Have an Amazing Orgasm: Why Foreplay Matters

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Whether you don’t like to waste time, think he hates foreplay, or simply aren’t sure what to do, skipping the lead-up to sex could be decreasing your chances of total bliss. No one is denying that quickies are great, but dragging out the process can heighten the anticipation, leading to a longer, better O. “Some people think intercourse is the main event, and they don’t want an opening act, but a great appetizer is sometimes better than a main course,” says sex educator Sari Locker, Ph.D. In fact, a study in the Journal of Sex Research actually found that both men and women crave about 18 minutes of foreplay before sex. (Here are 8 Ways to Fake Looking Like a Pro in Bed.)

Here’s why: Orgasms are about the mind just as much as the body, research shows. And foreplay creates the excitement and arousal necessary. It’s also an essential time for lubrication, explains Locker. “You can feel amazing thrills from kissing, touching, and oral sex, which may be just as exciting as intercourse,” she says.

To have more fun with foreplay, first think about what turns you on, and then what usually works with your partner. Make sure you communicate and experiment together to figure out what types of kissing and touching work best, then use your experiments to fuel the fire in the future.

While Locker notes methods of foreplay depend on the partners in a relationship, she suggests a shoulder massage, kissing, and touching before sex. And if you like receiving oral sex, you’re in luck-it may just be the perfect pre-sex activity, because it provides you with all the lubrication you need prior to the main act, Locker says.

Another way to spice things up? “Experiment with all five senses in order to bring variety into your routine,” advises Locker. “Change the lighting, wear perfume, play with food during sex, and use hard touches and feather touches for variety.” It’s not quite Fifty Shades, but it could be all you need to get off. (Try adding a toy! Here are 5 Luxe Vibrators Worth the Price Tag.)

  • By Sara Angle

There’s no arguing that “quickie sex” can be arousing, exciting and satisfying. It’s good for when passions override all thought and desire wins. However, most women will agree that the best sexual encounters occur when a man knows and understands the importance of foreplay.

Foreplay is defined as “a set of intimate psychological and physical acts between two or more people meant to create and increase sexual arousal.” Unfortunately, there’s no instruction manual for this “act.” Foreplay is not just a case of pushing the right buttons in the right order. It’s actually a bit more complicated and you need to understand what turns your partner on and that necessarily won’t be the same thing day to day – and it certainly won’t be the same woman to woman.

What’s great about foreplay is that it ensures both partners are ready for the main act – sex. A good session of foreplay will guarantee that your lady is ready, willing and excited. Her inhibitions will be lowered and her comfort level will increase; but most importantly, her body will prepare itself for the penetration.

During foreplay, a woman’s clitoris will become erect, her cervix will rise up to the occasion and elongate the vaginal canal (this makes room for you), and her vagina will become lubricated. This preparation means when you “head in,” it’s more comfortable for you and enjoyable for her. You wouldn’t go down a water slide if it wasn’t wet, right? The famous sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey once said that an orgasm “can be likened to the crescendo, climax, and sudden stillness achieved by an orchestra of human emotions … an explosion of tensions, and to sneezing.”

Fact is, most women need this stimulation in order to reach an orgasm. During an orgasm, the “pleasure center” of the brain lights up. The “pleasure center” reinforces that something is enjoyable and desirable. This area of the brain also turns on the “reward circuit.” The “reward circuit” includes all kinds of pleasure: sex, laughter, and even certain kinds of drug use. In the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, a team of scientists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands conducted several studies of both men and women to determine brain activity during sexual stimulation. The team used PET scans to illustrate the different areas of the brain that would light up and shut off during sexual activity. In all of the tests, the subjects were scanned while resting, while being sexually stimulated and while having an orgasm.

Interestingly, they discovered that there aren’t too many differences between men’s and women’s brains when it comes to sex. In both, the brain region behind the left eye, called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, shuts down during orgasm. Janniko R. Georgiadis, one of the researchers, said, “It’s the seat of reason and behavioral control. But when you have an orgasm, you lose control.”

If you put in the hard work during the early stages, you’ll both be satisfied in the end. If you ask most women, foreplay is the best part of the lovemaking process; it makes it easier for them to reach an orgasm with you. However, foreplay isn’t just for the ladies. Men, you might notice, that as you get older, it takes a little longer for the trouser snake to rise up to the occasion. Foreplay helps get the blood pumping to all the right places and it also heightens your desire for sex. This also increases the quality of your sex. Just don’t get carried and “peak” too soon.

When it comes to foreplay, it’s important to understand two things: men tend to get stimulation in a visual form and for women, sex begins in their brains. What does this mean? You shouldn’t head straight for her genitals. If you’re unsure, an honest and caring conversation is a good start. Letting her know that she’s wanted for more than just sex and that you care about her while slowing stroking and massaging her will help you begin the process of foreplay. As her body responds to your urges, she will begin to open up and respond.

“Foreplay is crucial for good sex. It’s not just an old wives’ tale that foreplay is something that people should spend more time doing,” says Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, in Bloomington. Foreplay isn’t something to be rushed. There’s a reason why most people call it an art. If you’re unsure of where to start, begin with kissing and a bit of dirty talk and slowly feeling each other’s bodies to see what triggers a response.

In the long term, foreplay will help you maintain a long term relationship and also guarantee sexual satisfaction for both partners. It will also help you both remain emotionally and physically connected meaning even better sex down the road. Overall, it’s a win/win for both partners so don’t ignore the foreplay.

Foreplay, or as most women call it, “the entire point of sex,” is most commonly known as everything you do before intercourse. Whether it involves making out, caressing each other in spoon position, cute li’l neck smooches, oral sex, fingering, spanking, humping, dirty talk, back massages, or even just a quick text detailing what you want to do to them later, foreplay is all the sensual play before the “big event,” whatever that means to you!

Foreplay is especially important for women to feel excited and turned on enough to enjoy penetrative sex, as jumping right into P-in-V without anything leading up to it can feel any combination of boring, uncomfortable, or even painful. Even a quickie should be preceded with some kind of lead-up for it to be fun for both parties involved.

