Sensation play

From PeterMastersWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Sensation play is a form of BDSM play where the focus is on the manipulation of the sensory experience of the bottom or submissive by the top or dominant.

We can divide sensation play into two types:

  1. Activities which add or modify sensations
  2. Activities which diminish or remove sensations (sometimes known as sensory deprivation)

For convenience we will explore these in order of smell, taste, hearing, touch, and sight.

It's useful to note that four out of the five senses are focused around the head (smell, taste, hearing and sight). This means that a lot of effective sensation play can be done without going below the neck.

Symbolically sensation play can be very powerful because it compels the submissive or bottom to surrender to exactly and only the experiences which their partner either allows or denies them. Sensation play is often combined with some form of bondage or restraint to prevent the submissive from doing anything (such as removing a blindfold) which might allow them to control their experience themselves.

Adding or modifying sensations

Sense of smell

  • Overwhelming the sense of smell with something like ammonia
  • Use of perfumes and aromas
  • Other scents, such as food odours, sweat, oil, ozone (caused by electric motors or sparks), etc.

Sense of taste

  • Applying something to the tongue of a restrained bottom
  • Something sweet
  • Something sour
  • Semen
  • Unpleasant tastes, such as something bitter or sour (lemon juice)

Note that play involving giving food or drink to someone who is restrained (chains, rope, or cage), or denying food or drink to someone who is restrained is not sensation play.

Sense of hearing

  • Loud music
  • Mood music
  • Regular beats or taps (e.g., metronome)
  • Threatening or frightening sounds, such as loud crashes, or the sound of one object striking another

Sense of touch

A woman bound to a table and being tickled

A Wartenberg wheel being applied to a nipple

Under touch, we can look at two different ways that the bottom experiences touch: what touches them, and what they themselves touch (e.g., with their hands or fingers).

  • Controlling touch applied to the bottom
    • Wartenberg wheel
    • The use of feathers
    • Tickling (see also torture)
    • Soft cloth (e.g., silk)
    • Course material (e.g., sandpaper, hessian, canvas) (see abrasion)
    • The back of a knife blade
    • Use of temperature---touching the submissive with something hot or something cold (see also temperature play or both. See also wax play.
    • Use of electric current or sparks (see electro play)
    • Blowing hot or cold air on the submissive or bottom. Using an electric fan or hair-dryer
  • Controlling what the bottom is able to feel
    • Increasing the sensitivity of the skin. This can be a consequence of attention applied as part of other play. For example, nipple can become particularly sensitive after nipple torture or pinching

Sense of sight

  • Mood lighting, adding bright or coloured lights
  • Flashing lights
  • Making the bottom wear distorting glasses

Sensory deprivation

Sense of smell

  • Nose plugs
  • Cotton wool
  • Hood
  • Gas mask or similar

Sense of taste

  • Feeding the person with tasteless food
  • Giving the person only water to drink
  • Numbing agents (such as local anaesthetic), or application of ice to the tongue

Sense of hearing

  • Ear plugs
  • Hood
  • Ear muffs

Sense of touch

A woman wearing bondage mittens which prevent her using her hands and fingers

  • Thick gloves or mittens
  • Numbing agents (such as local anaesthetic), or application of ice to the skin
  • Keeping the room at body temperature, reducing air movement

Sense of sight

  • Using a blindfold
  • Using a hood
  • Turning the lights off or turning the lights down
  • Spectacles with tinted or out-of-focus lenses


Sensation play rarely involves just one of the above.

In sensory deprivation scenes, the top may try to remove or minimise all five senses at the same time.

In other sensation play, the top may have an array of things available to create a veritable orchestra of sensation for the bottom. They may combine hot and cold (e.g., candles and ice), smooth and rough (e.g., silk cloth and sandpaper), and so on.

Flogging is frequently done in such a way to be sensation play. Rather than hitting hard with the flogger, the dominant may use the tails of the flogger to stroke the skin of the submissive, or may hit so softly that the tails of the flogger merely fall on the skin of the submissive and caress it.