"So," I told one of my male friends, "I'm writing about women's erogenous zones. Any thoughts?" He reacted with a shudder and then pretty much bolted in the other direction with a quick goodbye. Another guy friend hid his face in his t-shirt when I asked him the same question. I had to wonder, what's the big deal, here? Why are men loathe to discuss what gets women hot?
My personal hypothesis is that women are socially conditioned to be less forthcoming about their sexual needs than men, and as Male Friend #1 put it, "We don't know where everything is, and it's different for each woman, and women don't always offer much in the way of directions or advice." On this point, I have to agree. I know a lot of women who have no qualms about asking for what they want and need at work, but they want men to magically intuit what they want sexually. A girlfriend of mine who has been successful in the male-dominated film industry says, "It's romantic when a guy takes matters into his own hands. I don't want to have to tell him what to do; I also don't want him to think I'm bossy." With this kind of attitude out there, it's not shocking that my male friend feels like he's "just stuck fumbling around down there. It's challenging and usually intimidating."
That's when it struck me that Monica Geller's work was not done. While she may have clarified what she considered the seven, seven, SEVEN female erogenous zones for Chandler Bing in that brilliant "Friends" scene we all remember so well (watch below), some men are still in the dark about what really turns women on. The problem is that, as Male Friend #1 astutely observed, every woman is different. My list of the most sexually responsive parts of my body will almost certainly be different from the next woman's. So I started asking real women to tell me what parts of them they want their partners to focus on in bed. Here are the eight (that's SEVEN plus one) anatomical locales they especially wanted their partners to visit:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-di-donato/www.bijulesnyc.com" target="_hplink">Jules Kim</a>, a jeweler known for designing pieces Rooney Mara wore in "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/" target="_hplink">The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo</a>" as well as for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/beyonce/" target="_hplink">Beyonce</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/rihanna/" target="_hplink">Rihanna</a>, says, "I believe sexuality is not just of the body. Massaging the ego can be just as titillating as stroking a breast. Erogenous zones are about opening up people's worlds, and offering possibilities." Jules, whose avant-garde jewelry, she says, "gilds the body," elaborates: "It's the dance that's so sexy. A glance, a chance touch -- the in-between moments before the act of sex that makes you want the person more and more. It's more complex than insinuating the sexual act; it's about leaving a door open for opportunities." In other words, seduction is an art form, and it's practiced most on the imagination.
"It's not particularly groundbreaking, but it feels good," says poet and academic <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-hagood/" target="_hplink">Caroline Hagood</a>. What Caroline calls the "body's little surprises" is a major theme in her collection of poetry "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Lunatic-Speaks-Caroline-Hagood/dp/0983998582/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338952301&sr=8-1" target="_hplink">Lunatic Speaks</a>," "With behind the knees, I guess it's just the surprise of being touched in a place that almost never gets touched. It's startling. I think it's similar to the moment when you use a mirror to see any part of your body you don't normally look at. I found out that I have a strange constellation of freckles on my back the other day, and that's just another one of the body's little surprises." So startling, unexpected touches can be extremely arousing.
Trend forecaster and stylist <a href="http://jennaperry.tumblr.com/" target="_hplink">Jenna Perry</a> says any attention paid to her stomach drives her wild. Since Jenna has chiseled abs and a pin-up girl's tiny waist, I couldn't help but wonder if the stomach was her erogenous zone because she feels particularly confident about this body part. "Yes," she admitted. "Also," she adds, "My stomach is really ticklish, but not in a bad way." The message here: body parts women feel especially good about deserve a little extra attention. The combination of a woman's personal confidence and another's adoration is hot!
This is my spot.If someone asked me to choose between a foot massage and sex, it would be a hard choice. Put the two together, and I will be sent over the edge: pressure applied to the arch of my foot while I'm having sex is a surefire way to get me to climax. If I had to hazard a guess why the foot is such a turn on -- aside from there being <a href="http://www.medfinds.com/provider_type_definitions.html?definition=Reflexologist" target="_hplink">7,000 nerve endings in the feet </a>-- I'd say I associate my feet with running, something I do that gives me endorphins and makes me feel strong at the same time.
Although kissing the forehead might seem like a gentle and endearing act of affection, it can also be a major source of arousal. Actress and model <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4108184990837" target="_hplink">Kelly Rae Le Gault</a> explains, "When a man kisses my forehead -- let's be real -- these aren't your mama's kisses. My lower back will just sear like this and it's almost too much to bear!" She goes on to say that she finds a "crazy connection" between her lower back and forehead. When her forehead gets those soft, ticklish kisses, "My back just above my butt will just throb like it's aching to be touched. I can't be the only one who experiences this, right?" Is she? Try it and let her know.
Heavy breathing into my ears -- the full ear, not just the lobe -- creates an intense sensation for me. Feeling his breath in my ear makes me feel connected to my partner and sends chills down my spine.
Sara Femenella, co-founder and editor of <em><a href="http://www.screen-paper.com/mag/" target="_hplink">Screen & Paper</a></em> magazine, likes a partner to pay special attention to the nape of her neck. "The moment between feeling breath then feeling lips, tongue, teeth is incredible. It's the combination of anticipation and pleasure foreshadowing what's to come." For Life Coach <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-di-donato/www.essencehappens.com" target="_hplink">Teresa Wiles DiGregorio</a>, the back of her neck is "second to none in sensitivity." She elaborates, "I thoroughly enjoy a gentle touch there. A lick, a tickle, a touch: every gentle stroke is noticed and appreciated."
Nora Zelevansky, author of the recent book "<a href="http://norazelevansky.com/books" target="_hplink">Semi-Charmed Life</a>" jokes that her mouth is where she gets most turned on "because that's where mozzarella sticks go and I can't really think of anything that gets me hotter than a plate of fried cheese with marinara sauce." I value that this funny lady doesn't take sex so seriously and just has fun with it. "I think my real erogenous zone is probably my funny bone (not recently bumped)," she told me. "A good dry joke is more likely to attract me than anything."
WATCH: 'Friends' Monica Geller Explains The Female Erogenous Zones
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