Of course, as Carol Queen, staff sexologist at the adult toy store Good Vibrations, points out, this definition assumes that penetrative intercourse is the definition of sex. “Calling it foreplay in that sense is heteronormative. I call them ‘arousal activities.’” For instance, some LGBTQ couples do not engage in penetration and consider other things like oral sex as the main event. Therefore, calling oral sex “foreplay” could be a noninclusive way of looking at sex. But also, looking at foreplay as the appetizer and not a meal of its own can make it seem like it’s less important than a man’s orgasm via vaginal or anal intercourse.

Queen goes on to explain, “Think of foreplay as the activities that are most likely to build up arousal, however they culminate. Sex doesn’t have to be a linear experience starting with a kiss and ending up with intercourse.”


As long as consent is involved, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to foreplay. If oral sex is the main attraction, for example, then the touching and rubbing that lead up to it will provide the arousal you may need beforehand. Queen points out that any activity that gets a person “aroused enough to have fun with the other stuff” is foreplay.

Some classic foreplay faves include:

  • Nibbling earlobes
  • Sucking and biting someone’s neck
  • Licking and sucking nipples
  • French kissing
  • Caressing and squeezing breasts
  • Stroking a man’s penis
  • Stroking a woman’s clit
  • Licking and kissing an anus
  • Lightly caressing someone all over their body
  • Fingering a vagina
  • Fingering an anus
  • Spanking someone’s ass
  • Playing with testicles
  • Telling him he’s good at guitar
  • Telling her you like her poetry

On top of that, you can also focus on specific body parts, such as the pubic bone or back of your partner’s neck. Again, the fun of it is all in taking the pressure off yourselves to make your partner orgasm—as long as it feels good to both people, you’re on the right track!

Related Terms


Blow job

Hand job


Foreplay in Pop Culture

Okay, while The Holiday is a seasonal rom-com classic, it has one major flaw: the scene where Cameron Diaz and Jude Law hook up for the first time and they agree that foreplay is “overrated.” What a random, misinformed, genuinely unhelpful sexual opinion to throw into the world. But also—they literally DO engage in foreplay by making out a lot?

Let’s move on: The Notebook is basically just two straight hours of foreplay. Don’t mind if I do!

The iconic “Lover Boy” scene from the classic film Dirty Dancing also shows palpable arousal building. From the way they get close but not-quite-touching close to the flirty gazes, it’s a wonder they didn’t just do it right there in the rehearsal studio.

Call Me by Your Name features one of the most agonizingly foreplay-y kisses of all time. You can literally feel how much they both want each other, and it HURTS.

And finally, the scene in A Star Is Born where Jackson sensually brushes his finger along Ally’s nose (accompanied by the sexiest lighting ever) totally counts as foreplay.


Case in point: Pick your favorite movie sex scene or most beloved fictional onscreen duo and there’s bound to be some foreplay involved. Sex is just not sex without it.

Julia Pugachevsky Sex and Relationships Editor I’m a Sex and Relationships Editor for Cosmo’s Snapchat Discover, which you should definitely subscribe to :).

Done right, foreplay can be just as good as the main event. But whether you’re in a long-term relationship or first-time hookup, it tends to get overlooked. Part of the reason? It’s easy for foreplay tips to feel a little contrived: Start by making out, move on to some over-the-bra action, make your way below the belt. But foreplay doesn’t have to be quite so paint-by-the-numbers. We asked sex therapists and experts to weigh in with their favorite foreplay tips and ideas—and you’re going to want to try them all the next time you get frisky.

1. Relive Your Best Moments

Relationship fact: The early days of your romance tend to be the hottest and heaviest. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still capture that gotta-have-you-now passion. Next time you and your partner are getting intimate, use those early hookups as inspiration to recreate one of your past encounters, says sexologist Barbara Winter, Ph.D. This can start before sex—for example, going to one of your old date-night spots or wearing the same clothes you wore during a hot moment at the beginning of your relationship. Then, later in the night, break out a move you used to do in bed that really turned you both on.

2. Start Off Outside the Bedroom

Another hallmark of hot early hookups is that they don’t necessarily happen in the bedroom. If you want to make things more spontaneous, try initiating foreplay in the kitchen, office, garage, or anywhere else where you don’t typically do it, says sex and relationship coach Claudia Six, Ph.D. “It’s the unexpected that keeps things interesting,” she says. You can either lead your partner to the bedroom afterward or just have sex right then and there. You might be surprised how many places to have sex you’ve been overlooking.

3. Talk Dirty

Dirty talk can be ridiculously effective for getting turned on—it’s an especially good way to initiate foreplay. Not sure where to start? No need to overthink it. Sometimes the most effective dirty talk can be as simple as just stating exactly what you want your partner to do to you in your most seductive voice.

4. Experiment With Temperature

Heat and cold can both add a lot to the sensations you’re already feeling. One way to play with temperature is to suck on ice cubes and lick each other’s erogenous zones. Or you can try dripping warm wax on each other’s bodies (just make sure to get your partner’s permission first) or by using warming lube. Either tactic—or the two combined—should create “a delicious shiver,” says Six.

5. Do a Little Dance

Looking to up the ante during foreplay? Have your partner sit on the bed, put on an anthem that always has you feelin’ yourself (cough, anything by Rihanna, cough) and give him or her a lap dance. For some added excitement, have your partner start off fully dressed so you can personally remove their garments one by one. Or if you’re feeling extra bold, do your dance in the buff.

6. Make Foreplay an All-Day Event

Foreplay doesn’t need to be limited to the bedroom. Whether it’s sexy texts throughout the day, stolen kisses while you’re doing errands, or discreetly flashing your partner in the back of a cab, foreplay can star well before the main event. Tease each other throughout the entire day for extra heat.

7. Do the Unexpected

If all your intimate encounters are starting to look eerily similar, one of the best foreplay tips you can use is to switch things up. For example, if you always get down at night, trying initiating a sex session first thing in the morning. Normally leave the lights off? Try lighting candles instead. Or make a new sex playlist. Just like switching up where you have sex and engage in foreplay, you can switch up how you do it, too.

