What's the Difference Between Sexuality and Sensuality?

It takes more than crazy sex positions and toys to enhance a couple's love life. Sexuality should be explored on a deeper level. Couples should be sensual with each other, but what do those things mean? What is Sensuality? Isn't it the same as Sexuality? Drs Janelle and Rob Alex define these ideas and explain how sensuality can enhance your life, in and out of the bedroom.

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The Differences

In an earlier post, 5 Ways to Make Sex Sensual, we said, “when you hear the word “sensual” you are most likely going to relate it to something sexual.” This may not ring true in all cultures, but the majority of Americans do create a direct correlation between sensuality and sexuality in their minds. In fact, thousands and thousands of people use those two words interchangeably. But, do they really mean the same thing? Is one truly synonymous with the other? We don’t believe so. On the other hand, sensual experiences can most certainly lead to sexual experiences.


The actual definition of “sexuality” describes it as one’s capacity to have sexual feelings as well as what one’s sexual preferences are. These are physical, animalistic traits. They can still feel good, but just performing the act of sex does not mean that you will explore the senses. Simply engaging in sexual activity does not mean that you will gratify your sensual self. Sexuality can be solely about lust and the desire to jump your lover, rip off his or her clothes and get busy.


Sensuality is slower and arouses, as well as gratifies, all of the senses. Moving sensually could mean a slow sway of your hips or running your hand slowly up your lover’s chest. The sway of your hips will increase the flow of energy moving throughout your body and you can take in the feeling of this while those sexy and sensual movements visually stimulate your partner. As you can see, sexy and sensual can start to integrate at this point.

Leaving out sensuality and only focusing on the sexual you can miss out on the potential for extraordinary sensations and an out-of-this world climax. Becoming fully aware of the sensations within your body during lovemaking is what makes it sensual. In a sense, it is animalistic. After all, most animals can hear, smell, taste, see, and feel. But, moving it beyond just a quick sexual encounter gives both you and your lover the opportunity to savor the feel of one another’s touch, relish in each other’s natural smell (or soap or cologne), soak up the glorious view of your bodies, taste each other, and revel in the whispered words, moans, or sexy screams that escape you.

The Journey

Awakening your senses and then exploring how to gratify them can take you on a phenomenal journey. In fact, according to a teacher from the African Dagara Tribe, that is what “lovemaking” would translate as – going on a journey together. When the two of you bring more sensuality into your lives you will come to understand that it is not just about sex, and you can share sensual moments with your partner anywhere, anytime.

That shared journey can start long before the bedroom and last extensively afterwards. You can reach over and draw little circles with your finger on your lover’s wrist at dinner. You can slip your hand underneath their shirt and lightly rub your partner's back while walking down the street. You can wear clothing that you know will arouse your partner's senses. These are just a couple of examples. Adding this aspect and expanding the sensuality in your relationship will open the two of you to a deeper connection. Not only is it likely that your souls will blend together more freely, but it is also true that you will open more easily to a reconnection with your own soul.


This leads to a greater possibility of transcendent sex, which means you gain access to the Divine through lovemaking (and that has nothing to do with being religious or not). Your creative energy will flow more freely, you will gain a new level of confidence in daily life, and yep, you will actually have a natural glow.

So, awaken to the powerful difference between “sexuality” and “sensuality”. To recap, sexuality is focused on the sexual act while sensuality focuses on pleasuring and gratifying all of your senses while connecting to your souls. Coming to this realization can not only enhance your lovemaking, but help it transcend basic, animalistic gratification.

Dr. Janelle Alex, Ph.D. and Rob Alex, M.Sc. are writers, counselors as well as Sacred and Sensual Teachers. They recently completed an eBook called "Sexy Challenges: Sacred and Sensual Experiences for Lovers" which is on sale at Amazon! Learn more about them at Inward Oasis. Follow them on Twitter @sexychallenges and Facebook.

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