Behind Closed Doors: Let's Talk About Ear Play

April 8, 2017 | Posted in Editorial Features by colette-callaway

The 'Earogenous' Zone is more powerful than you'd think

The internet is filled with forums about weird, tingly, sexy sensations that they get from their ears. Well, it's not the ears that give us goosebumps all by themselves exactly (though that would be interesting), but the things that are done to them. You really can't dip your toes in the proverbial Yahoo or Reddit pools without finding slews of oh my god why do I get a boner when my girlfriend licks my earlobe post, and I'm here to happily report that this is perfectly natural. It's actually even logical

See, no two sets of ears are exactly the same - people respond differently to physical touch or audible stimuli - but the one thing all ears have in common is how packed with nerves they are. It can be understandably weird to get an unprompted tongue down your ear, but most people have a certain noise or sensation in or around their ears that they enjoy, even if they haven't given it much conscious thought. Think about someone running his or her nose gently along the outer rim of your ears and whispering or moaning softly into it. Seductive, no? TINGLY, maybe? 

Most of us can understand why whispers and gentle touches make our ears feel good, but their power as an erogenous zone has remained somewhat mysterious. Actually, erogenous zones, which are defined as any areas of the human body that have heightened sensitivity, were a bit misunderstood until recently, when researchers finally deemed them worthy of legitimate study. 

The initial pervasive theory about these babies was that because certain parts of the brain processed sensation from the genitals near the ones connected to the body parts like the feet, perhaps there was some overlap. It turns out that nope, that's not what's going on at all - and feet, the jumping points of the whole hypothesis, are reported widely (across gender, age, and location) to be at the bottom of the erogenous zone list.

Instead, men report that after the penis, it's the scrotum, then the ears, then the taint, then the neck, nipples, butt, and surprisingly, wrists that give them the most sexual pleasure when stimulated. Women are similarly into ears, citing them as the most intense erogenous zone only after the clit, breasts, and nipples. So no - wanting your partner to breathe in your ear when you're closing to cumming isn't weird at all. Ears show up on most "bet you didn't know that was an erogenous zone!" lists, and the advice is pretty standard: Nibble on your partner's earlobe slowly, lick the inside rim, whisper dirty things in as breathy of a manner as you can. 

But knowing the ears are packed with nerves doesn't necessarily explain their immediate connection to the genitals and lower spine. Some people (in a non-sexual context) can't have noises close to their right ears (via headphones, electric razors, and the like) without getting intense tingles or spasms in their lower spines. It's sort of similar to ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) in the sense that researchers and doctors acknowledge its reality, but still aren't totally sure what causes it. 

There are certain inferences we can make, though. Almost everyone who reports these tingly sensations via sound says that it happens predominately through their right ear - which has something to do with the way the brain processes noise and language. We know that orgasms stem from the sacral nerve root at the lower base of the spine, because, well, that's where your central nervous system is. And, of course, we also know that regardless of which kind of stimulation you're receiving (audible or physical, in this case), the brain is the source of all erotic or erogenous excitement, and the things we touch to experience it are merely called tactical points. If you can give a corpse an orgasm by electrically stimulating the sacral the nerve, it doesn't seem so far off to say that any nerve-packed part of your body could stimulate this part of your nervous system, too. 

Even in Chinese medicine, the ears and the genitals are connected, so there is certainly something to ear play. I mention all the time how fun it is to expand sexual touch to a bunch of other parts of the body, and I also frequently talk about something I've dubbed layering, which is a very unofficial term referencing the power of combining multiple sexual stimulants at once (think: Erotic ASMR, having someone moan or talk in your ear during sex, having your taint gently rubbed during a blow job, etc.) and science is slowly but surely corroborating something many of us already know - your genitals may be the baby makers, but when it comes to erogenous zones, they're just the most sensitive of many. 

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