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sensuous, sensual

This Grammar.com article is about sensuous, sensual — enjoy your reading!

  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips

Both words mean “of or appealing to the senses.” The difference in usage is that sensual is more closely associated with physical senses and sexual desires. Sensuous is used to describe things that appeal more to the five senses, such as music and art.

Check out this atrocious misuse of sensual. Notice that the writer immediately contradicts the meaning of sensual:

“There is something special about naked babies, a purely sensual (read aesthetic?) sight devoid of sexuality.” Quoted in Garner, Oxford, p. 295.

Example: The soft velvet had a sensual quality that was heightened by the sensuous music playing in the background.

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