Whenever it rains, I like to open my bedroom window and listen to the water droplets rhythmically pound the pavement outside. Sometimes it’s soft, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s accompanied by a ravenous thundering – with cold winds blowing so rapidly that the trees whistle as it tears through their branches. I love the way the city smells when it’s wet: fresh, inviting and beckoning. For me, lying on my queen-size bed (while wearing a sheer, black lingerie set made of shimmering, Italian stretch lace) and listening to the rain is a sensual act. It slows the entire, outside world down, and in-between my measured breathing, I am able to tap back into myself – and sometimes, into the erotic.
Sensuality and Sexuality: The Contrast
Whether describing an actual physical act, or a broader societal construct, many people often synonymize “sensuality” with “sexuality,” but in truth, the two cannot always be used interchangeably. In the same way that “intimacy” does not always include “sex,” sensuality as a conscious action or personal embodiment is intrinsic. One can have sex that is not sensual; and one can also be sensuous in the absence of a partner; without penetration, without stimulation and without an orgasm.
Where Creativity and Sensuality Intersect: The Build Up
To open one’s self to exploring sensual indulgences as a self-practice (sight, smell, sound, taste and touch) invites in a delight (and an awareness) of one’s own body that can be liberating. Discovering what titillates your senses also allows for cognizance, which illuminates areas of your life such as how you connect with others (especially lovers), and makes space for heightened pleasure in the nuances of the everyday. And that intersection is the perfect space to insert your creativity; and let the two play with each other – both supporting and contributing to an anticipatory build-up and release.
If creativity and sensuality were lovers, then their favorite position would be 69. The two work best when simultaneously feeding each other, and the result is often beautifully sloppy; spilling over into other spaces and bringing ecstatic enlightenment. Much like our tuLips vibrator, which is designed to stimulate the clitoris by recreating the act of a kiss, the two provide complimentary kindling to build a blazing internal fire.
There Are Countless Creative Daily Practices that Can Rouse Your Sensuality, but I’ll Share Three of My Favorites Below:
Write to Symbolically Climax.
As a poet, artist and writer, I’ve experienced some of my most clandestine sensual moments while creating (and summoning words from the ether). Whether it was a song, a poem, or simply free-writing in my journal, translating my thoughts into language, melodies and even scribbles, unlocks a sweetness that reminds me life is meant to be consumed.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., a social psychologist and author, wrote about the commonalities between creative expression and the erotic for Psychology Today.
In it, Perry quoted an anonymous female poet as stating: “It's erotically engaging to have connected with the unconscious in a way that's gratifying and in a way that you really feel you've achieved something, even if nothing's going to be saved for the day. And I tend to get happy, even to the point of [flirtatious,] feeling that there's a point to being alive.”
The point of writing to explore your sensuality isn’t to win awards, prizes or acclaim. You own the words, and their related emotions, memories and associations, regardless of whether you’re a terrible, mediocre or fantastic writer – and regardless if you never share them with anyone else. You can make writing a daily or a weekly practice; and use a journal or a notes program on your phone. The method of collection isn’t important; the “climax,” for you, lies simply in the creation.
Use Music and Dance to Create an Experience “Outside of Yourself”
Agnes de Mille, dancer, choreographer and American Theater Hall of Famer, once said, “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful [and] more powerful.”
There is something deeply tantalizing about hearing a song – and surrendering to it. And the lyrics needn’t be overtly sexual to arouse a desire to connect deeper with yourself (or another) through their relay. Languid, breathy vocals accompanied by soft harmonies can whisk you to another place (like a lover for a romantic, weekend getaway) – and that recall can produce movements which illustrate how your body interprets that evoked feeling.
For instance, as I wrote this article, I listened to Alina Baraz’s song, “Drift,” over and over and over again. I wanted to be able to capture the dripping sensuality that she induces as she croons, “You're like a wave washing over me, pulling me underneath, sinking slowly.”
Try making a sensual playlist, and then listening to it during a hot shower or bubble bath. Or, listen to it while slowly dancing in front of a mirror; wearing lingerie that accentuates your favorite parts of your body (or nothing at all).
You can also channel your breathing using the 4-7-8 technique, and then study how certain movements (such as arching your back or pointing your toes) make you feel. To do this, you simply breathe in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds as you make a whooshing sound. My personal variation of 4-7-8 incorporates an “ahhh,” a moan or a sigh instead of a “whoosh.” To flow deeper into the exercise, as you exhale, imagine that a lover has touched or kissed you on one of your erogenous zones and that you’re making a sound of pleasure to let them know how delighted you are.
As time goes on, you’ll discover that the more you explore music and dance as a form of creative expression, the deeper you’ll enjoy solo-play, partner-play and simply being a sensual being residing in a magnificent, human vessel.
Reward Your Taste Buds
Cooking may not be an obvious practice for channeling creativity and sensuality, but it’s very nature (taking various foods with contrasting textures, tastes and colors – and combining them to make something entirely new), can be both adventurous and erotic.
Actress Jacqueline Obradors shares this sentiment. “I find cooking very sensual,” she said. “I love getting in there with my hands instead of utensils. With all of the textures and everything, it's very erotic. Also the time it takes to prepare, and the anticipation and the buildup, you know. Then finally, you get to eat.”
The buildup is even greater when you’re cooking for a partner, and using the dynamic of being the one who is “serving” to create tension and anticipation completely unrelated to any sexual act. However, cooking for yourself can also be an exploration of taste, smell and sound.
The taste of a ripe strawberry as you bite into it, the smell of a sautéed mixture simmering atop the stove, or the sound of cold water trickling down into a glass as you pour... You can utilize your awareness of the smallest details to create a sensory experience that leads to further understanding of what you enjoy and relish in.
Try going off-script and creating a dish without a recipe; using some of your favorite flavors and foods. Adorn the table with a candle and flowers, as if you were treating yourself to a date at a fancy restaurant. Take your time with every bite, using silverware or even just your fingers. Reward yourself with your creation, and breathe deeply with every single bite. Bon appétit.
Brittany Bella Graham is a Writer, Creative Director, Strategist and lingerie aficionado. Her 1:1 mentorship program for entrepreneurs, The Chrysalis, incorporates mindfulness and helps individuals launch sustainable businesses in alignment with their deepest, artistic and personal truths. Find out more at www.MissBellaGraham.com or follow on Instagram at @MsBellaGraham.