Sexuality vs. Sensuality

Sexuality and Sensuality are words that are often used interchangeably. While each can be inclusive of the other in concept, they are not always synonymous. In other words, a sexual act may or may not inspire deeper sensuality in those that are engaging in said act, and a sensual act may or may not lead to a sexual act. 

Both terms are generally used to describe some degree of pleasure, gratification, or sensation. 

Sexuality by it's very nature is driven by testosterone and other hormones and refers to pleasure or sensation pertaining to sex or sexual activity. Sexual acts between partners are usually driven by a primal desire and pheromonal attraction. 

Sensuality refers to the engagement of the senses - taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. Sensual experiences between people may or may not include sexual desire, attraction, or activity. For example, a family can gather around a table and eat their dinner sensually, admiring the sight, smell, and taste of the meal. Likewise, a man may provide his partner with a sensual massage that leads to a sexual act. 

In my own experience, I've created a number of scenarios where sensuality and sexuality are both inclusive and exclusive of the other. While the description below doesn't always match the experience to a tee, I've come to make some generalizations based on...let's call it "personal research":

  • Experiences driven by animalistic sexual desire - these feel like explosive, carnal bursts of energy where my partner and I become single-sighted; if there were one goal, it would be pleasure. Every action thereafter contributes to the fulfillment of that goal. 

  • Experiences driven by the desire for sensuality - these feel deliberate and observant, as if time has slowed down and I can witness my own experience - I can see what I'm seeing, feel what I'm feeling, hear what I'm hearing, taste what I'm tasting, and smell what I'm smelling. It's quite meta. 

  • Experiences where sensuality and sexuality merge - these feel like they oscillate between fast and explosive and slow and observant, as if there is a direct manipulation of time. These scenarios have required me to "feel the mood" and react based on what I perceive this mood to be or where I'd like to direct the experience. 

While I've experienced scenarios that felt purely sexual, there has always been some amount of sensuality in the mix. The extent to which I was associated with and engaged in that sensual experience was contingent upon the degree to which I felt safe, my desire (or lack thereof) to build a deeper relationship with this person, and other elements of my psychology at the time. 

All of this to say: there is no "right" or "wrong" way to engage. What's important is that each interaction is based on consent and observation. Each of these situations is a chance for us to observe our intentions for engaging, our feelings before, during, and after each engagement, and the sensations in our bodies as a result.