8. Act Out a Fantasy

Everyone has a sexual fantasy—acting one out is one of the most surefire ways to make all of your partner’s foreplay dreams come true. Have them write down 10 fantasies they have—think: Jon Snow and Daenerys or Jamie and Claire from Outlander—on little slips of paper. Then choose one randomly and act it out. Admittedly, this can feel a little cheesy at first. To help you get past any awkwardness, the experts recommend just trying to keep it up for 30 seconds. Even in that short amount of time, you might find yourselves getting swept up in your roles.

9. Don’t Kiss

Sometimes almost kissing can be as tantalizing as kissing. Hear us out. Get face to face with your partner, either lying down side by side or with one of you on top of the other. Get close enough so that your mouths are just barely touching and your lips are parted—though not actually kissing. Instead, breathe in and out at opposite times, so you’re “trading” breaths—you’re breathing out when they’re breathing in, and you’re breathing in when they’re breathing out. (Just make sure you both brush your teeth first.) It’s simple but deeply intimate—you’ll be surprised at how steamy things get. Do this for about a minute, or as long as you can without ripping each other’s clothes off.

10. Get a Massage

Sometimes the best form of foreplay is as simple as relaxing. When your mind is on a thousand different things—the never-ending to-do list, that cryptic comment from your boss this week, the decorations for your best friend’s bridal shower this weekend—it can be a challenge to really be present and get in the mood with your partner. Giving each other massages is a recipe for relaxation. Make it sexy: Light candles, get naked, pick out a scented massage oil.

11. Watch a Sexy Movie Together

If you and your partner are both into porn or are at least intrigued by it, try checking it out together. Afterward, Winter recommends talking about what you each like and dislike and what you might want to try (or not). Sometimes, it opens you up to ideas you might not have thought of before. Start by looking for feminist porn sites.

12. Mime Each Other’s Moves

Sometimes we can learn a lot about how our partner likes to be touched and kissed by observing how they touch and kiss us. Paying close attention to and mimicking our partner’s moves is not only a fantastic round of foreplay, it can show you how to turn them on in the future. It’s as simple as it sounds: Sit, stand, or lie down facing each other. Then begin miming the other’s moves. If his or her hand reaches to slip your top off, you do the same to them. If your hand wanders down south and starts fondling your partner’s parts, they do the same to you. Try to stick with each other’s pace for as long as you can.

13. Play a Kissing Game

Tell your partner to sit on the sofa or lie down on the bed. Kiss them—on the mouth, the cheeks, the forehead, the ears, the eyelids, the neck, hands, knees, you name it! Here’s the catch: Your partner has to stay totally still. They can’t move, or touch you, or try to kiss you back. When you’ve kissed your partner from head to toe, switch places. The build up and anticipation will have you both dying to get intimate.

14. Be a Tease

Have your partner lie on their back and proceed to play a little game of “getting warmer.” Use your hands (or your mouth) to gently caress different parts of their body. You could start with random spots like the knees or forehead and then move to more erogenous zones. While you’re moving about, ask how your partner is handling the temperature. Keep “getting warmer” until they can’t take it anymore and then switch roles. By the time the game is over you’ll both be on fire.

15. Practice Your Communication Skills

Since everyone has different turn-ons, the best thing you can do is pay attention to what works for you and then try to recreate it, says Winter. Don’t be afraid to let your partner know when they do something that you like. They’ll probably be happy to keep doing whatever gets you going in the future, and they’ll definitely appreciate the positive feedback. Next time you’re having a quiet moment with your partner, start a conversation about what he or she likes during foreplay. Chances are, just talking about it might lead to more…

16. Act Like Strangers

This is the perfect way to switch things up with your partner and bring back those first-date butterflies, says Emily Morse, Ph.D., host of the SiriusXM Radio show and podcast, Sex With Emily. Approach each other at your favorite bar (or a new one you’ve been meaning to try). Then come up with a fun back story, and chat each other up as if it’s the first time you’re meeting. “This is a chance to let go and act out a fantasy you’ve always wanted to try, or simply feel it out in the moment,” Morse says. “You get the thrill of a ‘one-night stand’ without the hassle, or infidelity.”

17. Make a “Yes/No/Maybe” List

If you’re looking for ways to spice up your sex life, downloading a “yes/no/maybe” list from the Internet is a great way for you and your partner get started. According to Morse, these lists can help you determine what you and your partner are willing to try in the bedroom, and include everything from BDSM to sex toys and non-monogamy. Each person goes through the list and marks which items are a yes, a maybe, or a definite no. Review the lists together to see where you and your partner land. “Discussing this can be arousing, but also lead to learning even more about your partner, and exploring something new that you might have never considered before,” Morse says.

See More

  • The 12 Best Places to Have Sex
  • 6 Guys Confess: What They REALLY Think About Foreplay
  • How to (Safely!) Use a Massage Candle During Foreplay

WATCH: Megan Mulally Reacts to Old-Fashioned Sex Advice.

10 Expert-Approved Foreplay Tips to Get Sex Started Off Right

Any good performance requires some preparation. Musicians do their warm-ups before hitting the stage. Athletes sign up for certain exercises before a competition. Speakers do their best to loosen up before heading into a presentation. The idea, at least, is to prime body and mind for the experience they are about to undergo. Of course, it’s worth applying the process to less organized endeavors, as well.


Most of us have established some sort of routine surrounding the way in which we initiate sex. Maybe we lean on a signature move to let our partner know it’s time to get it on. Maybe our approach centers on naughty messages, or “sexts,” as they’re now known. Or maybe, we simply strip down to our bare bits. Whatever the move may be, these actions and intentions all fall under the umbrella of foreplay. And foreplay, we know, is one of the most important ingredients to good sex. Still, sometimes recipes grow stale and you need to rethink the menu. Here then are 10 expert-recommended foreplay moves that help start things off right.

