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These are actual activities, events or objects that sexually arouse people.  As with the example of the guy who found women in hair rollers erotic, anything goes.  What turns on one person will be a distinct turn-off to another.  By the way, the main turn-offs that I've heard from listeners to my show are — bad smells, bad taste, 'fanny farts', lack of personal hygiene, and lovers who are too aggressive or too passive.  One guy said his wife just lies there when he's making love to her, 'like a stale sardine sandwich with its sides curling up'!  One listener suggested that being called the wrong name in bed is a major turn-off!

Turn-ons include sexy music, lingerie, perfume, the right kind of body odour, pleasant surroundings, 'dirty' talk, massage, touching, kissing and all forms of foreplay, smiles, tickling, sensual exchange of feelings, particular body parts in addition to genitalia, such as ears, armpits, toes/feet, buttocks, body hair, dimples, eating certain foods, the way a partner moves, your own and your lover's arousal and orgasm, seeing your partner naked, sex with the light on, the use of mirrors, teasing/stripping, sex aids, erotic books, pictures and films.

The list of possibilities is endless and the ones I've mentioned are just the common ones that almost all of us employ from time to time.  There are many far more exotic turn-ons that are not for everyone, either because they're painful, embarrassing or require equipment.  Sometimes, one partner is willing to be more adventurous than the other.  This can cause problems in the relationship.

One caller told me that he pestered his girlfriend for months to participate in a threesome with another woman.  She finally agreed and they all enjoyed the experience.  The whole thing subsequently backfired on him when she then wanted to try it with another guy!

Various deviant behaviours, such as bondage and discipline and sadomasochism have their devotees, not only in private homes but in clubs and groups and brothels all over the world.  They cater for a very specific turn-on preference, which is basically pain.

Threesomes, group sex and wife-swapping are exciting fantasies for many people.  Some couples actually seek out these activities but for others, they remain in the realms of imagination.

Danger, too, is very exciting for a lot of people.  One woman described to me having sex with her boyfriend while driving into the city, doing 90 kilometres an hour on a Harley Davidson!  Most of us would think that was suicidal.  I hate to think what would happen at the point of orgasm if the guy lost his concentration!

The association of sexual turn-on with danger and pain often stems from early links to punishment and guilt.  Boys in particular are often caught masturbating by their mothers and chastised, thus causing them to play with themselves in a sneaky way.  Please note, parents, that they're not going to stop, no matter what you say or do, because their body demands are too great — they'll just start doing it furtively.  At least half of the excitement becomes the danger of being caught.  This continues right through puberty and into the first sexual encounters, which are also usually fraught with risk.

One of my clients years ago was a 'peeping Tom'.  He would sneak around the bushes in front of apartments and watch women getting undressed.  The main buzz was the danger of getting caught.  When he finally was, he became less interested in doing it.  Through counselling, he discovered that his preoccupation stemmed back to reading pornographic magazines as a boy in the back alley of his home.  He was terribly excited by them, but very frightened of being found reading them.  So, danger and sexual arousal became inextricably linked in his mind.  The only way to stop a deviant behaviour (if this is desirable) is to find out the root cause of it and then release the hold it has over you.

The same applies to other deviant behaviours such as 'flashing', making obscene phone calls, sexual addiction and tranvestism.

Feeling 'dirty' or guilty is very arousing for a lot of men who like to play fantasy games of being spanked by a parent or a teacher/principal.  This is often a direct result of actual experiences of this nature.  Many men and women who enjoy pain and punishment fantasies will tell of being beaten, whipped or spanked as children.  Perhaps some sexual arousal was experienced as a result of the punishment, thus sustaining the connection between the two.  In more sinister cases, the punishing parent became sexually aroused and either followed through with incestuous activity, or masturbated in front of the child.  The child feels guilty in these instances and sometimes spends a lifetime longing for and seeking chastisement.

The very fact of an activity carrying a social taboo will arouse some people.  One couple told me they practised fellatio in front of 200 or so onlookers on a Friday night in a busy part of town.  We call this exhibitionism, but to them, it was just something of a no-no that they felt like doing and found very exciting.  I asked what the crowd reaction was and they said they got cheered on!  Most of us wouldn't be game to perform in front of strangers like that, but in your mind you can go anywhere, be anything and make love to anyone.  That's the beauty of fantasy and it does no harm whatsoever.

Some of the above examples reflect the darker face of sexual arousal but for most of us, it is a harmless prelude to love-making or masturbation.

Here are some more common examples.  Some people find partners of another race or colour an exciting turn-on.  A very common sexual turn-on object for a white woman is an outsize black penis, for instance, and many European men find Asian women particularly stimulating.  To some, the ultimate turn-on is watching other people making it, sometimes two partners of the same sex.  Having sex in an aeroplane has even been given a nickname — if you've done it, you've joined the 'mile-high club'.

One listener told me that she was in love with her computer!  You mean I'm risking Cupid's dart as I sit here writing this?  I guess anything can provide sexual stimulus if viewed in that light.

The anal area is a very stimulating region; thus the excitement for some people in receiving enemas, which have a distinctly erotic reputation despite (or because of?) the general association of discomfort.

Food is a universal symbol of sexual innuendo, presumably because of its intake through one of our most erogenous zones — the mouth.  Food shapes have a lot to do with it too, and bananas, cucumbers, zucchinis, carrots, just to name a few, are commonly used as substitute penises.  But it's not only for their tastes and shapes that various foods are employed in the bedroom.  Such substances as honey, lemon butter, cream, ice-cream, etc. are used for smearing over the body and licking off or rubbing in.  Very hot or very cold foods, such as hot tea or ice-cubes, placed in the mouth prior to oral sex, are said to enhance the sensations greatly.  A certain brand of mints is highly recommended!

One of the most bizarre uses for food in sexual activity came to my knowledge via a listener who rang up to tell me that he'd read an advertisement in a sex magazine from a couple wanting to meet other couples for fun times, putting puddings where puddings should not go.
The mind boggles.  I couldn't eat dessert for a week after that call!  We did a whole radio show once on turn-ons and it was one of the funniest topics we ever covered — predictably.  Here are two of my favourite stories.

One woman said that she and her husband had a favourite turn-on — watching with binoculars the neighbours next door having sex!  That represented foreplay for them because they got so excited watching that they would often end up making love right there on the verandah.

Another woman said her husband always complained that she didn't want to have sex often enough because she spent all her time baking.  So, one day, he arrived home to find her once again in the kitchen, baking.  She called him in and asked him to please reach in her pocket for the cookie cutters as her hands were all floury.  When he obliged and reached into the capacious pockets, he found that she'd cut the pockets out and left her knickers off.  You can imagine what he got a handful of, and they ended up making love on the kitchen floor, among all the baking tins, flour and mess.

Isn't that a great story and a great reminder that sex, especially in marriage, needs to be kept alive with creativity, caring and, most of all, a sense of humour?  Fantasy has a large and important role to play in doing this.

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