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Sensation play is very straightforward, and very sensual. A wide variety of different sensations can be created by stroking, touching, or brushing your lover's skin.
One of the most well-known and common of all sensation play "toys" is a simple feather, or feather duster. These produce very light, subtle sensations when stroked across bare skin. A wide variety of other implements can be used for sensation play as well; anything from soft cloth or fur to ice will produce all kinds of deliciously sensual and gentle sensations in your partner.
Basic feather ticklers
The classic feather duster is almost a cliché as a sex toy, but it's popular for a reason. When your partner is lying nude beneath you, the light, tickling touch of a feather can invoke all kinds of delightful responses.
Feather ticklers improve on the basic feather duster in a number of ways. They usually have a long, thin handle and a smaller number of feathers, allowing you to focus the sensation on just the places you want. They're often made of ostrich feathers, which are very, very soft. (As a bit of trivia, feathers come in two basic types: vaned feathers, which are feathers that have a regular, ordered structure such as the pinion wing feathers of birds; and down feathers, which are feathers that are tangled and unordered, and much softer. The feathers used on feather ticklers are usually down feathers, with the exception of the feathers used in peacock-feather ticklers. Down feathers are very, very soft, and produce very light sensation.)
Feather ticklers with a large number of feathers produce a wider, more diffuse sensation; those with a smaller number of feathers produce a more localized tickling sensation.
Using a feather tickler
Feather ticklers are simplicity itself. You can stroke any part of the body with a tickler, including eyelids, face, genitals, breasts, and nipples. Pay attention to less obvious parts of the body, too; the inner thighs, undersides of the arms, backs of the hands, tops and soles of the feet, and backs of the legs are all good candidates for the touch of a feather tickler.
Feather ticklers make an excellent warmup to more intense forms of sensation play. You can use the feather tickler on a partner who is bound and blindfolded to help set the mood, or to create anticipation for more intense forms of sensation to come. Take your time, and use the feather very slowly. To heighten the sense of anticipation still more, describe to your partner what you intend to do to him or her with other implements, in detail, perhaps brushing the feather lightly over the part of the body you intend to focus on later.
For a study in contrast, combine a feather tickler with a small, lightweight, extremely stingy crop, flogger, or cane. Stroke the part of your lover's body you intend to strike with the feather, and tell your partner "Okay, I'm going to whip you right here," then withdraw the feather and strike quickly with the other implement. As the sting fades, resume stroking that part of the body with the feather again.
The anticipation you create--your partner will know what is coming, and where, when he or she feels the touch of the feather--heightens the effect of the flogger or crop; and touching the place where you've just struck your partner with the feather draws his or her attention to it, prolonging the sensation of sting.
What you'll need