Stimulate Her From Afar

We typically associate the term “foreplay” with flesh-to-flesh encounters. We think about the stuff we do when already naked. But, remember, foreplay can commence even before these kinds of interactions begin.

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“Don’t just begin the foreplay a few minutes before you’re hoping to have sex,” says Isabella Frappier, a holistic wellness coach who specializes in sexuality. “For most women, foreplay begins the moment the last sexual encounter ends, so carry that sexual energy through and hold it for her.” She suggests sending a few flirty messages throughout the day. Her sexting advice: “Send words of affirmation and compliment,” she says. “Remind her of all the sexual things you are excited to do to her.”

Seriously, Stimulate Her From Afar

Of course, there’s another way to entertain that kind long-distance loving for those aren’t exactly good with words. Smart vibrators are now a thing, and they can help us stimulate our partners from afar. Seriously. You can sync up most devices to a smartphone. Grab the code, ask your partner to get ready, and have fun controlling their buzz from far away.


Whisper Something Dirty In Her Ear

“Most women are very mentally wired, sexually,” says Frappier. Keeping that in mind, it’s worth entertaining some verbal activity before jumping into the physical stuff. Whisper something sexy into your partner’s ear. It will give her a mental map of where the evening is going. If you’re having a hard time coming up with original material, borrow a line from some of the erotic literature floating around the web. Once she wraps her mind around the experience, her body will follow.

Tease Her — And Yourself

Those moments of we-must-rip-our-clothes-off-and-get-down-to-business-now passion are great. But during more ordinary nights it’s important to not go for the gold right away. “Keep away from her genitals and breasts for as long as you can stand,” suggests Frappier. “Cover her body in kisses and light fingertip touches, watching and observing her closely to see what she responds best to.” As is often the case with real sex, the hungrier you are for it, the better it’s going to be.


Mess With the Senses

“Blindfold and tie up your partner to tease them and edge them,” suggests Stephanie Alys, co-founder and Chief Pleasure Officer of MysteryVibe, referring to the idea of bringing them close — but not fully to — pleasure. “This will heighten their other senses, tuning them into your every move and every touch.” If that doesn’t do it for you, bring in the reinforcements. Throw an ice cube into the mix. Tickle your partner with a feather. Experiment with pressure play. All are good ways to get the body primed for a new and orgasmic experience.

Bust Out an Erotic Massage

Unlike some other forms of foreplay, erotic massage allows you to hit the under-appreciated erogenous zones as well as the more explicit bits. It’s a full-body exercise, and one that will leave her primed for whatever else you two have planned. Consider using something like coconut oil, which can be used as both massage oil and lube.


Perform For One Another

You can learn a lot from taking a passive stance. “Ask your partner to touch themselves,” suggests Alys. “Watch how they like to be touched and let them watch you touch yourself.” Of course, it is also important to catch their gaze from time to time. “Eye contact during sex is important for releasing dopamine and oxytocin, the lust and love bonding hormones,” she says.

Take It Into Shower

Few places are better suited for a sexual encounter than the bathroom. After all, it’s a small steamy room designed to host naked bodies. Try bringing the erotic exchange into the shower. Get touchy, and get wet. Just be sure to follow these tips for great shower sex.


Go Down To Get Down

As we have reported on time and time, and – oh yeah – time again, penetrative sex is not a very reliable way to give a woman an orgasm. So why not do her a favor and get her off before intercourse begins.

“Oral is a beautiful way to help her relax and receive pleasure,” says Frappier. It’s also one of the positions that caters to clitoral stimulation. And the more of that she receives, the more likely she’ll be to attain orgasm. Of course, it’s not all about the clitoris. There are a lot of other places to entertain while you’re down there. Alys suggests heading for the perineum, the area between the genitals and the anus. “Don’t forget about this underrated pleasure point,” she says.

Bring In Good Vibes

Touch is an integral activity to incorporate into the sexual cycle. But, as humans, we have a limited ability with what we can do with it. Try introducing in a vibrator or sex toy to deliver even more intense stimulation.


“Vibrator technology helps to stimulate blood flow by relaxing and contracting the muscles and nerve endings,” explains Alys. “They can be used across different erogenous zones throughout the body. Try the back of their neck, their inner arm and their inner thigh, as close as you like to their genitals.”

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Foreplay is a much more crucial piece of the pie than it’s often credited to be. In fact, it can be the difference between a good sexual experience and a bad one.

So what do sexperts want us to know about foreplay? Here’s the 411.

1. Treat it like an appetizer and always order one

Too often, couples forgo foreplay altogether and speed ahead to intercourse. And in doing so, they may be setting themselves up for failure. “The word ‘foreplay’ sounds like something subordinate, like an appetizer with intercourse as the main course,” says Dr. Susan Block, a sex therapist known as “Dr. Suzy” and the author of The Ten Commandments of Pleasure. “When it comes to eating, lots of people like to skip the appetizer. That’s fine for food, but skipping foreplay is rarely a good idea for sex. The right foreplay can send you from 0 to 1,000 on the horniness scale.”

More: 7 Sexy foreplay moves that every couple should try

2. Foreplay and sexual satisfaction go hand-in-hand, especially for women

It’s a fact: Women typically need foreplay to have good sex. That’s a really good reason not to cut corners with it. “Foreplay is really important for most women because we tend to take a longer time to get into the mood,” Block says. “Usually it’s women who complain that men want to skip to the main course of intercourse, but often we need more time to open up. Foreplay helps lubrication flow and makes intercourse all the more pleasurable.”

3. Sensuality is the secret to great foreplay

“Sensuality is key — holding hands; nearness of heads on shoulders; caressing hair, arms, back and so on,” says Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D., a licensed couples therapist and the author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t!. “It builds up sexual tension and arousal.”

4. You should keep doing it during sex, not just before

“Stretching out the sensuality is very erotic: No rushing from caressing to intercourse,” Raymond advises. Instead, foreplay is something to be lingered over, says Raymond and other experts. After all, it’s often the longest part of the entire sexual encounter. “Foreplay is a bad name because it sounds like something you start doing and then stop doing,” says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist and the author of 50 Great Myths About Human Sexuality. “It’s seduction, conversation, touching the body … it’s all that, and that should go on throughout lovemaking.”

