We had the dirty talk with Samia Burton, a hands-on sex educator, Founder of Sexual Essentials, and Host of @notjustanothersexpod, about sensory play during sex, pleasure mapping, and sex-related trauma. After masturbating for 28 days, Samia launched Sexual Essentials (the Netflix of Sex), an online resource of 250+ sexual classes and other tools, where she demonstrates everything from deep-throating to squirting and taking sensual selfies, so that you can have a satisfying sex life. Let’s go deep.
Define sensory play.
Sensory play (BKA sensory sex) is a sexual experience where the focus is on the most delicate parts of the body to make spiritual or energetic contact for maximum arousal. “It’s a state of mind. It’s a place of being,” Samia says, comparing experiences akin to being on a beach vacation where you can taste ocean salt in the back of your throat, feel sand granules settling into the ball and heel of your feet, and hear birds chirping as if they were perching on the ledge of your ear. You’re present, meditating in motion, as your awareness drifts from one thing to another.
What is pleasure mapping?
It’s like GPS, but for pleasure. Pleasure mapping, typically a self-discovery process, is an effective tool to identify your hot spots and learn your sexual response patterns. “My candles are fresh linen. My bath is lavender. My [fragrance] is Gucci. My body oil is shea butter,” Samia lists her sexual triggers by senses. And although she doesn’t f*ck with the scent of lavender, its soothing properties are essential to a positive sexual experience for her.
Having a pleasure map provides you and or your partner(s) instructions and direction for the sexcapade ahead. “Sometimes, you can get into a rut and may want to bring it up. ‘Hey, I’m aware of self and self feels a little bored. What’s up?’ Let’s add a little hot sauce,” or, That feels okay or good or amazing. Do it again. Pleasure mapping can help initiate healthy dialogue about challenges with sex and or introduce sexual interests. Basically, it’s an effective way to casually check in with yourself and or your partner, from saying no to the kid that wants to sleep in your bed every night to emerging kinks and fetishes. And Samia lets us know that it’s okay if it feels addictive, “When you see someone [get] aroused, you want to [continue to] do it because you love [or care deeply for] that person.”
How do we address sexual trauma?
Because the body stores trauma, from birth and on, physical therapy is one of the best tools for working through past abuse associated with sex or being sexual. Emotional or internal responses to distress, like sadness, anxiety, or muscle tension, can pop up during sex too and disturb our flow. Beyond traditional therapist, there are sex doulas and sex therapists that help individuals gain a sense of newness in their sex life or safely reconnect with themselves sexually where they were previously disconnected or never connected. And, of course, having a person who you can talk to, a solid source of education, and time are key to your sexual healing and may be more accessible than traditional therapy.
On the other hand, Samia wants more folks to explore BDSM, an acronym for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism, which can aid in healing by mocking a negative experience and altering the outcome of that experience. “So let’s say you have a thing about choking. Maybe someone salted you. Maybe you couldn’t breathe one time [related or unrelated to sex],” Samia says that, for example, a trauma specialist/professional may slow-choke you and repeat positive affirmations to you. In this scenario, you’re in control, and your body may have a sexual response. And this is okay. “A lot of women don’t want to come forward because they had an orgasm during violation,” Samia says of this exercise that could help individuals admit the violation, own the orgasm, and regain power over themselves by developing trust between them and their partner(s). Now, Samia isn’t a dominant or a submissive, nor does she have a dominant or a submissive, but the releases that she gets from things that would normally scare her, or maybe she didn’t like it before, makes her wet, “And that’s power,” she quotes.
Make It Make Sense.
Do y’all remember when affirming your partner during sex was trending? Well, it works for most and the other half should try it. Positive affirmations, including affirming music playlists, can transform your sexual energy. Sh*t like, “You deserve an orgasm simply because you went to the f*cking gym today,” Samia says, evokes a sense of self-worth and acceptance. The playlists that she curates for her community on Patreon, assuming that you’re masturbating while listening, tells you that you’re a boss b*tch or a king. “Don’t f*ck everything that’s out here,” “You’re worthy,” and “Be kind to yourself,” are among some of the other sayings, where the right amount of nastiness and goodness meet in the middle.
