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What is foreplay?

Foreplay is defined as ‘any intimate, quality time that we spend together as a couple’. This can include a romantic dinner, an intellectual conversation, a lazy weekend lunch or lying in bed talking, to name but a few. For men, sex is visual (he needs to see or imagine something sexual) and he needs stimulation (physical sensations). For women, sex is quite different: sex is mental (she needs to bond, feel loved and fantasise) and she needs stimulation (physical sensations). Therefore foreplay needs to be taken out of the bedroom, and include activities that make a woman feel emotionally sexual towards her partner. Men also have 10 times more testosterone than women, and testosterone fuels our libido. Therefore it is understandable that men might want sex more than women, yet it is important to remember that in order for women to feel like sex more, the need for foreplay and emotional happiness needs to be met. 

Foreplay isn’t just what happens before sexual intercourse, but needs to be taken out of the bedroom as well, and include activities that make us both feel emotionally connected and therefore sexually excited by each other. Sex shouldn’t be just about the physical, and in fact, most couples who report having a satisfying sex life are the ones who don’t restrict intimacy and sexual play to just times and places that are associated with sex, like the bed before going to sleep. If we feel more connected to our partners, we are more likely to want to be physically intimate with them.

How can you improve your foreplay with your partner?

Some of the best advice that the fabulous Dr Ruth passed on to me was that couples should never stop flirting, and flirting is the simplest and most fundamental form of foreplay. This involves hard work and effort, but the pay off is so worth it. Send each other sexy messages or photos, buy her flowers, give him a massage, sneak off to make out at a party or barbeque, or exchange looks or touches under the dinner table. The added excitement should increase your sexual desire for one another, and improve the physical intimacy in the relationship overall. I actually prescribe this to couples that consult with me, and it’s something so many couples forget and let slip early on.  

During foreplay at the start of a sexual encounter, obvious parts of the body that create intense sexual stimulation are often overlooked. Known as erogenous zones, the ones we tend to go straight for are the lips, neck and nipples, but we usually forget about spots like the back of the knees, hands, or even back. Foreplay as a prelude to sex should take touch and exploring each other to the next level. Think sensual or erotic massages, running an ice cube seductively over your partner’s skin, or using a feather to lightly tickle every inch of them while you watch their reactions. Foreplay does not need to be a standard procedure, a rushed event… It needs to be slow, sexy and seductive. Use foreplay as a time to spend exploring each other before you have sex; use it as a means of learning about your partner’s body and their sensitive spots; or use it simply to lie with one another and caress each other’s bodies. Furthermore, foreplay should not just be about what you and your partner are doing to each other! Foreplay also includes the underwear or outfit you wear, the way in which you might light candles and dim the lights. Experiment with your surroundings, with foods like strawberries and chocolate, or with flavoured lubricants, and not just your touch.