More: 10 Woman-in-charge sex positions

Over time, she says, couples try to get more efficient with sex at the expense of satisfying foreplay. “Most people get lazy about it as a relationship progresses so that unfortunately there is a kind of efficiency that sets in: Let’s just get this orgasm accomplished,” explains Schwartz. “It’s so shortened that it takes a lot of pleasure away.”

5. Don’t ignore other parts of the body during foreplay

All too frequently, people tend to go right for the erogenous zones when they’re in bed. That’s nice, and all, but there are other parts of the body that shouldn’t be overlooked during sex and touching them helps build up excitement. “The biggest mistake people make with women is to jump to the genitals right away and ignore the face, the neck, the earlobes and just about anything else,” Schwartz says.

More: 5 Ways to seduce him without touch

Raymond tells couples to “savor the whole body rather than just try to get arousal through kissing and then move to intercourse. The abruptness of it makes it feel like the foreplay was just a con!” She suggests learning where your partner’s erogenous zones are but then waiting a bit before doing anything with them. “Don’t shoot for them right away,” she says. “Allow the anticipation — like a tease.”

6. Talk about what you want to get the most out of it

Communication is the key to good foreplay, say the experts, both beforehand and during the act itself. “Talk about what you want out of bed,” Schwartz suggests. “Don’t sit there and try to be polite in the moment. Have a sexy conversation with your partner about what you like … when you’re not under the stress of excitement or worried about criticism or anything like that.” And keep talking about it; one chat won’t do it. “It takes checking in over time,” she says. “Just because something was effective as foreplay last night doesn’t mean the same thing will work tonight.” It’s also important to give your partner feedback in the moment, says Block. “During foreplay, it’s good to make sounds and say, ‘This feels good,’” she says.

7. Foreplay isn’t always what you’d expect

Think outside the box when it comes to what to do as foreplay. Even though most of us just focus on the “fooling around” part of it, there are other things that can serve as great foreplay too — whether it’s massage, dirty dancing, wearing a sexy outfit, doing a little striptease or just holding hands. “Flirting is a form of foreplay,” says Block. “And women universally enjoy massage. Receiving a shoulder massage might be just the foreplay we need to relax into sex.” Of course, other more obvious forms are almost always turn-ons for women too — especially oral sex, Block says. But don’t forget about all those enticing little tidbits that can put you in the mood too.

Bottom line: Foreplay is just as important as sex itself, if not more so, especially for women. So treat it that way!

“Most women need a lot of foreplay because we tend to be double-taskers and are doing a lot of things, so getting into the mood for sex isn’t as easy for us,” Block says. “When we’re thinking about the kids and the laundry, it’s good to have foreplay get us slowly and gradually into the mood.”

Dates that end with lovemaking often begin with dining out, so that the meal itself can be seen as a form of sexual foreplay — in more ways than one. How many times has this happened to you: You take your woman out to dinner at a nice restaurant. The waiter takes your drink orders and tells you of the specials, a busboy brings you a choice of savory breads, and you get down to the business of perusing the menu. Your eye is on the right side of the page — steak? lobster? steak and lobster? — when your date announces, “I think I’ll just have a salad and a couple of appetizers.”

At this juncture you might say something like, “Are you crazy? You’ll be starving later!” But she insists she knows her appetite and enough of those little things make, for her, a full and satisfying meal.

So it is with sexual foreplay. A lot of men don’t think they’ve had sex unless they have had full-on sexual intercourse — the meat and potatoes of many men’s sex lives, if not the steak and lobster. Skeptical as they are of the nourishment value of the proverbial small plates, they tend to rush toward the entrée and insist they’re not really dining otherwise. They don’t see the value of sexual foreplay in lovemaking — the well-placed nibble and stroke, the suckle and bite — even if that is what women often want.

Or at least that’s what they say about us. “It kind of depends how much these people read,” Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a marriage and family therapist and board-certified sex therapist in Fair Oaks, Calif., says of men’s attitudes about lovemaking and sexual foreplay. “If they are at all readers, they are likely to have come across the idea someplace that most women enjoy the idea of foreplay.”

Why Men Have a Fear of Foreplay

If you missed that article in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, you are not alone. A sensitive, well-read man may indeed have encountered this notion of sexual pleasure, but most of us have probably filed it under Forget. “I think it’s fair to say men are still afraid of women’s bodies,” says Mark Epstein, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan and author of Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life. “Exploration of female sexuality is still something that can be perfected.”

Skipping THIS Will Make Your Sex Life 100X Hotter

This might just blow your mind…

As much as I have written about spoiling sessions, extended sex dates, and becoming an expert on your partner’s sexual arousal, there’s something that I feel like I have left out of the equation from my writing.

That’s right… quickies.

It’s easy for quickies to get the cold shoulder.

They might not open your heart as deeply… but they also don’t take hours of planning, foreplay, or communication.

Because sometimes being taken and fucked against a wall is just what the doctor ordered. Or in a stair well… or in front of a mirror… or on the kitchen counter… you get the picture.

Maybe you and your partner are about to go your separate ways for work and the mood strikes you.

Maybe they walk past you in a certain way when you were trying to concentrate on reading your book.

Or maybe you haven’t seen each other in almost a week because one of you was traveling and “Holy fuck I just need to have you right now!”

It doesn’t matter what the reason is.

Quickies are amazing.

Need some convincing to occasionally skip the extended foreplay?

Here are the top three reasons that you should incorporate quickies into your sexual repertoire more often.

1. The lack of foreplay can be the foreplay

(Heads up: this actually might be my favorite metaphor I’ve ever come up with to date. Enjoy!)

Imagine these two scenarios…

You step your way up to a ridiculously high quality buffet where every single piece of food was created by a world-class chef with three Michelin stars.

In scenario one, you have three hours to browse, sample, and nibble on all of the various tastes available to you. It’s amazing. You feel so fortunate. And at the end you are completely full and satisfied.

