What is Sexual Stimulation? +The 6 Arousal Types

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What is Sexual Stimulation? +The 6 Arousal Types

When it comes to sex and sexual satisfaction, everyone has their preferences. What they like, what they dislike, what they want to try, etc. The same can be said for sexual stimulation and arousal.

What role does sexual stimulation play in arousal? How do you like to be aroused? How does your partner like to be aroused? What is even all of the ways to arouse someone?

These questions, and more, will be answered in this post. So if you’re ready to learn more about sexual stimulation and how the different types can transform your sex life, read on.

What is Sexual Stimulation?

In simplest terms, sexual stimulation is a stimulus that arouses yourself or a partner and even carries them through to the point of orgasm.

Sexual stimulation is most often thought of as bodily contact or physical touch. There are actually many different types of sexual stimulation, though, and everyone has their preferred type. Before we get into that…

What Role Does Sexual Stimulation Play in Arousal?

To understand the importance of sexual stimulation types, it’s good to know what role it plays in arousal.

But we can’t talk about arousal without talking about the sexual response cycle. There are four phases of the sexual response cycle. They are:

  1. Arousal, or excitement.
  2. Plateau.
  3. Orgasm, or climax.
  4. Resolution.

Sexual stimulation plays an important role in two phases of the cycle – arousal and plateau.

For obvious reasons, sexual stimulation is important to the arousal phase as it gets you or your partner “in the mood.” Without stimulation, there would be no arousal.

Beyond arousal, though, sexual stimulation should continue throughout the plateau phase. This is the phase when arousal continues to build up until, eventually, it explodes in the next phase of the cycle (orgasm).

So the right sexual stimulation is important to not only get yourself or your partner turned on, but also for getting them to the finish line.

How to Sexually Stimulate Yourself and Your Partner According to the 6 Arousal Types

There are six main arousal types. Every person is stimulated by at least one, or a combination of a few, of the arousal types below. So to learn more about what turns yourself and your partner on, take a look.


If you have a physical arousal type, you are aroused by what you feel. This is any physical touch, like kisses, caresses, fingertip brushes, erotic spanking, and sensual squeezes. You may also prefer specific movements, rhythms, or speeds and are more particular than non-physical types.

This is perhaps the easiest arousal type for partners to understand. You can tell them what you like or even show them.

To communicate your likes to your partner, say…

  • “I like it when you touch my ____.”
  • “I prefer when you do ____ to my ____.”
  • “Can you ____ my ____ harder?”
  • “I get so turned on when you ____.”

Some partners do better with demonstrations. So if it’s a particular rhythm or speed you’re after, show your partner what you want. If it’s a specific movement, show them. Invite them to fondle and caress and kiss your most sensitive parts.


You’re the visual arousal type when you’re aroused by what you see. This includes the images you can conjure in your mind as well as what you see in front of you.

If you’re a female visual learner with a male partner, this is perhaps one of the easiest arousal types to explain to him. After all, men are visual creatures. So tell your partner:

  • “I love how you look in that shirt.”
  • “I love seeing you in the bathtub/shower.”
  • “You look so hot when you’re undressing.”

If you’re more of a mind visualizer, tell them what you like about what you see.

  • “I want to see you strip/dance/touch yourself.”
  • “I get so turned on when I imagine you doing ___.”
  • “In my mind, I can picture you ___. Can we try that?”


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The person with an audial arousal type gets excited by what they hear. You’re probably thinking of direct communication, like what your partner says they want to do to you. But audial arousal can include more than just words. It can be the tone of voice, the depth of voice, or even the vibrations and melodies produced by words and music.

If hearing your partner tell you what they want to do to you is your biggest turn-on, it may take some coaxing on your part to get them to say it out loud. It can be awkward to “talk dirty” or know what to say during sex. Ease them into it by providing an example. You can say:

  • “I want your dick to fill my pussy.”
  • “I love when you tell me how good it feels.”
  • “Your moans make me so wet/hard.”
  • “Do you like that baby?”

Or maybe vibrations and melodies are more your speed. If so, create a sex playlist with your partner. This is a fun way to bond and learn more about your partner’s tastes.


If you’re aroused by what you think, you’re the cognitive arousal type. This can overlap with various other arousal types – like visual, audial, and emotional. After all, you may conjure images, conversations, or connections in your mind while fantasizing.

Fantasy and roleplay are important for the cognitive arousal type.

Communication with your partner is key because cognitive arousal types can take longer to be aroused than others. Your partner may also feel like they’re “not enough.”

But there are plenty of ways to incorporate your partner into your fantasies. As you fantasize, tell them what you see and what you feel. What are you fantasizing about them doing to you that you enjoy so much? Or even add roleplay to your routine so both you and your partner can be different versions of yourselves. That way the sexy doctor you’re attracted to is your partner, but you also have the storyline you need to scratch that itch.


If you’re the relational arousal type, you’re turned on by what you experience as a connection to your partner. It’s unlikely that casual hookups are your thing because what you really need is a strong connection to your sexual partner.

If this is your type, your partner may not initially understand the “softness” of your arousal. That is, they may feel like they’re not doing enough to get you stimulated.

But relational arousal types can be stimulated by conversations… about your future together, about what you love about each other, about your relationship.

So ensure your partner knows how important those conversations are, whether they’re before or after sex.


Emotional arousal types are stimulated by what they feel. Not in the same way as physical arousal types, though.

Emotional arousal types have specific feelings that turn them on more than others, like the feelings of being in charge or being desired.

This may take some experimentation with your partner as you learn which emotions lead to the greatest arousal. Just be open with them as you “try on” different feelings.

How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Sexual Satisfaction

From reading the descriptions of the six types of sexual arousal above, you may now have a better idea of your and your partner’s preferences. What now?

Now it’s time to bring this knowledge into practice.

This may require some “rewiring” of what you and your partner think of as sexually stimulating. Because even if you have a preference above, you may have unknowingly relied on another of the arousal types. This may be due to what’s considered “more acceptable,” or simply because of sexual incompatibility in previous relationships.

So to fully unlock your and your partner’s potential, ask yourselves:

  • “What have I/you/we relied on in the past for sexual arousal?”
  • “Did I/you/we feel fully satisfied from past sexual encounters?”
  • “Is there a certain arousal type that speaks to me/you/us more than the other types?”
  • “What can I/you do to support you/me in this time of sexual exploration?”

As you begin to experiment with your partner, remember to check in frequently. Ask your partner after each session if there’s something you could have done differently to support them. Also, be sure to be honest with your partner about your own experiences.

Only through honest conversations and open communication can you and your partner unlock your fullest potential for sexual satisfaction.


Sexual stimulation preferences are a very personal matter. They are often something that we naturally develop as we mature. And while you can enjoy various arousal types or even change your preferences over time, most people will have a “main” type that they prefer.

To recap, there are six major arousal types. They are:

  1. Physical, or what you feel (physically).
  2. Visual, or what you see.
  3. Audial, or what you hear.
  4. Cognitive, or what you think.
  5. Relational, or what you experience.
  6. Emotional, or what you feel (emotionally).

If you or your partner aren’t entirely sure which type they prefer, now is the time to experiment. You’ll not only learn more about what you/your partner need, but it’s also a fun way to build intimacy and trust.

Laura Rose Halliday

Laura Rose Halliday started The School Of Squirt back in 2012 and has been running the website and digital courses along with Jakob Wulfe since then. She is a full time sex writer, researcher and practicer.

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