An essential part of a sensual massage is the use of oil. You can find massage oil just about everywhere — even major chain stores like Wal-Mart sell massage oil, usually near the bath supplies or personal merchandise such as condoms. Here, you can often find very affordable oils in a wide variety of types, including warming massage lotions and oils that heat up on contact.

Types of Oils

When choosing a massage oil, be sure to choose a high-quality product. Keep in mind that there are three basic types of oils: lightweight, medium-weight, and heavyweight. Light oils are moisturizing, as they are absorbed more easily into the skin. Medium oils are a bit slicker and slower to absorb into the skin. Finally, heavy oils are very slick and remain on the skin for an extended amount of time. You won't have to reapply this oil very often. It is best suited for long, Tantric massages.

Massage oils can be great for the skin — but terrible for upholstery and linens. Keep in mind that oil can often be tough to get out of fabrics, so it is a good idea to put down an old (yet comfortable) sheet or towels to protect carpet and furniture.

Massage oils come in a nearly unlimited array of scents (and even flavors). Many people enjoy natural types of scents like vanilla, coconut, rose, lavender, or orange. But there is no one “right” scent. It is completely a matter of personal preference. Variety can be exciting, so keep experimenting with a lot of different scents and combinations of scents to find the fragrance you and your partner enjoy most. Try visiting aromatherapy shops and making your own unique scent combination.

Arousing Scents

Although it's tough to prove this scientifically, there are certain scents that are commonly believed to encourage erotic feelings and arousal. The most powerful scent connected with arousal is one you can't buy in a bottle: Human pheromones (chemicals the body releases during sexual excitement) tend to have a magnetic effect during close contact with potential partners.

Among nonbiological scents, everyone's tastes are different, so it's virtually impossible to pinpoint a single scent that will be 100 percent effective. However, scents that have been traditionally linked with arousal include cinnamon, vanilla, rose, and musky smells.

In the late '90s, Alan Hirsch, M.D., of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, conducted a study to determine which scents people found most physically arousing. Of more than two dozen different scents, men showed the most aroused reaction in response to a blend of lavender and pumpkin pie. Another surprising finding: Both men and women became aroused after smelling a blend of licorice and cucumber.

Dos and Don'ts of Oils and Creams

There are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with massage oils and creams:

  • Don't put oils where they are not intended to go. Keep in mind that most massage oils are not intended to go inside the body. Instead, you should use specifically designed lubricants (water-based products like Astroglide are best) for any activities involving penetration or areas inside the body. You should also take care to avoid getting any kind of oils or creams in your eyes.

  • Do check the Internet, where you can find lots of “recipes” for making homemade massage oils. Experiment and find one that you like best, or be creative and come up with your own unique blend.

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