IMHNBO (in my humble non-binary opinion), the only word better than "androgynous" is "erogenous," which refers to a body part's sensitivity to sexual stimulation. If you love it when someone kisses your neck, or you like to touch your chest when you masturbate, you may already be familiar with your body's sexy spaces. But you may be wondering, what are erogenous zones? Well, my friend, I'm glad you asked
"An erogenous zone is part of the body that, when activated, inspires sexual desire or lustful feelings," Gigi Engle, certified sex coach, sexologist, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life tells Elite Daily. "Meaning, it feels really, really good."
According to Engle, knowing where your erogenous zones are can help you learn more about what turns you on. "It's important to explore your body to find your hotspots," Engle says. "It can broaden your understanding of pleasure and open your repertoire to many different kinds of touching, licking, teasing, etc."
Engle shares that while the list includes private parts, erogenous zones are certainly not limited to one's genitals. "Some common erogenous zones include the clitoris, vulva, penis, nipples, backs of the knees, inner thighs, belly button, neck, shoulders, lips, ears, and perineum," Engle says. "This is not a comprehensive list, though. Theoretically, anywhere on the body could be an erogenous zone for someone."
As Engle notes, exploring your personal erogenous zones can make you feel sensations you never realized existed. "Research has shown that igniting different erogenous zones can elicit different reactions in the body, opening you up to sexual pleasure in a myriad of ways — ways you may not have thought possible," Engle says.
If getting your toes licked sends vibrations throughout your body, your feet may be a sweet spot. Similarly, if you've always fantasized about someone licking your belly or you love the feeling of getting a back rub, igniting your personal erogenous zones may send your sex life over the edge. Alternatively, if you can't even get a pedicure without fidgeting because you're so ticklish (@ me), someone touching your feet may not be super hot.
"Erogenous zones vary from person to person," Engle says. "Something will work for someone that might not work for another. [This] makes exploration into someone's (or your own) pleasure so exciting."
According to Engle, stimulating one's erogenous zones releases "feel-good" chemicals (dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin) into their bloodstream. "Some erogenous zones are particularly nerve-rich, such as the nipples," Engle says. "Touching, vibrating, putting pressure on, or licking these nerve-abundant areas feels pleasurable, to put it simply, because it's a sensitive spot on the body."
Though your genitals may be extra receptive to sexual stimulation, Engle shares that nerve-rich body parts (like your nipples or neck) can be extremely sensitive to the touch. "When you stimulate certain areas of the body, it lights up the same areas of the brain, as if you were touching a person's clitoris or penis," she says. "So, your body and brain are literally talking to each other saying, 'This feels sexually pleasurable and is turning me on.' Even if you're not directly touching a person's genitals."
As everyone's zones are different, Engle emphasizes how important it is to learn what works best for you. Engle notes that it's not just OK to get aroused by whatever you find stimulates you — it's common.
"You may find that something 'unusual' feels amazing," Engle says. "Perhaps you really get turned on when someone rubs your feet or lower back or scratches your head. Erogenous zones are ever-changing. You might find one on your body that you haven't heard of before."
Though you and your partner(s) must be all on the same page about touching each other's zones (i.e., it's never OK to force someone to do anything they're uncomfortable with), Engle shares that you never need to feel embarrassed about liking what you like. "It's your body, and no one is allowed to shame you for liking a certain kind of touch," she says. "You're allowed to feel pleasure in any way that feels good to you. Whatever pleases you is good and right. If a person doesn't want to touch you in a certain place, that's up to them, but it doesn't make you weird or bad for liking it."
If you love having your belly tickled or incorporating nipple play is important to you, talking to your partner about your preferences can bring you both closer together. Of course, exploring your body can also be a one-player game. Trying new things as you masturbate or experimenting with toys (like vibrators or feathers) and different levels of stimulation while on a solo-mission can help you learn more about your zones.
"Don't be afraid to explore yourself — we learn what we like sexually through masturbation," Engle says. "Get to know your entire genital region. Try getting some massage oil. Test out touching different parts of the body. Try massaging your neck, rubbing and pinching your nipples, running your hands over your stomach. Make a note of the pressure, strokes, and movements that feel good to you. Only then can you relay those feelings to a partner."
Your body evolves over time, so your sweet spots can change, too. If you've never experimented with oils or lube, or you've always wanted to stimulate your chest, testing materials and rhythms can help you explore your body. Though you may already know what you're into, Engle shares that there's always room to learn.
Not to sound like a 2000s AutoZone car rental commercial, but when it comes to stirring up some sexy feelings, it really is all "in the zone." If you're looking to find some new sexy spots, try exploring your body alone and with your partner(s). From your head to your toes, erogenous zones take all shapes and sizes.