There is something that the majority of us desire a lot more in our sex lives and it is not oral sex (well, it is not just oral sex). You have guessed correctly, it is foreplay. If you want to make the most out of your sexual encounter, don’t treat foreplay like a quick pre-sex requirement. One study from 2004¹ found that both genders wanted, on average, about 20 minutes of foreplay, but on average we are only getting around 10 minutes. A different study from 2017² found that women were most likely to orgasm if their sexual experience included deep kissing, fingering and/or oral sex.
Broadly described as any sexual activity leading up to sex, foreplay can cover everything from massage to kissing to oral sex. It is anything that turns both you and your partner on before you start having sex. Some sexual activities, especially manual stimulation and oral sex, can be viewed as either foreplay or sex. Because sex is so much more than penetration, after all.
You are probably reading this article because are looking at ways to improve your sex life and foreplay, one fun approach is to keep it going for as long as you can. However long you believe you should spend on foreplay, double it at least.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Start from afar
Did you know that you can get sexual even when you are not together in the same room? You can build excitement through sexting, dirty talk and phone sex and help grow the anticipation for when you are eventually together. Showing your partner how much you desire them with dirty talk can heighten both your arousal. And it can be as simple as “You turn me on” or “That feels so good” or it can be as complex as telling them exactly, step-by-step, what you want to do to them.³
These actions are great for those who want to get things hot before getting physical. That is because women typically need both sensual and emotional foreplay. Emotional intimacy is a natural gateway into sexual contact, women generally as part of the foreplay like to connect through conversation.
Another benefit of sexting, dirty talking or phone sex is that it can a great way to communicate what you want and desire, making it less awkward for most people. Dirty talk can enhance and develop your sexual experience as you let go of your inhibitions by telling what you want your partner to do to you, and what you want to do to them.
2. Read erotica or watch porn together
Try reading erotica with your partner and talk about any parts of the narrative that you may want to try out together. Why not these sex apps for high-quality erotica, if you would like to try and see if this is for you and your partner. Don’t enjoy reading? You can try watching videos together instead.
It is completely normal to have sexual fantasies, fetishes and porn habits, as long as have your partners’ consent first and they are safe. Whatever your fetish or fantasy might be, the key to a healthy relationship is two willing partners and open communication. If you aren’t sure how they feel about participating in a certain act, interest or kink, check in to ensure you are both on the same page during and before play.
3. Making out
The most satisfying sex often begins with a make-out sesh. Kissing is a hotter form of foreplay than you may realise! Why not start by putting your tongue to good use! When you’re kissing your partner, begin French kissing, add a bit of touching and some neck kisses, ear nuzzling, and lip or neck biting, if either you or your partner is into that and you’ve got yourself a make-out session. You can try different techniques and movements, whatever feels good to you and your partner.
4. Get wet together
Try taking a bath or shower with your partner and get yourselves set for sexual play. Not only is this relaxing, but it can also be exceptionally romantic, especially if you add subtle touches like essential oils, rose petals, bath salts, etc. Plus, it will ensure you are both feeling clean and ready to go for whatever happens next. To take your time in the shower or bath to the next level, by bringing in some waterproof sex toys too.⁴
Massages help people to relax and will encourage you to explore each other’s bodies and truly focus on the experience. Sensual massages can improve the mood, why not add it into your foreplay repertoire. From foot massage to back massage and neck massage: whichever you prefer, a massage can really get you in the mood. Try incorporating massage oils or candles to add some slickness. Or you can even use a wand vibrator for a more intense massage. After taking out the knots, you can allow your hands stray just a little.
6. Nipple Play
Nipples can be fun to play with. You can touch, lick, suck, pinch or gently bite your partner’s nipples ( but just ask your partner before you chomp down). From nipple stimulation alone some people can even have a “nipplegasm”. For those who are into BDSM, you can also bring out the nipple clamps.
7. Dry Humping
Dry humping is not just for teenagers. Rub your clothed private part against your partners’ knee, leg, genitals, or anywhere else that feels good. For those with clitorises, this type of indirect stimulation can be a huge turn-on that can point to orgasms, and it also feels great for people with penises.
