe

In a new friendship/relationship. Help us explore our sensual sides without sex! Possibly mild NSFW details inside.

About five months ago we (me: mid-30s M, she: mid-40s F, both single) met at a cuddle party. A few weeks later I contacted her and we began seeing each other regularly, usually once a week. Mostly we cuddle, talk, and cook food. We've done some hiking and plan to do more, though we're both a bit out of shape, and explore the area that we both grew up in but we away from for some time.

A few weeks ago we came to the realization that our relationship is sensual but not sexual. We've discussed sex and, while it might be on the table in the future, we've both agreed not to do that right now and instead explore the sensual side of our relationship.

We enjoy cuddling and cooking together. We've done some yoga (both clothed and topless), massage (ditto), dance, and music. We both enjoy the outdoors, but the summer heat and humidity have put a damper on that.

What are some other sensual activities we could engage in? I did see this post, but while we are interested in naked, especially topless, activities, we would also appreciate sensual things we can do with our clothes on.
posted by Beaker's stripey socks to Human Relations (24 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

Lightly trace fingertips over various surfaces. The back of the hand, for example.
posted by mochapickle at 2:44 PM on July 10, 2014

A swimming pool on a hot summer's night is heaven. Have your partner float on her back, cradling her in your outstretched arms, and slooooowly spin in a circle while she star-gazes. (Substitute with lake or protected cove if you are lucky enough to be near a clean, swimmable one.)

More fun than should be legal in a swimsuit!
posted by nacho fries at 2:46 PM on July 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Swimming or hot-tubbing. Saunas. Twister ;)
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:46 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Blindfold one another (one at a time) and feed each other ice cream.
posted by macinchik at 2:51 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mrs. Straw and I met in a hot tub in Tiburon, under circumstances that were exactly as Marin as you'd imagine. So on that first night we had a discussion about monogamy, other partners, and agreed that before we had intimacies outside of each other, we'd talk about it.

For over a decade we didn't have that discussion, and then we started square dancing. We've danced with hundreds of people, and in that list there are two people of whom I've had to say "dancing with X makes me feel like I need to have that conversation with you".

Not that there's any particular physical closeness, it's more the synchronicity as we twirl, the communication of gentle taps and touches, the give and take of matched fingertips... With those two partners the dance feels incredibly intimate.

All of which is a long way of saying: have you tried dancing? Not "get out on the floor and thrash" (thought that has its place), but one of the more formalized disciplines? The level of subtlety and tease available there can be pretty intense...
posted by straw at 2:52 PM on July 10, 2014 [13 favorites]

Role-play (including things as simple as pretending to be strangers, reunited old flames, whatever scenario seems new and exciting) and fantasy/imagination exercises.

Oh also! Read to each other.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:56 PM on July 10, 2014

Watch that old movie Body Heat. It will give you ideas about ice cubes in really hot weather.
posted by janey47 at 2:57 PM on July 10, 2014

Dig a big hole with your hands and sit in it! Breathe in the scent of freshly- turned earth, and run your fingers through it. If you do this at the beach, you might also see seagulls! If you do it in the woods, you might see some cool bugs!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:05 PM on July 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Dress or undress each other.
Groom each other.
Move large awkward items together, such as sheets of plywood or dressers.
Knead bread together.
Finger paint
Body paint
Try to give each other head tingles
Play games like "Round and round the garden"
Spell sign into each others hands, try and figure out what letters with your eyes closed
Sleep together
Give piggy back rides or if strength doesn't allow that, help each other climb onto things by giving boosts.
Get an anatomy book and explore each other's bodies. For example when doing each other's legs it can be fascinating how mobile the kneecap on a fully relaxed extended leg can be, and the front of the shin bones is not smooth, it's full of notches which are scars. Feel those things.
Go somewhere with vibrations - on a ferry, or above heavy machinery.
posted by Jane the Brown at 3:11 PM on July 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Showering with the lights off and maybe some music playing is one of my favorite things in the world.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:24 PM on July 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

There is some martial arts practice that's called something like "touching hands" (except that's not right :-s).. it's very hot if you happen to be attracted to someone! Sorry to any martial arts 'purists' out there ;)
posted by tanktop at 3:37 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wash each others hair.
Shave each other. You can shave her legs if she shaves, she could shave your face. Intimate as heck and a lovely adrenaline rush as there is a touch of risk.
Try doing Reki on each other. Just hovering your hand over the others skin without touching them. Just as if you are lightly stroking their aura.
Go swimming together. Take turns cradling each other while they float, or just float next to each other barely touching.
posted by wwax at 3:57 PM on July 10, 2014

I think tanktop is referring to sticky hands, and it is indeed a lot of fun.

I find any kind of roughousing, in good fun, to be very sensual. Sparring at no power and lower speeds, sticky hands, pillow fights, arm wrestling, it's all fun and imparts a lot of awareness of one's partner, in much the same way that dancing does. Sometimes I steal a friend's article of clothing and they have physically trick or wrestle it away from me to get their shirt back.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:01 PM on July 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Head rubs? Especially the back of the head, where the neck joins the skull.

Fingertips / paintbrushes lightly on lips? (this does not last long)

Writing on each other's (SFW) bits and taking photos? Doesn't have to be as intense as this, which inspired this thought.

Bachata / Kizomba / Zouk / Int'l Rumba / American Bolero / Blues / Fusion / West Coast Swing, if he's already a social dancer?

(If you are already a dancer and he's not a quick study, I don't recommend these, and instead, refer you to straw's suggestion of square dancing or contra dancing, where you are both led by a ...caller)

Contact improv, acroyoga?
posted by batter_my_heart at 5:58 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is some martial arts practice that's called something like "touching hands" (except that's not right :-s)..

Tai chi push hands.
posted by bfranklin at 6:18 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Nacho fries and straw, those are absolutely beautiful descriptions!

Thank you all for the ideas - please keep them coming!
posted by Beaker's stripey socks at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2014

Tie each other up! Then try to escape.

It is an incredibly sensual experience that does not have to lead to his boy parts in your girl parts.
posted by sandra_s at 7:16 PM on July 10, 2014

or vice versa ( got the "me" and "she" of your question confused. but the advice still stands :)
posted by sandra_s at 7:40 PM on July 10, 2014

If either of you have long hair, learn to braid it in interesting ways.
posted by rivenwanderer at 10:06 PM on July 10, 2014

Slap each other. Do it in front of a camera, with an audience.
posted by kadonoishi at 4:13 AM on July 11, 2014

Bare skin on a cool night near a fire. The different temperatures on opposite sides of your body feel amazing.
posted by metasarah at 4:34 AM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

in a sunny spot in an old farmhouse, on new year's day, we pulled books off of shelves til we found some erotica. we read it out loud to each other.
posted by iahtl at 9:34 AM on July 11, 2014

Indoors on a sweltering day or night:

Set up an oscillating fan so it blows across you two as you are sprawled on a blanket. Periodically spritz each other with a mist of water. Let the wind of the fan raise goosebumps. Play a recording of someone reading a book in a whisper to get that tingly scalp feeling (autonomous sensory meridian response). The latter is especially nice in the dark. If you are able to completely black out a room -- cover the windows, put electrical tape over any blinky lights on electronics -- all the better.
posted by nacho fries at 10:03 AM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

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