Getting to know your Turn Ons Using… | Counseling | Therapy

Getting to know your Turn Ons Using the Five Senses

Alex Robboy , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director

Getting to know your Turn Ons Using the Five Senses image

Are you feeling less turned on recently, but have no idea why? Are you struggling to tap into your sexual desire to get in the mood? Sometimes people get into sexual patterns that are more so just going through the motions than figuring out what they really like. Sexual desire can change over time, vary among partners, and have a great deal of variations among individuals. Often these changes are gradual and hard to detect until you realize that your sexual desire is lower than it used to be and you struggle to get into the mood. You can work on understanding the gradual changes in your sexual desire and arousal, to get more out of sex. The following exercise will help you identify your natural turn ons by involving the five senses to help you have better sex.

Start by writing a list of the five senses and then take yourself through each different sense and what makes you feel in the mood for sex. The five senses are taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound. You may find yourself having an easier time recalling some senses over others when it comes to sex. Paying more attention to the responses your body has to all of the different senses increases your ability to experience pleasure. The following is to help get started brainstorming what your sensation preferences are and questions to think about new and exciting ways to use your senses to be sexual. Everyone is unique and there are even more responses that you can identify. What's most important is to not censor yourself and truly get yourself into your own turn ons!


The sense of sight can be a very exciting thing! Think about the different things you look at that get you thinking about sex. The way the room looks like that you are sexual in. What do you notice is different about sex when the lights are on or off? Do you add candles?

Picture what colors have sexual meaning for you. Have you ever watched a sex scene in a movie or seen models from a magazine that get you instantly turned on?

Think about your own body. What does it look like naked? What do you love to look at? Describe your favorite body part and the ways it makes you feel sexy. Do you have favorite lingerie?What do you notice when you look at your genitals in the mirror?

Now think about your partner's body. What is your favorite part of their body? Do you prefer muscles or a softer build? Curves? What part of your lover shows their level of arousal to you? Do you keep focused eye contact on your lover? Describe how different it is to close your eyes to a stimulating fantasy versus truly noticing everything about yourself or partner's body during sex.


Think about different ways that food and your taste preferences can put you in the mood. Is going out to eat an activity that usually leads to sex? Are there certain foods you eat that give you pleasure similar to sexual activity? How do you respond to sweet or savory flavors? Food that turns you on can be incorporated before, during, and after to sex to enhance your overall pleasure sensations.

Do you often get in on first thing in the morning when you taste your partner's natural breath or does freshly brushed teeth to turn you on? Or is sex often had after a night out partying? Does the scent of alcohol on the breath turn you on?

Describe what your partner's sweat tastes like. How does cum taste? Partner’s vulva when it’s wet? Saliva? How does your mouth feel after heavy breathing or panting during the act? Do you still taste your partner after you are finished?


What you think about when you observe the current smells as you complete this exercise? You may not have ever thought about what smells turn you on and what you prefer. Do any perfumes or colognes get you thinking about sex? Smells often remind us of emotional memories more easily than the other senses.

Think about what sex smells like. People have pheromones that biologically attract them to others that most people have trouble identifying. You can increase your experience of smell and your sexuality by focusing on you and your lover's scent. What body odors are pleasant to you? Do you prefer freshly showered or naturally sweaty after the gym? What is your partner's natural scent? Afterwards, do you still smell your partner on your sheets? Your skin? Describe what it smells like.


Noise can help you really get into your body and experience sex in a new way. Think about all of the sounds that can go along with sex.

Are there certain songs that get you thinking about sex? What is it about music that gets you in the mood? The tones? Lyrics? Are you drawn to a certain genre of music?

What does kissing sound like? Think about how different sexual acts sound. How does a slow penetration sound differently from rougher humping?

Telling your partner what you enjoy and asking about their pleasure can enrich the experience. Do you enjoy dirty talk? Deep breathing and moaning can help facilitate orgasm. How loud do you let yourself moan? Does it sound more like a gasp? A grunt?

What changes about a sexual experience when you let yourself be louder? When you hear your partner's noises? What do you like to hear your partner say? What tone of voice turns you on? What are you saying to yourself that keeps you goin? What noises come out when you climax and truly let go?


Describe what body parts tingle when you’re feeling aroused. Where do you touch yourself to get turned on? What do your nipples feel like? When you feel your or partner's erection? Getting wet? Do you like how your partner’s breath feels on your body? Is it warm? Wet?

Think about the clothes or fabrics you wear to get in the mood? Silky? Cotton? Cashmere? How do your bed sheets or the surface of the floor feel?

Imagine all of the different ways to touch your partner. What muscles do you enjoy touching on your partner?Do you like the feeling of running your hands over body or facial hair? Smooth and shaved? What does skin to skin contact feel like away from standard erogenous zones? People experience skin hunger for various touches that can add to your experience of pleasure.

Describe the impact of touching different parts of your body? How does it feel to caress your inner thigh? What impact do you notice when you stroke your inner thigh harder? When getting a massage do you prefer hard or soft touch? Do you add vibration? At what pressure level? Location on your body or pattern of pulsing?

While looking over your list, make sure you suspend all self- judgment. Being kind towards yourself helps create the space to explore sensations that you have not identified before. Along with identifying what turns you on, you will discover certain turn offs that may sneak up on you and interrupt the mood based off of a genuine aversion to a certain sensation which is also important information to gain from this exercise. If you still struggle to get in touch with your sexual preferences or worry that you might have a more significant sexual issues, the sex therapists at the Center for Growth are available to help.

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