01 May

Pleasure Mapping for Couples

Communication in sex...

One of the most common problems I hear from couples I work with is that they’re not confident in communicating what feels good and what doesn’t during sex and intimacy, and that’s resulting in a dissatisfying or non-existent sex life. Some people feel shame about discussing their sexual desires with their partners, or just really aren’t sure how to be specific about what they like. We all get into habits, making love the same way, in the same position, and we end up spending too much of our sex and intimacy time enduring touch that just doesn’t quite hit the spot.

Here is a playful but powerful exercise for couples who wish to…

  • rediscover each other’s bodies
  • break down habitual patterns of sex (or lack of sex)
  • draw a new erotic map of body sensations
  • practice communicating ‘yes’ and ‘no’

A map to pleasure...

‘Pleasure Mapping’ begins with one partner (the receiver) resting naked or almost naked on a bed or a massage table. The other partner is the ‘pleasure researcher’. As the ‘researcher’ you will explore touching your partner in different places and in different ways. You can set boundaries on this at the beginning of your mapping session: perhaps on Monday you will map the legs, on Tuesday the arms, Wednesday the breasts etc. With each touch the ‘receiver’ communicates a number – the degree of desirability or undesirability of each sensation. A response can range between ‘plus three’ and ‘minus three’. ‘Zero’ is neutral, ‘plus one’ is ‘I like it’, ‘plus two’ is ‘I really like it’, and ‘plus three’ is ‘Oh WOW!’ For minuses, a higher number means a more undesirable sensation.

If you are touching, pay close attention to your partner’s verbal responses. You could take notes to better remember your partner’s feedback if you like. You can map your partner’s body with different levels of pressure: in some areas very light caresses won’t be felt, while in others they will send ripples of goosebumps and pleasure through your partner’s skin. You can also vary the direction of the touch and type of touch, for example, light pummelling engages nerve endings in a different way from light fingernail scraping. You might use oil, feathers, silk or even vibrators. You could have your partner lie on the floor and then map their body using your toes and feet. Some lovers map each other’s bodies with kisses or with licks of the tongue. Start simple and get as creative as you like with your pleasure mapping. It’s all in the name of research!

Sexual science...

Be clear that this is an information gathering exercise and try to avoid progressing into sex. The attentiveness and exploration that you bring to this pleasure mapping process can create a deep bond. It really helps to set a timer and agree which areas of your partner’s body you will map in that time.

There are two simple guidelines for this exercise…

  • First, pain is not the objective of this exercise, so when you hear negative numbers, don’t repeat that same type of touch in that same area. As an alternative to this practice you could engage in a BDSM exercise of ‘pain mapping’. In that case, the ‘touches’ might include biting and using clothespins for example.
  • Second, as the ‘researcher’ you should not seek out only ‘plus threes’. Notice if you go into patterns of ‘pleasing’ or ‘doing the right thing’. The intent here is to gather information that will inform future lovemaking – it will help to know what is NOT pleasurable!

It is delicious to end the pleasure mapping session with some long, sensual strokes up and down the body, where the receiver doesn’t have to give feedback but can just enjoy the ending of this important research!

If you’d like to know more about this or are interested in booking a couples session just drop me an email on elizabeth@touchofhappiness.co.uk

With Love,



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Hi, I’m Libby... I'm a masseuse, a sex coach and embodiment coach. My focus is on helping you to feel more: both physically and emotionally. I work with clients who have specific issues around their relationship to sex, arousal, body image and pleasure. I also work with people who want to explore and expand their capacity for pleasure, or who just enjoy the luxury and intimacy of full body massage. I came to this work after a decade or so spent (variously) as a personal trainer, sports masseuse, pole dancer, musician and events manager. I've studied & trained in Somatic Sex Education, The Wheel of Consent, TRE and Tantric Bodywork (amongst other things). I blend my knowledge and experience of the physical body with my desire to create a healthier understanding in the world of sex, sexuality, boundaries, emotional communication, arousal and pleasure. You can read more about me and my qualifications on the 'About Me' page of the website.

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