Foreplay is largely referred to as a range of erotic physical stimulation that takes place prior to “real” sex or sexual intercourse that in men stimulate erection and in women lubrication. It involves behaviours that are sexually pleasurable and often involves the use of the tongue, fingers, hair, breast or a sex toy to give and receive an all-over body sensory experience through scrumptious kissing, fondling, and licking, nibbling, and sucking.
However, most sex experts today believe that behaviours that are commonly labelled as foreplay are pleasurable sexual activities in their own right and need not be thought of as only preliminary to other activities. Most find this objectionable as it implies that everything else is but a warm-up for intercourse, its fixed end point. Suggestions such as “loveplay” “outercourse”, and “noncoital sex play” are considered better terms as they include everything, take pressure off everybody, and doesn’t seem quite so desperately goal-oriented.
When it comes to foreplay, sexual pleasuring, such as oral and manual stimulation should be considered as self-contained features of a dynamic, ever-evolving sexual menu, of which intercourse is but one. There’s therefore need for a deviation from the norm that sex is just about achieving an orgasm – the peak sexual experience – and consider sex rather as “the whole” incredibly intimate sexual journey that partners embark to reach the ultimate pleasure. The pleasure is in the experience of the whole journey and not just the final destination itself and none of the activities on this journey being deemed hierarchically superior to the other.
Foreplay should therefore be considered as part of a broader sexual interaction, an essential component that stimulates and prepares the body and mind/emotions to move through the phases of the sexual response cycle in preparation for orgasm. Therefore, being erotically charged by a sexual partner should not necessarily mean that every interaction should have to end with sexual gratification. Foreplay therefore, need not be about sex but about infusing a relationship with a sense of love and intimacy.
Traditionally, foreplay has been considered something a man has to do for a woman to get her as ready for sex as he presumably always is. This is most probably so because naturally, men find it easier to get aroused and revel in the pleasures of sex than women who generally need a little more time and manual stimulation to get aroused in order to enjoy sex. While some men can become aroused and get an erection in just a few minutes, women can take up to 30 minutes to reach their arousal peak.
Technically speaking, while arousal might be considered instinctive for both men and women, women’s sexual responses are not necessarily innately slower than men’s but that women require more foreplay because it’s harder for them to reach orgasm through ordinary intercourse. It is however unfortunate that most men do not realise this fact – that women need some extra time, emotions, and erotic stimulation to reach a state of arousal where they can achieve an orgasm.
Retrospectively, in a study, about 709 sexually experienced adult females nurses were asked to rank the importance of 15 different things (such as fatigue, stress, and lack of tenderness) that interfered with their ability to reach orgasm. Foreplay was ranked highest outranking all others by a good margin. The women considered their men to be overly focused on the goal (intercourse), and tended to hurry through it all. Men, according to them, don’t slow down and take enough time to linger, to be playful, to explore, and to help their partners to be satisfied.
On the duration of foreplay, this group of women preferred their partners indulging in foreplay for about an average of about 17 minutes. Meanwhile, a re-examination of a research by Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the Kinsey Group’s data revealed that about only 7.7 percent of the women whose partners spent 21 minutes or longer on foreplay failed to reach orgasm.
Tips for absolute foreplay pleasure
As with self-pleasuring, most people probably have ways of pleasuring their partners. Though most women have the same general erogenous zones, each woman, of course, has different sensitivities at different times.
However when it comes to actually getting physical, men and women often make similar mistakes. As observed by Masters and Johnson, during foreplay, both men and women tend to do things that they think would turn their partners on. Really, the key to achieving pleasurable foreplay is to communicate with each other what the expectations and likes of each partner is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal, but it’s important to let your partner know, in one way or the other, what feels good and what doesn’t.
It Starts in the Brain
As Masters and Johnson also puts it – “Always remember that good sex begins while your clothes are still on”, it starts in the brain. The mind indeed can also be an erogenous zone. “Getting in the mood” is not just the few moments before sex; it can go on for hours, or even days beforehand. Foreplay, too, begins before you touch one another. During and after lovemaking it’s important to stay present with your partner as you’re trying to experience a more profound state of being together, not just a momentary climax.
Pay Attention to Romantic Details
Set the stage for love in little ways, making sure the room is warm enough, the lighting is right, and so forth. The setting you create – candles, soothing music, and romantic, loving words – will help harmonize your energies.
Experiment with Varied Touch
Touch is a key element of foreplay because the surface of the body is covered with many nerve endings that transmit pleasurable sensations to the brain. The skin is also the largest sex organ because all forms of pleasure during foreplay are transmitted through the skin. However, some parts of the body, particularly the clitoris, penis, nipples, fingertips, palms, lips, tongues, and soles of the feet have more densely packed nerve endings. These sites are sometimes called the erogenous zones – the most sensitive parts of both males and females bodies, and are important areas of exploration during foreplay.
The essence of foreplay is slowness. Anticipation and growing intensity are important in bringing a woman’s desire to the peak of her arousal, passionate kissing can be a good starting point. Begin by kissing and caressing each other’s bodies, but not the genitals. Massage, caress, and kiss her hands, wrists and toes moving gradually towards to her thigh, abdomen and then the outer breast before reaching for the nipples.
Do some Exploration
Women too often go straight for the penis and a lot of men are oft to complain that women don’t grab the penis firmly enough treating it gingerly. However if he cannot tolerate too much stimulation of his penis, just like women, many men have sensitive nipples, scrotums, and perineum which women can instead spend more time on.
Experiment with Different Rhythms
Tease him or her by arousing your partner, then backing off. There is increased anticipation when your partner never knows whether you will continue stroking or if you’re going to stop and change pattern. Variety is the spice of life and equally the spice of good foreplay. If you’ve been loving, slow, and soft, you might want to get a little more forceful, aggressive and a little more dominant, to liven things up just a little bit.