That is what an all-evening, extended sex date feels like. You (and your partner) both get to take your time and truly savour the experience.

In scenario two, you have access to all of the same, high quality, chef-prepared foods, but there’s a timer going and you have FIVE MINUTES to stuff your face with all of this deliciousness. You don’t even get cutlery or a plate. Just use your god damned hands and cram it all in there.

While the second scenario is likely going to be a lot less satiating in terms of total caloric intake, it is also going to feel like one of the most beastly, ravenous gorge fests in recent memory. You will be left sweaty, and messy, and thinking, “That was amazing. I’m so glad I just dove right in there.”

That is the nature of the quickie. No planning. No napkins. Little to no manners. Just a sexual pleasure free for all.

2. It’s that much easier to be selfish

I’ve talked before about the light side and dark side of our sexual desires (a la yin and yang). Neither side is wrong, or right, or better than the other. They are two halves of the same whole.

And most people tend to have a deeper/easier relationship to their light side. What does this mean and why is it relevant?

It means that people (at least the people who most often read my writing) tend to have a bit more reluctance being selfish, and taking care of their own sexual needs.

Quickies are one of the best ways to get real, raw, and honest about your sexual needs. Again with the gourmet buffet analogy… if you only have five minutes to grab whatever most appeals to you, you’re going to have that much easier of a time being forthcoming and assertive with your desires.

Grab that body part of theirs that you love so much. Touch yourself where you need to be touched to climax as quickly as possible. Put your lips all over them and be greedy about it.

Selfish is great. Selfish is healthy. Assuming you are in a relationship with someone whose boundaries you already know and respect, you are allowed to take what you want within all of your preset parameters. If the food is on the table and ready to be taken, shove whatever you want in to your craving, wet mouth.

3. Quickies re-connect you with your raw desire for your partner

If the majority of your sexual play with your partner is either of the 10-20 minute formulaic lovemaking set or the 2-4 hour extended exploratory style… then you may have started to take certain parts of their body for granted just because you’re so used to them.

There’s something extremely sexy about objectifying your long-term partner. Objectify tends to have a hint of “to demean” to it that I disagree with. This is one thing that I picked up during my years of being in the BDSM/play party scene. It is absolutely possible (and easy, and hot, and loving) to perceive your partner as an object… a fuck toy… a thing to use for your pleasure… as their mind and body do the exact same thing to you. Because, let’s get real, when you’re in the middle of a quickie you aren’t getting hard/wet thinking about how moral and kind your partner is… you’re latching on to whatever parts of them you need to to get yourself off as quickly as possible. And that’s beautiful. I mean really, is there anything more romantic than that?

Quickies are great. They are a totally healthy part of any sexual relationship. Not to mention the bevy of health benefits from having regular sex (reduced risk of prostate cancer, healthier skin, better sleep, increased creativity, and overall heart health, just to name a few). On the relationship front, increased sexual frequency also correlates with better communication, and more highly ranked overall relationship satisfaction for both men and women.

So give quickies a shot… especially if it’s been a while since your last one.

Do it in the morning upon waking. When they’ve just gotten out of the shower (or while they’re in the shower). Or when one of you is about to go off to work for the day.

I would say put it in your calendar and “make time” for it… but even that is barely necessary.

Sex and relationship coach Jordan Gray helps people remove their emotional blocks and maintain thriving intimate relationships. You can see more of his writing at JordanGrayConsulting.com

This article was originally published at Jordan Gray Consulting. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Foreplay is like an appetizer to the main course. Sure, your medium-rare filet mignon will taste okay alone. But wouldn’t it be even better if you started off your taste buds with a bread basket, Caesar salad, and some prosciutto? That’s an absolute yes.

And well, sex works just like food does. Appetizers don’t take away your hunger, they enhance it—as does foreplay with actual P-in-V sex. Sometimes, it can even be better than the sex itself. So when things are getting hot with your partner, don’t skip right to the sex. Here are 15 places to definitely stimulate during foreplay to make the grand finale taste extra yummy.

Inner bicep and tricep area

I don’t know about you, but I giggle every time someone touches me here. And if some area makes you ticklish, that’s almost a surefire guarantee it can be a hot spot on your body when you’re in the ~mood~.

Not only is it super sensitive, which can be extremely erotic, but it’s also an easy pleasure point to stimulate. “Make circular motions with your tongue lightly enough to stimulate the area,” says Danny Becker, sexologist at TheEnhancedMale.com. “The skin gets thinner when you get closer to the inner elbow, so use that area to drive your partner wild.” And psst, the lighter the pressure, the better it feels.

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Around the eyes

Besides the normal parts of your body most often sexualized as erogenous zones, the area around your peepers can be just as sensual and sexual. “Use your thumbs to gently stroke their brows and place gentle kisses on their lids,” says Jill McDevitt, PhD, CalExotics’ resident sexoloist. “There’s a ton of intimacy that can come from deep eye contact and gentle face-stroking like this.”


“The clavicle and the grooves below it can be highly responsive to light touch,” says Jess O’Reilly, PhD, Astroglide’s resident sexologist. Although it’s a random part on your body, your partner can use it to stimulate you in ways you didn’t know existed. “Run the backs of your fingers over the bone and use your tongue along the underside of them,” says O’Reilly.


Full disclosure: You need to check in with your partner to make sure they’re okay with any foot/toe play before you go shrimpin’ since you low-key might get kicked in the face if you don’t. But once you get the go-ahead, “licking or sucking them can be extremely erotic because toes are very sensitive,” says sex expert and relationship therapist Jane Greer, aka Dr. Greer.

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The earlobes

Xanet Pailet, author of Living an Orgasmic Life, says the ears and earlobes are extremely sensitive for many people. “Nibbling on the earlobes, licking behind their ear, and blowing gently in someone’s ear or telling them sexy things can be a huge turn-on.” She adds that there are even some women (herself included) who can have eargasms just from this sort of stimulation.

