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    Foreplay A to Z: How to Initiate Sex and Improve Your Sex Life

    Published 07 April 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    For many couples, erotic foreplay is as exciting as intercourse itself. From sultry glances across the room to hot makeout sessions, foreplay spices up your sex life and allows you to explore new sensations. Check out the sensual foreplay tips below and let your imaginations run wild!

    What is foreplay?

    If you literally break the word down, foreplay is sexual play before sex. For some, sexy foreplay is an essential component of physical intimacy. Oftentimes, women have difficulty achieving orgasm during intercourse without plenty of foreplay. You might even prefer climaxing through specific types of foreplay, like oral sex or manual stimulation.

    Foreplay techniques encompass a fairly broad spectrum of sexual activity, from flirty sexting to fellatio or cunnilingus. Depending on your own definition of it, certain forms of foreplay may actually be considered sex. 

    Benefits of foreplay

    One benefit of foreplay before sex is increased arousal, which leads both partners to desire penetrative intercourse (usually involving the penis and vagina). As a woman, you occasionally need a little more time to feel physically ready for intercourse, and couple foreplay helps prepare you for it.

    Female arousal is accompanied by an increase in blood flow to the genitals. Your labia may swell, and your vagina becomes lubricated. Your clitoris could even emerge from underneath its hood ‒ similar to a male erection. You might notice your areolas darkening and your nipples becoming erect. A generous amount of sensual foreplay heightens physical sensations before and during intercourse.

    Did you know there’s an emotional component to foreplay, too? Foreplay techniques, such as French kissing or oral sex, are just as intimate as intercourse. Increasing anticipation before climax enhances pleasure and the intensity of orgasm for many women.

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    Foreplay ideas

    Consider trying different foreplaying techniques that you and your partner have yet to explore. Or, are there a few greatest hits that you two love to experience again and again? Below, find some creative techniques for expanding your sexual repertoire:

    • Sexting

    This includes sending nude or mostly nude photos and videos, as well as text messages about desired sexual acts. It may or may not involve one or both partners masturbating.

    • Mutual masturbation

    If you and your partner are separated, you can still share in the enjoyment of self-stimulation. Also known as cybersex, both partners masturbate via phone, text, or video chat to initiate arousal hours or even days before having sex.

    • Kissing

    Kissing your partner’s lips, face, neck, or body is an especially intimate form of sexy foreplay. Try deep kissing or French kissing, where you place your tongue inside their mouth. 

    • Making out

    Kissing might happen on its own, or in combination with making out. This means touching your partner (either over or under their clothes) and it was once referred to as “heavy petting.” 

    • Breast stimulation

    Many women have very sensitive nipples, and might achieve orgasm sooner with stimulation of their breasts by their partner’s hands and mouth. Nipple foreplay is extremely erotic and could be used during a makeout session. Note that men’s nipples tend to be sensitive, too, so you can try licking or lightly biting them to create new sensations.

    • Dry humping

    It mimics the actions of intercourse, without actual skin-to-skin contact. Both partners are at least partially clothed. He may have an erection that you rub between your legs, or you might straddle him, pressing your genitals together. Think about simultaneously making out or using breast stimulation to enhance sexual pleasure.

    • Manual stimulation

    Take your makeout session to the next level by giving your partner’s genital area some TLC. For men, gently stroke the penis with your hands. For women, stimulate the clitoris and stroke or insert your fingers into the vagina. Mimicking the sensations of intercourse boosts arousal and soothes nervousness away.

    • Oral sex

    Performing oral sex without bringing your partner to orgasm is another very intimate act of couple foreplay. Oral sex is called cunnilingus for a woman and includes stimulating her clitoris and vagina with the lips and tongue. Fellatio, on the other hand, is oral sex performed on a man which includes licking and sucking his penis. For a little added excitement, you and your partner can face each other, with your heads pointing in opposite directions, while performing oral sex simultaneously. This is known as the “69” position.

    • Sexually explicit videos

    Are both you and your partner comfortable with watching porn? It could offer some fun new ideas for the bedroom or allow you to live out certain sexual fantasies.

    A couple trying different foreplaying techniques

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    How to initiate sex

    There are many ways to initiate sex, from bold and straightforward (you can always just ask!) to subtle and flirtatious. It’s totally normal to feel a bit uncomfortable suggesting it, especially if you’re in a new relationship. However, women enjoy sex as much as men do, and if you’re in the mood, why not communicate that to your partner?

    Send him provocative messages or photos, and say something like “I can’t wait to see you tonight.” In person, kiss your partner and lightly caress them, encouraging them to make out with you. Then, hint about sex by saying “I want you” or “You’re really turning me on.” If you’re the kind of couple that enjoys “quickies” in the morning, invite them to shower with you, or wake them up by kissing or touching them. Keep in mind that certain foreplay techniques will naturally lead to intercourse, like manual stimulation or oral sex. 

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    Sensual foreplay is an essential aspect of sex and it often allows you to achieve a better (and faster) orgasm during intercourse. While foreplay means different things to different people, it should always be something both you and your partner are comfortable with. Enhance physical intimacy by exploring all the ways you can turn each other on before sex. 

    History of updates

    Current version (07 April 2020)

    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant

    Published (07 April 2020)

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