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.