Music and Sensuality
For centuries, hopeful lovers have aspired to gain an edge in the bedroom. Various mood stimulants, such as perfumes, incense and aphrodisiacs, routinely are used in an effort to enhance sensual experiences. Perhaps the greatest emotional lubricant of all, however, is music.
Music is widely used in movies to increase the experience of the viewer. Imagine a movie without the soundtrack. Boring, bland, and uninspiring, right? Well, think of music as the soundtrack of the bedroom. Whether you prefer jazz, new age, R&B, classical, or rock, a perfect mix can turn an intimate affair into a mind-blowing sensual experience. Everyone knows that music is essential to certain activities.
More importantly, scientific studies have demonstrated that music can help you to relive experiences time and time again. When I hear particular song it often takes me back to a pleasurable moment associated with that song, be it a childhood memory, or an intimate evening with a client. I become excited just thinking about it.
The experience of a chill running up your spine and leaving goosebumps that tickle your body is called frisson (pronounced free-sawn), a French term for “shiver” or sudden strong feeling of excitement. It feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Some researchers have referred to it as a “skin orgasm.”
Studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of the population feels frisson at one time or another. Studies published in the journal Psychology of Music show that listening to moving music is the most common trigger of frisson, but some feel it while looking at beautiful artwork, watching a particularly moving scene in a movie or during physical encounters. Personality tests show that the listeners who experienced frisson also scored high for a personality trait called “Openness to Experience.”
Other studies have shown that people who possess this trait have unusually active imaginations, appreciate beauty and nature, seek out new experiences, often reflect deeply on their feelings, and love variety in life. Some aspects of this trait are inherently emotional (loving variety, appreciating beauty), and others are cognitive (imagination, intellectual curiosity). Regardless of whether listeners experience frisson as a result of a deeply emotional reaction to the music, or whether it’s triggered by musical imagery (a way of processing music that combines listening with daydreaming), it’s clear that music can enhance sensuality and feelings of pleasure.
Finally, music, like sex, can change your mood and improve your health and overall well-being. Numerous studies show how music impacts the brain, emotions, mood, perception, physical and mental health, and overall quality of life.
A 2006 study published by the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics and Neuroeconomics (which I’m sure you’ve read 🙂 showed the emotional power of music. Subjects were presented with fearful and sad pictures either alone or combined with classical musical pieces. Through magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers determined that the subjects who were shown the images combined with the music evoked stronger emotional feelings and experiences than the subjects who were shown the images without music.