Whether it’s kissing, fondling, dirty talk, or some over-the-clothes action, most people enjoy a bit of buildup before sex. Taking time to engage in foreplay can heighten sexual arousal, increase desire, and ensure that you’re ready—mind and body—to do the deed.
And while fooling around is often likened to hor d'oeuvres before the main dish, when done right, it can be every bit as satisfying as a full-course meal. Discover the surprising benefits of pre-sex play (plus some sexy foreplay ideas to add to your repertoire) with this guide from FunLove.com.
What Exactly Is Foreplay?
Traditionally, foreplay has been defined as the intimate acts between sexual partners that occur prior to intercourse. For cisgender heterosexual couples, this usually refers to activities leading up to penis-in-vagina sex. In a more inclusive and subjective sense, it might be understood as the physical and emotional acts that precede the “main event” of a sexual encounter. But because not all sexual activities necessarily have a singular focal point, the line between foreplay and sex can be blurry, to say the least.
Foreplay has also been described as the physical and/or verbal actions that have a stimulating or arousing effect and lead to sexual activity between partners. This could be touching, talking, and almost everything in between. Don’t get too caught up on exact definitions, though—human sexuality is a spectrum after all, and foreplay is no exception. (Although if you require some visual instruction, Jessica Drake's Guide To Wicked Sex Foreplay is a great place to start your education).
What Types of Foreplay Are There?
Foreplay encompasses so much more than just getting handsy. For one, there’s verbal and visual foreplay. As technology has improved, so too have opportunities for foreplay that reaches across time and space. Sure, there’s good old-fashioned dirty talk, but in the digital age, erotic communication can occur via telephone, video call, or even text message. This means foreplay can happen almost anywhere at any time, and as discreetly or indiscreetly as you want. Verbal and visual foreplay may sometimes be considered phone sex or cybersex instead, depending on the context.
Of course, there’s also manual stimulation or teasing of the erogenous zones via physical foreplay. This includes the forms of foreplay we’re most familiar with, such as hand jobs, oral sex, nipple play, deep kissing, massage, outercourse, etc. etc. Physical foreplay might result in an orgasm or just whet your sexual appetite. There’s no wrong way to do it, so long as it’s consensual and pleasurable for all parties.
How Long Should Foreplay Last?
While there’s no magic number for how long you should engage in foreplay, studies seem to hint at an overall dissatisfaction with desired versus actual length of foreplay in many long-term heterosexual relationships among both men and women. Interestingly, a 2004 study found that while men often had a relatively accurate understanding of the duration of foreplay their partner desired (just shy of 19 minutes), they often overestimated how much time they actually spent engaging in foreplay with their partners.
Notably, women significantly underestimated how much foreplay their male counterparts actually desired (on average, between 18 to 19 minutes). The takeaway: even in many established long-term relationships, men and women seem to be missing out on their ideal duration of foreplay. Having open lines of communication (and a willingness to experiment) can help you and your partner discover the ideal length of foreplay for you.
Why Does Foreplay Matter?
Before we dive into some sexy foreplay ideas to try out during your next tryst, let’s talk about why foreplay is so important. At its core, foreplay isn’t really about the activities you do before sex. It may be more helpful to think of it as a physical and psychological warm-up routine. Engaging in foreplay can promote emotional intimacy and lower inhibitions, leading to more confident, hotter sex between long-term couples and casual hookups alike.
Physiologically, too, foreplay is important. As you become more aroused, your heart rate increases, more blood flows to the genitals and nipples (increasing their size and sensitivity), and the vagina is lubricated for more enjoyable and less painful sex. And if you’ve been suffering from conditions like stress or erectile dysfunction, taking your time to relax and enjoy foreplay—without worrying too much about the main event—can take a load off (pun intended).
Sexy Foreplay Ideas For Everyone
If you’re looking to increase the length and pleasure of your foreplay, you’ve come to the right place. Check out some of our top picks for sexy foreplay ideas to add to your bedroom routine.
Tease Them Before You Please Them
When you haven’t seen your partner in a while or are already well and truly in the mood, it may be tempting to want to jump right into sex. And don’t get us wrong, we appreciate a good “Rip your clothes off, I want you now” kind of encounter. But teasing your partner can be a super-hot way to increase sexual tension and prolong passion.
Teasing can be as simple as a suggestive text message, a sultry selfie, or a subtle caress when you’re not in the bedroom. If you’re already in the thick of it, try stimulating often-overlooked erogenous zones like the scalp, wrists, or lower back. And of course, if you really want to tease a partner, look no further than concealable panty vibes you can control from across the room (or just about anywhere else).
Take Talking Dirty to the Next Level
Talking about what you want to do to your partner (and vice versa) can certainly set the tone for steamy sex. If you’re one to fantasize, try sharing some of your fantasies with your partner when you’re getting hot and heavy. Talk about what turns you on and what you imagine your partner doing to make that fantasy come true. You can make this sexy roleplay idea more visual and tactile by investing in some lingerie or roleplay costumes. Try to see how long you can keep talking before you rip each other’s clothes off.
Keep it Playful with Sex Games
Sex and romance games are a great way to bring a little more fun into your relationship. Strip poker, for example, is a classic for good reason: even if you lose and end up naked, everybody still wins. Not only can it be an exercise in how well you can read your partner’s facial expressions and body language, but a little bit of competition can really heat things up. Try it in lingerie for quicker gameplay, or layer up and let the tension build. Of course, you can always leave foreplay to fate with a roll of the dice, too.
Engage All Their Senses
For romantic, sensual foreplay, try to see if you can engage all five senses. Bringing awareness to sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste can help you be more present in the moment and savor all aspects of getting intimate with your partner. Even touch, the hallmark of most foreplay, can be accentuated and explored with sensory play. This might range from the light tickle of a feather to the shock of an electro-sex toy.
You can also heat things up or (cool them down) with some temperature play, curate the perfect sex music playlist for perfectly-synced eargasms, or heighten your other senses by wearing a blindfold. As for smell and taste, there’s no shortage of pheromone-infused fragrances, candles, lotions, and massage oils (some of which are even edible) to choose from. Alternatively, serve up a satisfying dessert with just some whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or anything else you can think of to drizzle over your partner’s body.
Where to Get the Best Sex Toys for Foreplay
With the largest selection of quality sex toys in the industry and more than 30 years as a leading retailer of sensual products, rest assured you’ll always find what you’re looking for at FunLove.com. From vibrators to anal beads (and everything in between), this adult retailer has it all.
FunLove.com is proud to offer free shipping on all orders over $69 and will always ship your items discreetly. See our refund policy for details about returns and exchanges.
Have questions? Stop by one of our store locations or contact our Customer Service department by calling 866-FUN-LOVE. Be sure to also check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest promotions, in-store events, and more.