The scalp

Pailet also points out that the scalp has a ton of nerve endings and should definitely be on your list of ~sensitive spots~. After all, who doesn’t love a good head massage? She suggests running your hands through their hair or lightly grabbing their hair at the nape of their neck.

Back of the neck and shoulders

Continuing down from the scalp to the nape of the neck brings us to the back of the neck and shoulders. Pailet says that lightly tickling this area can prove extra sensitive. If you and your partner are up for it, some light nibbles or love bites can also help ramp up arousal.


Susan Kaye, PhD, a sexologist in Texas, says your hands are also a very important body part to focus on during foreplay. “Our hands have the same amount of nerve endings as our genitals,” she adds. She suggests closing your partner’s eyes, taking their hands, and slowly guiding them to brush your face with their fingertips, down over your neck, your shoulders, your breasts, and to any other sensitive spots. Use touch to show them exactly how you like to be touched.

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The pubic bone

According to Genevieve Duarte, a tantric massage expert at White Lotus East in New York City, the start to a truly arousing tantric massage lies with stimulating the surrounding areas of your partner’s body before going straight for the genitals and orgasm. Duarte previously explained that gently massaging the pubic bone can unlock lots of erotic potential. If you’re ready to work in more erogenous zone stimulation, you can go for lightly massaging the perineum—the area between the penis and butthole—with a couple fingers. Duarte suggests holding his penis upward against his body in place while you try this one.

The ultra-sensitive border around the lips

The buccal nerve, which surrounds the edges of the mouth, has untapped potential to stimulate when you’re kissing. “This area is extremely sensitive to touch, but it’s often overlooked since most people focus on the plump part of the lips,” says clinical sexologist Rachael Ross, MD, PhD. If you try lightly tracing the tip of your finger around the edges of your mouth (like you’re putting on lip liner), you’ll experience a tingly, almost ticklish feeling.

When you’re making out, you don’t need to lick around his entire mouth to get the benefits—that would be weird. Instead, kiss your partner as you normally do, then use the tip of your tongue to trace the edge of his upper lip lightly. Pull back and playfully kiss him again, then trace the border of his bottom lip.

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The nipples

Patti Britton, PhD, Los Angeles–based clinical sexologist and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sensual Massage, previously explained the value of nipple play. This goes doubly so for men, because according to Britton, “their nipples are uncharted territory—an erogenous zone they haven’t experimented with.”

What’s more, you can show him exactly what you like done to your bod by acting it out on him. Gently flick them with your tongue, bite them, stroke them, whatever gets those nips a-poppin’.

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That sexy dip where neck meets chest

The entire area between your jawline and shoulders is an erogenous zone, but there’s one particular destination that’ll spark more goose bumps than any other part. “It’s that little indentation where the neck connects with the collarbone,” says Leah Millheiser, MD, director of female sexual medicine at Stanford Medical Center. “The skin is thinner there and there’s not as much fatty tissue underneath, so the sensations are stronger.” In other words, touching this area feels damn good.

As you kiss down his or her neck, trail the tips of your index and middle fingers from one shoulder to the dip in the center, lingering to swirl your fingers in a slow, circular motion. Then move your mouth over the spot and kiss it, using your breath to warm the area.

The sides of the torso

Snaking from the bottom of the rib cage to the hips is a powerful nerve that, when stimulated, connects directly to your clitoris and your partner’s penis. “When you touch this area, it reflexively causes the pelvic-floor muscles to contract in both men and women, which increases arousal,” says Dr. Ross.

You’ll want to use a firmer touch here, since it’s more ticklish than other spots. Start on one side, just underneath the rib cage, and either stroke the area with your hand or alternate between kissing (apply more pressure than usual with your lips) and lightly nibbling your way down to the hip bone.

That mound on the lower back

The knob at the base of the spine is rife with nerves and therefore arousal potential. To take advantage, give each other a massage.

Start at the shoulder blades and work your hands down in a kneading motion. At the lower back, switch to a softer touch, and lightly spiral your fingers over the base. “This area is so receptive, just the softest touch will send chills throughout the body,” says Dr. Ross.

You can also lightly graze your cheek against the area—the unexpected skin on skin sparks an increase in the excitement hormone dopamine. Then softly kiss and trace your tongue along the same spot (just make sure he’s shaved before he tries this on you). Try brushing the tips of your hair against the skin and then switch to raking your fingernails gently across it to deepen the sensation.

The trail on the thighs

One of the most explosive nerves in the body is located at the top of the inner thigh. “It’s called the ilioinguinal nerve, and it’s incredibly sensitive to touch,” says Dr. Millheiser.

In fact, it’s best to save it for last and work your way up to it. Start by licking your finger (the wetness increases the stimulation) and slowly drawing it from the mid–inner thigh to the top. Then follow the path you just traced with your tongue, teasing your way to the upper region.

Related Story Carina Hsieh Sex & Relationships Editor Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals. Taylor Andrews Taylor is one of the sex and relationship editors who can tell you exactly which vibrators are worth the splurge, why you’re still dreaming about your ex, and tips on how to have the best sex of your life (including what word you should spell with your hips during cowgirl sex)—oh, and you can follow her on Instagram here.

Photo: Getty Images / Markus Amon

Do you really know what women want when things get hot and heavy? Or are you blithely unaware, resorting to your catalog of porn to pull out moves you assume are successful, because damn, those women seem to be enjoying it? While adult films have, for better or worse, become a de-facto form of sex education, what you see on screen is sometimes just for show.

Lucky for you, we asked 10 real-life women in their 20s what they want in bed. Some advice is straightforward (thankfully), but there are also a few subtleties here worth taking notes on.

They told us exactly what you need to know.