The mouth ain’t for just talking sh*t. Texture makes you aware of your mouth and all of its parts: your lips, your teeth, your tongue, etc. And all of these parts of the mouth can be used to enhance our sexual experiences–if used properly. “Even using a glass dildo or a crystal dildo,” Samia says, may stimulate the oral cavity in different ways. A yoni massage or a lingam massage is a way to bring our hands into the mix, but these aren’t your basic b*tch hand jobs. These tantric massages require intense focus, deep breathing, eye gazing, and slow massaging of the erogenous zones. And there’s not always an orgasm. “After you get the clit swollen and gushy, sometimes, you have to go back and check,” to see if your talents are paying off. And if something doesn’t work the first time, it doesn’t mean that it won’t ever work. Just head back to pleasure mapping.
Touch is where we can win Most Improved because it’s about the adventure and carefully exploring the most sensitive zones of the body. With touch, masking one sense which activates or expands another can dramatically heighten our play. Blindfolding, for example, isn’t just for the freaks. But it builds suspense and momentum in a way that feels safe and sexy for anyone. Using satin may feel more comfortable than rope, but either material can elicit a sexual response when coming in contact with our skin. Other materials include latex, like latex gloves, is a go-to option for playful-touching action. “I got this weird a**, weird a**, latex glove. That sh*t is fire,” Samia admitting that latex has a hold on her. At first, she was turned off by the idea of adding latex to the pot, but now, she can’t explain the feeling it gives to both the giver and receiver.
Another field of touch to explore is bondage, specifically rope play or rope bondage. Samia references the snake scene out of Karate Kid to encapsulate the feeling of watching someone tie ropes on a subject, “It mesmerizes you. It’s about consistency and timing. It’s sexy [and calming].” During a session, your mind is free and you’re able to focus on one thing, bringing us back to a meditative state where our bodies are accepting of pleasure.
Have you ever hugged someone and said to yourself, Goddamn, they smell good?! “When you do your baths, put your oils in there. The smell of your house, your car, your clothes,” Samia says will have people like, “Damn, what’s your name?” Smell is simple, yet complex, and like touch, it can bring an element of surprise, lust, and wonder to any sexual experience. Exposure to specific scents, like lavender, vanilla, and cinnamon, can increase blood flow to our sex organs and heighten the sensation of desire and arousal. But, everything ain’t for everybody. People have preferences, and unfortunately, allergies is real, so check in with your partner(s) to prevent a breakout and or turnoff of any kind.
“You can’t be walking around your motherf*cking house looking like sh*t and think, ‘When are we about to fuck?'” Samia says of the cardinal rule of sex: look like a snack at all times. When was the last time you bought night clothes? How old are your draws? Ladies, if you have a pair of lucky draws with holes, throw them b*tches out. Guys, dirty and dusty socks with holes are included. “And don’t get me wrong, I love looking raggedy, but I feel sexier trying to be intentionally comfortable,” Samia says, like satin pajamas, which made her n*gga go crazy, and she’ll tell you that she’s not a stylish type of b*tch.
Secondly, cleanliness is next to godliness. Samia makes sure that every room in her house is f*ckable, “Does your house look like I want to take my draws off, or does it look like I need to call sanitation?” Her two-cents is, if you can make someone feel comfortable before taking another step, there’s no telling where you can go.
A To-Go Plate
To achieve any level of intimacy with self and others, we must put forth consistent and intentional effort. There’s a planning stage and a boundary-setting stage. Take your time, be honest with yourself and or your partner(s), and never accept mediocrity (yes, in the bedroom) because whatever you feel, you can change.
And we have to slow down. We go to work, come home, eat, sleep, sh*t, and do it all over again. But sensuality is not a system. It does what it wants to do. Simplicity is a luxury, but try some sh*t! Even the third and fourth idea is worth a shot. You don’t have to be good at everything. You just have to know somebody who is. Samia doesn’t want to ever have a bad sex life, so she always leads with purpose, from taking notes to setting reminders, “And now, you get ready.”
Always practice safe, sane, and verbally consensual sex, respectfully.