8. Manual Stimulation
For many people, manual stimulation (aka fingering, handjobs) is the main course, not an appetiser. Whatever body part you are focusing on don’t forget to add lube. Remember manual stimulation doesn’t need needs to be a solo endeavour. A lot of people tend to forget how marvellous our hands can be as sex tools. Because your hands are so versatile, do whatever feels great for you and your partner. You can create shapes by using your fingers for targeted touch, the palm for broad strokes, press or squeeze to add pressure as a stimulation. On top of that, you can play with positions, from having intense eye contact, to lying lazily side-by-side as you get off together. Grab a bottle of lube and give your partner a hand (pun intended). You can also practice personal foreplay and watch each other.
9. Oral Sex
Like manual stimulation, oral sex is a form of sex, but it can also be practised as a form of foreplay before another sex act. However you use your tongue to tease your partner’s clit, penis head, or anus, why not get your hands involved, for extra fun.
Oral sex is a big part of getting women ready for penetration because it is the sexual activity that most women can orgasm from. This will help make the experience more pleasurable and comfortable as it will get your vagina lubricated and ready for sex.
For a guy a good dick sucking is better than anything else in this world, any man who has experienced one will tell you this. The sensation of having your penis massaged by the lips of your partner, your tip licked again and again by an eager tongue. The intense pleasure of the moment when your partner puts you in control of their mouth and you slide back and forth, going deeper and deeper into that soft throat of hers.
10. Get Kinky
Include or combine some kink such as spanking, blindfold or tying your partner up (ask your partner before you tie them up) into your foreplay. It will help prolong the anticipation so that sex is even better when you start.
Spanking and other kinds of impact play with crops, floggers or paddles can be hot. They are all sensation toys you can use to carefully hit, whip or smack your partner. They are a way to play that involves power dynamics through submission/dominance or add a little bit of (pleasurable) pain. With impact play, the impacted area will have a heightened sensation afterwards, which will make the soft-touch feel even more intense. Maybe you even feel that tender tissue long after your kinky sex session is over, which can be a sexy little reminder of the night before.
You can use your sense of smell to get turned on. But if you want to incorporate smell as a sense-tactic in erotic play, think about the scents that turn you on, maybe like vanilla or cinnamon, and look for healthy lubes, massage oils, candles or perfumes in those fragrances.
Bonus tip: Try role play
Why not dress up like a different character or you don’t need to dress up as you will get naked anyway maybe just adopt a new persona? This will make it easier to ask or put into practice something you have always wanted to do in bed but did not feel comfortable asking your partner. Role-play allows people to be someone else and relax and enjoy a sexual experience. And encourages people to be vocal about what they want and escape into their sexual fantasies. If you or your partner are apprehensive about role play, think about what scenario you might enjoy the most, like a teacher/student or nurse/doctor scenario. Like we mentioned before always ensure that all parties are consenting, for the most pleasurable sexual experience possible.
If you’re looking for ways to spice up your sex life and foreplay, why not get a “yes/no/maybe”⁵ list as is a great way for both you and your partner get ignited. These lists can help you determine and decide what you are willing to try in the bedroom, and cover everything from sex toys to BDSM and non-monogamy. Both you and your partner will have to go through the list and marks which items are a yes, a no or a maybe. Examine the lists together to review where you and your partner land. And what is great about this is that by discussing this can be arousing. It can also lead to exploring something new that you might have never considered before and you can learn even more about your partner.
¹ (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (2004), authored by S Andrea Miller, E Sandra Byers, Information Actual and Desired Duration of Foreplay and Intercourse: Discordance and Misperceptions Within Heterosexual Couples [accessed June 2020])
² (Source: Springer Nature (2017), authored by David A. Frederick, H. Kate St. John, Justin R. Garcia, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample [accessed June 2020])
³ (Source: Refinery29 (2019), authored by Erika W Smith, These Foreplay Ideas Will Make Sex Even Better [accessed June 2020])
⁴ (Source: Shape (2020), authored by Morgan Mandriota, 10 Foreplay Ideas That Can Be Even Hotter Than Penetration [accessed June 2020])
⁵ (Source: Refinery29 (2017), authored by Cory Stieg, How To Make A Yes/No/Maybe List With Your Partner [accessed June 2020])