1. Take your sweet time.
“Spend more time teasing me before and during sex. Kiss and touch me all over, and make sure I’m really turned on before we have sex. Mix fast and rough passion with slower, gentle touches. Guys have become too impatient and selfish in their love-making.”
-Viktoria, 22

2. Be verbal.
“Guys love it when girls moan, but they rarely do it themselves. It’s so hot when guys swear and grunt in pleasure during sex. It shows he’s really into it, which turns me on even more.”
-Amy, 21

3. Use your hands.
“Use your fingers and rub my clit while we’re having sex. Like most women, I can’t orgasm from penetration alone, so get your fingers busy. Reach around and get me off with your hand when you’re fucking me from behind.”
-Olivia, 28

4. Don’t be afraid to get a little kinky.
“I like freaky, rough sex, but all but one of the guys I’ve ever slept with have stuck to plain, vanilla sex. I want a man to spank my ass, lick my inner thigh, tie my hands together, and whisper something dirty in my ear while we have sex.”
-Dana, 25

5. Undress her slowly.
“Undress me slowly to make things sexier. Ripping our clothes off is hot sometimes, but what I really want is to be unwrapped like a present, slowly and deliberately, and for my sexy lingerie to be appreciated, because it’s all for you.”
-Selen, 22

6. Make sure you take care of her needs.
“When men finish, that’s the end of it. All they focus on is finishing. Guys need to control that urge and give the chick time to enjoy. Make sure I have an orgasm too before you roll over and pass out.”
-Talia, 24

7. More hot sex positions.
“I wish my guy would surprise me with some hot positions that are different than what we normally do, because I’m really over missionary and doggy style. Put my legs on your shoulders, or pick me up and take me to the kitchen and fuck me on the counter.”
-Jess, 29

8. Go down on her.
“I love it when a guy goes down on me, especially if he knows what he’s doing. Kiss a trail from my neck all the way down, and eat me out. If only men realized how hot that is…”
-Camille, 27

9. Look her in the eye.
“Sex is way, way sexier when it’s intimate, and kissing and eye contact during sex is so hot. It makes everything feel so much more passionate, and that is a massive turn-on. Make out with me while you’re inside me, and kiss my neck and shoulders and everything else.”
-Kat, 22

10. When it comes to foreplay, think outside the box.
“I like foreplay more than actually having sex, but foreplay is always over too fast and too soon. Tease me, talk dirty, and finger me until I’m dripping wet.”
-Gracie, 24

Gentlemen, you heard it from the ladies themselves. You know what to do.

Traditionally, “foreplay” was considered to be something that a man had to do to get his partner ready for sexual intercourse. Today, foreplay has become an integral part of the whole lovemaking experience.

It is true that impromptu sexual encounters without foreplay can sometimes be some of the best sexual experiences, but in general, most women will agree that good sexual encounters mean that you learn the importance of foreplay. A more vigilant form of foreplay will bring increased pleasure to both partners, and make the whole lovemaking experience more enjoyable.

Spice Up Your Sex Life

Especially with age, both partners will need a little extra spice to get fully aroused and achieve maximum pleasure. Hence you need to learn the importance of foreplay. The man will need to prolong foreplay to get an erection and the woman will need the same to become properly lubricated. Most sex experts agree that there is no such thing as spending too much time on foreplay. The trick is to start intercourse when both partners are peaking with excitement and are having a hard time controlling their desires.

What Is Foreplay?

You’ve gotta learn the importance of foreplay, which can encompass a wide range of activities, including hugging, fondling, undressing, kissing, petting, and performing oral sex. Why is foreplay so important? First of all, men who cuddle and kiss their partners and know how to enjoy sensitive foreplay will often find that their partners will not only enjoy sexual intercourse more, but will also see their partners reach orgasm more easily. Most women need prolonged stimulation in order to reach a state of complete arousal, and foreplay will provide them with the required stimulation.

No Ultimate Foreplay

There is no such thing as the ultimate foreplay, and it is not about pressing the right buttons in the right order. It is about understanding what makes your partner get hot and delivering the things that make her experience intense pleasure. All women are different. Some get off on being lightly kissed all over their necks while others enjoy direct oral stimulation.There are many ways to give your partner extreme sensations, but one thing is for sure: It all begins in her brain.

Simply tell her how beautiful she is and how much you appreciate her sexy body. By complimenting her appearance, especially if her confidence level is low, you are giving her added security and excitement, as well as giving her good reasons to go all out with the foreplay.

More From AskMen.com

— Foreplay Tips

— 5 Fun Foreplay Positions

— AM Rule Refresher: Foreplay First

— Sexual Positions Women Enjoy

— Sexual Body Language

Set the Mood

To learn the importance of foreplay you have to know how to set the mood. The next step is paying attention to romantic details. Creating the right environment for sexual intercourse can be crucial, especially at mature stages in the relationship. For example, make sure the room is warm, the lighting subdued, and the sheets clean. Once the mood is right, take the time to undress her because the act of removing your partner’s clothes can be an important part of foreplay.

Many have found that undressing increases the eroticism, it stimulates and intensifies the feeling.Often, women spend a lot of money on nice lingerie because it makes them feel sexy and they want it to stay on for a while. Instead of getting her completely naked, remove her bra strap, kiss her shoulder, then put it back on again. Do the same with her underwear, and, again; compliment how good she looks in it.

Kissing and Foreplay

During foreplay, go as slow as you can. This will tease her. Begin by kissing and caressing her. A kiss is usually the first physical expression of desire but it is also often forgotten during sexual intercourse. During intercourse, you should kiss every part of your partner’s body and not be restricted to the mouth. Most women complain that their partners don’t kiss long enough and rush the movement directly to the genital area. Don’t be shy to experiment on every part of her body and remember to prolong the foreplay with more kissing and caressing.

A Good Time for Learning

This article focused on the importance of foreplay as it is a learning experience. Foreplay is the perfect time to spend understanding what your partner likes because without that, you will never learn what she really needs to be fully stimulated. Don’t be shy; ask for feedback and also give your own. Both partners profit from good communication during foreplay and lovemaking. Also, without cutting the intensity of the moment, ask her what she really likes and what makes her go wild.

The Time of Her Life

As a general rule, if she is satisfied with her sexual experience, she will usually make sure that you are satisfied as well. Good luck, and remember that only practice makes perfect. Don’t ever forget the importance of foreplay.

Why foreplay is important?

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